Continuing Human Capital Issues at the SEC Reflected in Latest 2012 FEVS


12/3/12: As you know, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently released the results of its 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) which is a tool that measures employee satisfaction and employee perceptions of whether, and to what extent, conditions characterizing successful organizations are present in the agencies surveyed. The FEVS surveyed perceptions in four key areas identified by OPM as important to measuring an organization’s success: (1) leadership and knowledge, (2) results-oriented performance culture (3) talent management and (4) job satisfaction.

As Chapter 293 has previously reported, employee satisfaction at the SEC has declined substantially since the SEC was ranked as the 3rd Best Place to Work in the Federal Government in 2006. Under the leadership of Chairman Schapiro that decline has accelerated considerably. After the 2011 FEVS, the SEC was ranked 27th of 33 federal agencies included in the rankings. Although the Partnership for Public Service has not yet released its 2012 Best Places to Work list for 2012, the FEVS results are similar to the results from the 2011 FEVS and the SEC’s overall ranking is not expected to improve significantly if at all. In all four major areas, the SEC stayed at or very near the same levels as last year.

The agency will soon have new leadership. With that change at the top, we hope to see a new opportunity for a renewed commitment on behalf of the SEC’s senior leadership to the hardworking and dedicated men and women that do the frontline work of the agency every day.

As reflected in the FEVS, we continue to have many strengths – employees work collaboratively under difficult circumstances with energy and commitment. We have a strong corps of front-line managers who are well liked and respected by the employees who report to them.  And access to telework, flexible work schedules and other work-life benefits that were negotiated by NTEU are greatly valued.

But we face numerous and significant challenges. The FEVS shows that employees want greater opportunities for professional growth and development, more autonomy, greater recognition for creativity and quality work, and a sense of empowerment in matters that affect their work. It is time for the SEC to recognize this reality. Agency leadership should agree to support the mainstream rights and benefits that the union is pursuing in our CBA negotiations. We also need to fix the performance management system and agree on a fair, transparent and credible pay system. Furthermore, management should comply with its 2006 agreement to fund an added retirement contribution, to bring us in line with the FDIC, OCC and NCUA, where employees have enjoyed this benefit for years.

We believe that these are challenges that can be met, in the near term, if the agency’s senior managers treat the substantial human capital risks that face the SEC as seriously as the various external risks. We have a highly skilled, dedicated staff – we want to work with the SEC’s new leadership to improve morale, increase our ability to retain and recruit the kind of employees we need to achieve our mission and once again be ranked among the best places to work in the government.