In mid-2011, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) surveyed all career, non-careerand limited term Senior Executive Service (SES) members.
The survey was designed to gatherinformation about the strengths and challenges in the SES, from the perspective of its currentmembers, and received a 65% response rate from eligible executives.The 2011 SES survey results indicate the following findings:
Pride in SES and Accountability for Results
- An overwhelming majority of executives: take pride in being members of the SES (94%); feel a great deal of personalaccomplishment (93%); and feel they are held accountable for achieving results (92%).
Long Career Tenure and Experience
- A majority of the respondents: were appointedto the SES from a Civil Service position (86%); have worked for the Federal Governmentfor more than 20 years (64%); have been an SES member for 1 to 10 years (72%); andwill be retiring within 1 to 5 years (57%).
- The survey indicates the majority of executives feeltheir developmental needs are met (70%) and take advantage of developmentalopportunities (77%). Significantly more executives in 2011 are engaging in a variety of developmental activities compared to 2008, including a 360-type assessment (a 15%increase), developmental advice from a mentor (a 9% increase) and formal executivecoaching (a 12% increase).
Continued Challenges in Dealing with Poor Performers -
Respondents indicated theyfeel agencies struggle to deal effectively with poor performing executives (only 28% feeltheir agency deals effectively with executives who perform poorly).
Mixed Review of Pay for Performance -
While most executives believe SES payshould be based on performance (92%), a much smaller percentage of executives believepay for performance promotes better organizational performance (43%).
Decline in Satisfaction with Pay and Recognition
-The percentage of positiveresponses to questions regarding executive pay, awards, and recognition weresignificantly lower in 2011 than in 2008, which is unsurprising given the Federal payfreeze.These findings capture some of the core strengths and challenges facing today’s SeniorExecutive Service. The President’s Management Council and the Chief Human Capital OfficersCouncil launched an initiative in 2010 to further strengthen the SES, through which interagencyworking groups identified potential improvements and created a range of projects to implementthose recommendations. In 2012, with these efforts fully in place, Federal agencies will continueto address many of the issues identified in the 2011 SES survey to further enhance executiverecruitment, performance management, and career development.
Similar to the approach OPM took in administering the 2008 SES survey – which may beviewed on OPM’s web site at http://www.opm.gov/surveys/results/index.asp– OPM again
surveyed all career, non-career, and limited term SES members, this time as of March 31, 2011,resulting in a total eligible sample size of 7,677. Administration of the survey began on August10, 2011, and continued through September 9, 2011. A total of 4,954 respondents completed thesurvey, for an overall response rate of 65 percent.
FY2011 SES Survey Results