BBG Watch Commentary

Here is another take on the disastrous employee morale results for the Broadcasting Board of Governors in the 2017 FEVS survey.

Despite PR claims from Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing that “there is good news to report,” the gap between BBG and the next worst medium size agency in terms of employee morale has actually widened according to 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The BBG is the parent agency for the Voice of America. VOA’s director since 2016 is Amanda Bennett. Both she and Lansing are Obama administration era holdovers.

In an earlier PR email to staff, Lansing tried to claim credit for “good news” for the BBG in response to some of the employee morale questions in the 2017 FEVS survey. It turned out, however, that 2017 was the year of overall, government-wide improvement in FEVS results. While the BBG benefited slightly from these gains, it did not benefit as much as some of the other agencies, particularly those near the bottom of the list, where the BBG was in 2016 and still is, even in a worse position, in 2017.

In fact, in the 2017 FEVS survey, the Broadcasting Board of Governors fell further behind compared to the next worst medium size agency in terms of employee morale, the Small Business Administration.

The BBG fell behind in the 2017 FEVS survey in two critical categories. The BBG’s falling behind the other agencies on the OPM’s FEVS list was especially dramatic in the category that measures the quality of the agency’s leaders in the perception of the employees.

In the “Overall Employee Engagement Index,” which assesses the critical conditions conductive for employee engagement (i.e. effective leadership, work which provides meaning to employees, etc.) Small Business Administration pulled away by one point from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which not only kept but solidified its last position in employee morale. In 2016, BBG’s score in this category was 56, and in 2017 it increased slightly to 59. But the Small Business Administration increased its score from 63 in 2016 to 67 in 2017. Its gain was 4 points compared to BBG’s 3 points.

Under the leadership of John Lansing and Amanda Bennett, the BBG, including VOA, fell further behind in the ranking in the “Overall Employee Engagement Index” category.

In the category of “Leaders Lead,” which applies directly to Bennett, Lansing, and some of their deputies and key executives, the gap became even more dramatic in 2017, placing the Broadcasting Board of Governors even lower at the bottom of the barrow as the agency having the worst leaders for agencies of similar size.

The “Leaders Lead” category reflects the employees’ perceptions of the integrity of leadership, as well as leadership behaviors such as communication and workforce motivation.

In the “Leaders Lead” category, the Small Business Administration pulled ahead of the BBG, which was already in the last place and remains in the last place, by 7 points between 2016 and 2017. The Small Business Administration improved its performance by going from its score of 48 in 2016 to 56 in 2017, while BBG’s improvement was only 2 points from 42 to 44.

The average government-wide improvement for medium size agencies in the “Leaders Lead” category was three points. The BBG under Lansing and Bennett did not even make the average improvement in this category.

Because the next worst agency made a much larger improvement in the “Leaders Lead” category than other medium size agencies, the BBG is now truly scraping the bottom of the barrow of those agencies whose leaders are perceived by the employees as having the worst qualities when it comes to the integrity of leadership, communication and workforce motivation. Mr. Lansing, you have been at the BBG since 2015. This is no good news, even by your corporate PR standards.