12/30/2014 12:31 pm ET Updated Mar 01, 2015

How to Strengthen Federal Workers' Job Satisfaction

The newly released 2014 "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" rankings show declining employee job satisfaction at a majority of agencies, but there is strong evidence that committed leaders can make a difference in creating more positive and productive work environments.

According to the "Best Places to Work" data, 43 percent of federal agencies bucked the overall government-wide trend by engaging employees and improving morale. How did they do it?

One prime example is the Department of Labor, which improved it's ranking from 17th to 10th place among 19 large federal agencies, and registered gains in all 10 workplace categories that were measured -- including leadership, training, pay, rewards and advancement, and teamwork.

Seema Nanda, the department's deputy chief of staff, said Labor Secretary Tom Perez came to office in July 2013 "understanding that employee satisfaction and engagement is critical to our effectiveness and our mission."

Perez held an off-site training session for senior leaders in December 2013 to outline a broad workforce strategy and to get buy-in, asking his staff to carefully examine federal employee survey results and to develop specific plans, while also focusing on issues such as encouraging innovation and improving supervision.

This post was originally featured on The Washington Post website.