As the pandemic has put immense pressure on government employees to deliver public services, new research finds that teleworking has improved team performance. 46% of government employees who telework—both fully remote and hybrid employees—say their team’s performance improved during the past two years. Only 35% of in-person government workers say their team’s performance has improved during the period, according to new research from Eagle Hill Consulting.
As the trend for remote work continues among both federal, state, and local governments, more than half of the government workforce reports teleworking, either in a fully remote (26%) or hybrid environment (24%). A substantially higher number of younger workers in government report working fully remotely (34%) as compared to mid-career (24%) and older workers (11%). Those working in-person are far more likely to be older workers (70%).
These findings are based upon The Eagle Hill Performance Management and Feedback Survey 2022, conducted by Ipsos from May 10-12, 2022. The nationally representative survey included 1,001 adults in the U.S. aged 18 and older who are employed full-time or part-time, including those who work for a government agency. The survey polled respondents on aspects of performance management and feedback.
The survey revealed good news when it comes to trust. Even with employees no longer tethered to a traditional workplace, nearly all government workers (92%) believe their manager trusts them to get the job done. This high level of trust is consistent for various work environments: remote at 93%, hybrid at 87%, and in-person at 93%. But since the pandemic began, most government employees report feeling more pressure to perform well (64%) and prove their value (63%).
“The pandemic was transformational for the government workforce, accelerating what employees have long desired: more flexibility,” says Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “Our research is a clear signal that flexible work environments – both fully remote and hybrid approaches – can deliver performance results. And by providing government employees with more flexibility, government employers may have better outcomes when it comes to attracting and keeping workers at a time when public employers are really struggling to compete with the private sector.”
Additional survey results include:
- When it comes to individual performance, about half of government workers (47%) report their individual performance has improved, slightly higher for remote (49%) and hybrid (50%) employees.
- Most government workers (82%) have a clear understanding of the next steps in their career path.
- Since the pandemic, most government workers (75%) have felt more committed to quality outcomes and more supported by their supervisor (70%).
- Asked what they need to be successful, government workers say it’s training and development (44%), clarity on expectations and goals (35%), clear instruction from their team leads (33%), more forums to gather feedback (27%), and more forums to engage with teammates (25%).
- Government employees say the top team performance challenges are clear goals and metrics (37%), sharing information across the team (35%), defining new ways to work together (32%), innovation and idea generation (27%), and equitable career opportunities (24%).
- Government employees say individual performance challenges include maintaining self-motivation (41%), handling increased workloads (38%), getting constructive feedback (29%), and finding time for strategic work/thinking (25%).
- Government workers say the skills their manager needs to make teams work better include empathy and understanding about employees' unique needs (39%), clarity about team expectations for success (39%), the ability to engage with the team regardless of where they are working (34%), new technologies and tools to help build relationships across the team (32%), and providing employees with a better understanding of their role in the organization’s goals (32%).
- About half (46%) of government workers feel motivated in performance discussions with their manager, and only 19% feel surprised.
The bottom line is that remote/hybrid workers continue to perform at high levels, even in often more conservative, government workplaces. The key to success seems to be ample communication and clear goal setting. Workers who feel trusted are empowered to perform at higher levels.
Source: Eagle Hill Consulting; CCH