BBG Watch Commentary

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) detailed results for 2017, which were released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM, show that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and its main broadcasting element, the Voice of America (VOA) under BBG CEO John F. Lansing and VOA director Amanda Bennett, both of them Obama-era holdover executives, have sunk deeper into the last place in the staff morale category of employee engagement compared to the next lowest-rated medium size federal entity.

A few weeks earlier, BBG CEO issued a PR email to BBG’s federal employees (see below), in which he pointed out small gains in responses to a few individual 2017 FEVS survey question compared to the 2016 responses. This focus in Lansing’s email on a few survey questions turns out to be highly deceptive in light of the detailed 2017 results from OPM, which shows the BBG even more firmly in the last place in overall employee morale. It turns out that there was an overall government-wide improvement in FEVS scores in 2017, which the BBG failed to match with its comparatively smaller gains. As a result, the BBG found itself this year in an even worse situation in some employee morale categories compared to most other agencies, and especially compared to the other agencies at the bottom of the OPM employee morale list.

As the detailed OPM results show, nearly all agencies government-wide had employee morale gains in 2017, but BBG’s gains were on the whole smaller, placing the agency deeper in the last place compared to all other agencies in the same size category as the BBG.

The FEVS results are all about rankings. The BBG’s employee morale ranking in 2017 is not only firmly at the very bottom of the OPM list, but this year it is even lower compared to other federal agencies which are listed near the bottom but not nearly as low as the BBG.

For example, in the overall Employee Engagement Index Trends, the BBG’s score in 2016 was 56, the lowest among all agencies. The second lowest in 2016 in this category was Small Business Administration with a considerably higher score 63. The Engagement Index assesses the critical conditions conductive for employee engagement (e.g. effective leadership, work which provides meaning to employees, etc.)

Small Business Administration improved its much higher score than BBG’s by four points from 63 in 2016 to 67 in 2017. The BBG improved its score by only three points from 56 to 59. The BBG is now deeper toward the bottom of the list in this category than it was in 2016. Federal Trade Commission had the highest score of 83 points in 2017 in this category compared to BBG’s 59 points score.

In the all important Employee Engagement Index, in the 2017 FEVS survey most other agencies improved their already much higher scores by more points than the BBG. Again, the BBG and VOA under BBG CEO John Lansing and VOA director Amanda Bennett have been left further behind other agencies in the Employee Engagement Index category.

In the Leaders Lead category, the BBG was at the very bottom in 2016 with its score of 42. The second lowest in this category in 2016 was again Small Business Administration. In 2017, Small Business Administration improved its Leader Lead score by 8 points from 48 to 56. The BBG improved its Leaders Lead score by only two points from 42 to 44. Again, especially in this category, Leaders Lead, BBG’s 2017 FEVS results put the agency even deeper in the last place on the OPM FEVS list compared to other agencies because most of them made greater gains than the BBG.

In the Leaders category, which would apply particularly to Lansing, his deputy Jeff Trimble, Bennett and her deputy Sandy Sugawara, the average score for medium size agencies went up by three points. For the BBG, it went up by only two points. The BBG leaders have been left further behind other U.S. government executives.

In the Supervisors category, which reflects the interpersonal relationship between worker and supervisor, including trust, respect, and support, the BBG again was at the very bottom in 2016 with the score of 63. The second lowest in this category was once again the Small Business Administration with the score of 71. In 2017, the Small Business Administration improved its score in this category by two points from 71 to 73. The BBG improved its score in this category by three points from 63 to 66. However, most of the other agencies improved their scores in this category by a larger margin. Again, the BBG sank deeper into the bottom of the list in this category.

In the Intrinsic Work Experience category, which reflects the employees’ of motivation and competency, the BBG looks just as bad this year when compared to Small Business Administration with the next lowest score. In 2016, the BBG’s score in this category was 63 and in 2017 it was 66. Again it was by far the lowest score in this category compared to all other agencies of similar size. Small Business Administration also improved its much higher score by three points, going from 69 to 72. Federal Trade Commission was the agency with the best score in 2017, 84, in this category.

Contrary to Mr. Lansing’s recent PR email to staff there is NO “good news to report,” if your agency, which was already at the very bottom of the list in 2016, is even further down in 2017 compared to its closest rival for this dubious place and compared to other agencies than it was last year. BBG employees should insist at the next BBG Global Town Hall that John Lansing admit that he and his deputies, including Jeff Trimble and Amanda Bennett have failed. At this rate of small gains for the BBG, the agency will never leave its last place in FEVS employee morale. It will in fact continue to fall further behind if other agencies maintain their rate of improvement.



IBB Notices Admin

Dear Colleagues,
We recently received preliminary data from the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). While government-wide figures will not be available until October, we were able to analyze and compare this year’s results with BBG’s 2016 scores, and there is good news to report.

The 84 question survey includes four indices that measure:
· Employee Engagement
· Inclusiveness
· Human Capital Assessment and Accountability (Leadership and Knowledge Management; Results Oriented Performance Culture; Talent Management; Job Satisfaction)
· Global Satisfaction

The good news is that BBG had increases in positive responses in all four indices, including a five percent (5%) increase in overall Employee Engagement.

Positive scores rose four percent (4%) in Global Satisfaction, an index comprised of four questions – one of which is, “I recommend my organization as a good place to work.” It is particularly noteworthy that positive responses to this question increased 11% from 2016.

I believe the upward trend in positive responses is, in part, a result of your active participation in and contribution to the BBG Workplace Solutions initiatives. I very much appreciate that so many of you volunteered your time, energy, and ideas to find solutions to challenges identified over the years through FEVS.

A primary focus for this year is the launch of Leadership 2020. This initiative is a direct product of one of the BBG Workplace Solutions initiatives to ensure our Agency’s leaders are well-prepared to deal with today’s workforce challenges. The program includes targeted training on performance management and contemporary leadership strategies. All Agency supervisors and managers will be required to:
· Take a 360 degree assessment at least every three years, starting this year.
· Maintain a Leadership Development Plan (LDP) to establish and monitor learning goals.
· Participate in a minimum of 40 annual hours of leadership training.

We will continue to break out survey data at the Office and Division level and share that information with managers, supervisors, and staff. My direct reports will be tasked to develop action plans for individual offices and to monitor and report on progress in addressing areas of concern. In October, we will analyze our results in the context of government-wide scores and will post that data on

As you know, 75% of BBG employees took the survey, up from last year’s 63%. Your honest feedback matters, and it helps us plan new ways to better meet your needs and to make BBG a better place to work. Thank you again for taking the time to respond to the survey this year.

I am excited about these results and look forward to working with you to improve them even more. Please continue to use the Workplace Solutions mailbox (, Talk to John (on the BBG SharePoint site), or the paper Feedback Forms to provide your insights, ideas, and concerns to us.


John F. Lansing
Chief Executive Officer and Director
U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors

Employees have a human right to be treated with dignity and respect!




From: IBB Notices Admin
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 9:07:14 AM
To: IBB Notices Administration
Subject: Join CEO Lansing for a BBG Global Town Hall on October 18

All employees and contractors are invited to a global town hall with BBG CEO & Director John F. Lansing. BBG network leadership and senior management will be present.

At the global town hall, CEO Lansing will
• Introduce new senior personnel,
• Provide key updates, including the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), and
• Hold a roundtable with network heads about the impact of U.S. international media in strategic regions.

Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM EDT
Location: Cohen Auditorium, 330 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC

Please send questions for the CEO in advance to and use the subject line “BBG Global Town Hall.”

For those unable to attend in person, the meeting will be streamed for internal viewing only and accessible to anyone with an approved agency email address. Streaming information will be provided next week.