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Leadership Corner

FEVS 2017: Help improve our agency

June 2, 2017 at 11:30am

Chief Tom TidwellThe end of FEVS 2017 is fast approaching. I want you to know that at the Forest Service we have taken your FEVS feedback seriously every year and will continue using it to make positive changes based on your input. Ultimately, the information you provide makes us stronger and better equipped to face current challenges and those that may emerge as future concerns. The input you share now will help us to strategically strengthen our agency as we continue our dialogue about the next 100 years of stewardship and service to our communities. I firmly believe that it is an essential step toward fostering a safe, respectful workplace where all employees can reach potential and work together to deliver the agency’s mission.

I encourage all employees who receive the 2017 FEVS to complete it fully. The entire process takes approximately 30 minutes and should be completed while on work hours. All responses are confidential and participation in the survey is voluntary. Be on the lookout for your survey.    

Based on the FEVS results from 2016, USDA was named one of the Top Ten Best Places to Work in the federal government among large agencies. The survey provides the opportunity to provide feedback on the things that are going well, what you like and want to see continue, along with the areas where we need to improve

The 2016 results indicated higher levels of satisfaction among Forest Service employees on numerous fronts — including satisfaction with their supervisors, the match between their skills and the agency mission, teamwork, and innovation.  Once again, the results confirmed Forest Service employees truly love their work and feel empowered to produce quality results.

We acknowledge that not all results were positive. Some employees are not satisfied with the information they receive from management. Therefore, we have made an effort this year to communicate more clearly and directly, and to offer forums where we can hear your feedback directly, including employee engagement sessions that are open to all employees on a first come, first served basis. We intend to continue these employee sessions, and the next round will focus on Life-Work balance.

One serious allegation concerned harassment. The Forest Service does not condone harassment in any form. We issued a new, proactive anti-harassment policy that reflects zero tolerance for behaviors that are not respectful or inclusive. Moreover, we increased efforts to improve our work environment by fostering a culture where all employees feel valued, safe, respected and connected to our important conservation mission. We are now launching another round of all employee dialogues focused on Life-Work. This framework for multi-year ongoing conversation builds upon previous efforts to improve our workplaces and associated outcomes.

These are just some of the many steps the agency has taken to address your concerns based on the feedback we’ve received through this survey. The information you provide through the FEVS makes us stronger and better equipped to face current challenges and those that may emerge in the future. Now more than ever, we need to hear your concerns as we consider ways to reform and strengthen the agency’s impact and services. 

Again, I encourage all employees who receive the FEVS to complete it fully. I look forward to what we will learn this year about our agency through the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Thank you for your participation in the survey and for your continued dedication to the Forest Service.

Chief Tom Tidwell

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