The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and NASA received high marks from employees on the Partnership for Public Service’s (PPS) 2020 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings.

The rankings are based on responses to the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) 2020 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) released in April. To determine an agency’s overall score, which is based on a scale of 1-100, PPS uses a “proprietary weighted formula” that looks at responses to three different FEVS questions. PPS noted that the more the question predicts intent to remain, the higher the weighting.

Agencies that topped the list include:

  • CBO (92.8);
  • GAO (89.4);
  • NASA (86.6);
  • National Science Foundation (84.2);
  • General Services Administration (83.9);
  • Intelligence Community (76.7);
  • Department of Transportation (76.1); and
  • Department of Health and Human Services (75.3).

Agencies that topped the rankings have begun releasing statements praising their workforce.

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“This recognition confirms what those of us who are privileged to be part of CBO already know: CBO is a great place to work and has a long-standing history of working hard every day to accomplish our mission,” said CBO Director Phillip Swagel. “We are particularly proud to be recognized in a year that has been so challenging. Despite the disruptions to people’s lives caused by the pandemic and the difficulties posed by remote work, our strong culture of dedication and cooperation has helped us meet the rapidly evolving needs of the Congress during one of the nation’s most difficult times.”

For the Intelligence Community, which saw its score jump nearly seven points from the 2019 survey, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in a statement, “The Intelligence Community has the most extraordinary workforce – talented, compassionate, and dedicated. This award is a testament to their resilience during an especially difficult year confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am honored to work alongside such exceptional professionals and congratulate the entire IC on this well-deserved recognition.”

Agencies that scored the lowest on FEVS include:

  • Office of Management and Budget (54.6);
  • Department of Education (57.9);
  • Department of Homeland Security (61.1);
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (63.5);
  • Department of Agriculture (64.3);
  • Social Security Administration (64.5);
  • Department of State (65.6); and
  • Environmental Protection Agency (67.9).

The survey included questions on effective leadership, pay, teamwork, innovation, work-life balance, and how the agency handled the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to telework.

For agencies looking to improve their score, Phil McNamara, assistant secretary for management at the Department of Transportation said, “You have to listen to what employees are saying and act.”

Kate Siggerud, the chief operating officer at GAO, noted that “employees are the most valuable resource that Federal agencies have. Their ability to carry out their mission rises and falls with the engagement of their employees.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.