Thursday, July 26, 2007

Survey: The USPTO - is it a "Best Place to Work"?

The Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation has released the "Best Places to Work" rankings based on data received from the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) biannual Federal Human Capital Survey. The 2007 rankings reflect the data from OPM employee surveys taken during summer 2006.

How did the USPTO rank? Not so hot. Overall, it ranked in at no. 172 out of 222 agencies. In other words, 77 percent of federal agencies ranked higher than the USPTO on indices such as pay and benefits and matching employee skills to agency mission.

In the Pay and Benefits category, the PTO came in at 187 of the total 222 agencies scored. However, the employee dissatisfaction reflected in this ranking came from data collected before the special rate pay increase in December 2006.

Another sore spot is the disappointing ranking in the Work/Life Balance index, where PTO fell near the bottom (at 169 out of 222). This category “measures the extent to which employees consider their workloads reasonable and feasible, and managers support a balance between work and life.” Employees may be receiving pay and benefits that meet their career targets, but they may believe they’re working too many hours of required unpaid overtime in exchange.

However, the PTO scored as one of the top federal agencies in the Family Friendly Culture and Benefits category, with a ranking of 28. This category “measures the extent to which employees believe family-friendly flexibilities are offered to them, including telecommuting and alternative work scheduling, along with personal support benefits like child care subsidies and wellness programs.”

Interestingly, and perhaps paradoxically, employees ranked the PTO's Strategic Management, highly, at 58. This category "measures the extent to which employees believe that management ensures they have the necessary skills and abilities to do their jobs, is successful at hiring new employees with the necessary skills to help the organization, and works to achieve the organizational goals with targeted personnel strategies and performance management."

POPA has noted that the demographics of OPM’s 2006 Human Capital Survey don’t tell the true story of PTO employee opinion. According to POPA, "of the 1,105 USPTO respondents to OPM’s survey, 50 percent were managers/supervisors. In reality, of the nearly 8,000 employees in 2006, perhaps 1,000 fell in that category."

To view the rankings, click here (link)

To view POPA's take on the rankings, see the July newsletter (link)

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