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DHS employee survey finds continued decline in morale

The Washington Post ran a piece late last week highlighting the results for DHS of the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, finding that overall morale was continuing to worsen at the Department. From the piece:

As Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson grapples with the Secret Service scandal and evolving terrorist threats, he is also facing widespread and growing job dissatisfaction within his own department, according to unpublicized employee survey results.

The government’s 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey portrays a Department of Homeland Security still facing debilitating morale problems that have plagued it for years but worsened during the Obama administration — and which have grown more serious since Johnson took over in December.

The article goes on to quote from an internal email sent to DHS employees by Sec. Johnson and Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, which acknowledges that the results of this survey “are not good”.

A couple of initial reactions to this piece: First, I don’t think it’s fair to directly blame Secretary Johnson and his leadership team for these results, given that the new team had only been in place for 4-5 months when this survey was taken, and there aren’t quick fixes for many of the underlying issues that affect morale. By next year, I do think it will be fair to assess the current leadership team based on the results of this survey.

Second, this story notes that DHS has published the top-level results from this survey on its website, but has not publicly released the more detailed results of the survey (which the author of the Post story received) that break down the results for each major office and component. As I noted in a recent post, in previous years DHS has made these more detailed results public, but has not done so in the last few years. In the interest of transparency and accountability, the Department should publicly release the more detailed results of the 2014 survey on its website.