Every year to their credit the federal Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) conducts an Employee Viewpoint Survey. In 2011 266,000 federal employees from 33 large agencies, 35 small agencies and 240 agency subcomponents responded to the survey.

The Partnership For Public Service based on the OPM survey has released a report titledAchieving a Culture of Innovation, which highlights the survey questions and responses regarding innovation.

The bottom line is that federal government employees are willing to innovate but lack encouragement and support. The 9 questions asked of federal employees and their responses should be asked of local government employees as well. In these difficult financial times local governments need innovative and creative approaches to survive. Any village, town, city or county that is serious about encouraging creativity and innovation needs to first determine how their employees answer the questions below. With responses from federal employees to compare results, one can get an excellent idea as to how supported and encouraged employees are to be innovative.

With the simple survey below a local government can start a great dialogue with their employees to create a culture of innovation. Any local government where employees feel empowered and supported to be innovative will reap tremendous benefits. What type of responses would you receive if this survey was done by the employees of your local government?

1) I am constantly looking for ways to do my job better (91.5%)

2) I feel encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things (59.2%) – 71% of private sector employees feel encouraged

3) Creativity and innovation are rewarded (38.8%)

4) I am given a real opportunity to improve my skills in my organization (65.0%)

5) My supervisor/team leader provides me with opportunities to demonstrate my leadership skills (64.2%)

6) I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders (53.5%)

7) How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work (50.7%)

8) Employees are rewarded for providing high quality products and services (49.5%)

9) Employees have a feeling of personal empowerment with respect to work processes (46.3%)

www.reinventinggov.org