10/27/2014 01:50 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2014

What the Secret Service Needs to Do Now

Low employee morale can hinder the ability of agencies to effectively carry out their missions on behalf of the American people.

With federal agencies having recently received their 2014 employee survey data, it's important for leaders to take an in-depth look at the trends, and develop plans to address areas where employee dissatisfaction may be hindering organizational effectiveness.

This is an approach that should be considered by the Secret Service, which has been beset by embarrassing security breaches in the protection of the president. While recent events have taken their toll on employees, an analysis of federal survey data shows the agency has been slipping for some time. The Secret Service, for example, was ranked among the top 25 percent of federal agencies in 2003 in terms of employee satisfaction and commitment, and had fallen into the bottom 25 percent by 2013.

What's driving this decline? While many factors have contributed to sinking employee satisfaction, leadership certainly seems to be a key issue. The 2013 survey, for example, showed a decline in employee respect for and trust in their senior leaders, as well as a drop in their perception of the leadership's strategic management abilities, which measures whether employees believe that management ensures they have the necessary skills and abilities to do their jobs..

This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.