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EVS 2013 Reads Between the Lines
A collection of line graphs from Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS) results at NASA's Langley Research Center dating back to 2002 show similar trends in employee satisfaction. Typically, any given graph representing any given question, ranging from innovative climates to leadership and management knowledge, was low and flat-lined between 2004 and 2006. After 2006, the line steadily rises, showing improved satisfaction in specific areas.

For the past few years, responses have maintained high levels of satisfaction. However, some lines bounce around and some have become flat. Others continue to climb higher.

EVS graph, FY12.

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This graph represents the three questions from the Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS) used by the Partnership for Public Service to rank the "Best Places to Work" in the Federal Government. Credit: NASA/David C. Bowman

Results from the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) EVS will determine where each line goes next. About four weeks into the survey, nearly 40 percent of the permanent workforce (permanent civil servants) who are eligible to complete the survey already have. In past years, about 50 percent have participated. As David LeDoux, head of Langley’s Office of Human Capital Management explained, their goal is always 100 percent.

"We want everybody's voice to be heard," LeDoux said.

LeDoux explained that there are many ways that he and Charlotte Cannon, head of Workforce Planning and Policy at NASA Langley, have compared EVS data in the past — by organization, by NASA center, by questions. This year, they are focusing on nearly a decade of trends.

Lines and trends are translated into stories compiled by employees who take part in the EVS. According to LeDoux, those stories help center leadership to "craft decisions and decision areas."

He explained that last year’s survey included 84 questions — 77 of those have percentages that are used to trend data. Those trends were discussed in detail at the center leadership level on three different occasions. From such discussions, change arose.

One example is "Telework Week," which took place in 2010. As Cannon explained, when Langley employees indicated a need for better work/life balance, the center encouraged employees to telework for one week. Since then, responses have indicated that work/life balance has improved.

"We value their opinions and we do use the data to drive change," Cannon said.

Organizational EVS results from FY12 helped to guide center leadership through the center’s recent reorganization efforts, according to LeDoux. And this year’s results will indicate if those decisions have helped to improve satisfaction among specific organizations.

"Each year we look at different things and each organization digs into their own data," LeDoux said, adding that only organizations with a certain amount of employees have access to the data in order to protect employee privacy.

Beyond the center, EVS results are used by the Federal Government and by outside entities such as the Partnership for Public Service, which uses three specific questions from the EVS to rank "The Best Places to Work." Last year, NASA ranked number one in the large agencies category, and NASA Langley ranked 22nd out of 292 government subcomponents. This year, those same responses will determine where the Agency and the center fall within the 2013 rankings.

As LeDoux went through more graphs, a separate line that covered three years of overall government data clearly showed a decrease in employee satisfaction that fell far below NASA and the center.

"NASA happens to be a bit of an outlier," he said.

Eligible employees should have already received an invitation from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to take the survey. Until June 14, participants can help write the next story. Results from the FY13 EVS should be available by late summer.

By: Denise Lineberry

The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman