According to a recent poll of federal workers, the Department of Homeland Security rated the lowest among federal agencies in terms of job satisfaction.

Homeland Security, as noted by Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson, ranked:
-36th on job satisfaction.
-35th on leadership and knowledge management.
-36th on results-oriented performance culture.
-33rd on talent management.

He added that employees have “shouldered the weight of long hours, complex integration assignments, multiple reorganizations, and no small amount of criticism” since the department was created in March 2003.

The most satisfied workers were at NASA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Do the employees in these other departments share a common sense of purpose and relate to the work they perform or are there other factors affecting their attitudes? In the coming days as the managers and department heads of the DHS begin analyzing the data, the nature and level of the work will surely come into question, perhaps they should take a note from Teva Neuroscience of Canada where,

You won’t find slick furniture, a gourmet kitchen or foosball table — the bells and whistles that some companies have come to believe are essential to employee satisfaction and productivity.Rather, people like to work here because they believe they belong here — and they’re rewarded for their loyalty and commitment.

“We focus on three clarities,”… “Clarity of structure: Where do I fit in with this company? Clarity of direction: Where am I going? And clarity of measurement: How do I know I did a good job?

Since its inception, the DHS has been undergoing a constant change management project attempting to integrate a multitude of agencies, historically opposed to working together, into a cohesive unit. Contributing to the turmoil and highlighting glaring flaws and shortfalls in this grand experiment was one of the largest natural disasters in US history, Hurricane Katrina, and an invasion by the Mooninites. Add on top of this the constant barrage of criticism from stakeholders (citizens) and it becomes easy to understand the lack of job satisfaction.

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Clarity, Engagement, and Teva Neuroscience