Without Market Incentives, Government Employees Feel Unappreciated

Alice Salles Comments

As it turns out, federal government employees themselves know that their employer has no interest in meeting goals, improving the experience of people affected (not served) by the government, or even recognizing workers for their dedication and effort.

According to a recent Federal Employee Viewpoint survey, federal employees feel they aren’t rewarded when they show creativity and are never given raises when they actually earn it. But that’s not a surprise to anyone who understands the nature of government.

The survey asked more than 485,000 employees about how they feel toward their employer. According to the results, discontent among workers is widespread. Also, they say, agencies are often neglectful when it comes to colleagues who are not performing as they should. The survey found that only 31 percent of respondents said they feel properly rewarded, and only another 31 percent said that they believe the survey would actually amount to changes in how the government deals with its employees.


While the same could be said about many employers in the private sector, government is the only entity that has no real incentive to remain competitive. It also has no reason to ensure that government employees are meeting the market’s demands. As such, individual employees who show dedication and who develop the right set of skills for the job are seldom recognized. And that is because governments offer no room for growth as they do not play by the market’s rules.

In a private company, employees who work hard and are dedicated are often rewarded with promotions or raises. If they aren’t, other employers step in, offering these hard-working employees a position that will explore their talents. That happens because private companies are accountable. Even the largest and most powerful of them will eventually fall apart if it’s not giving consumers what they seek. Having employees who are good at what they do is an asset, while having employees who slack or who are entitled is more of a waste.

Another reason why governments often don’t have enough reasons to treat their employees correctly is that governments don’t earn their money by being competent at what they do.

Over time, employees feel bored, if anything. Without having to race toward a goal to keep the business going, there’s no reason to show that you care about your job. When the government is the employer, the money pit is bottomless. You have no financial incentive to stay on top of your game.

As you can see, even government employees know that their job is, more often than not, going to take them nowhere. Unfortunately, most will continue to live their lives without acting on this knowledge. And that’s simply because they are looking after their own interests, as they, too, need to be fed, clothed, and must have a place to live.

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