Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2006-1192

U.S. Geological Survey Rewarding Environment Culture Study, 2002

By Janis C. Nash,1 Carol A. Paradise-Tornow,2 Vicki K. Gray,3 Sarah P. Griffin-Bemis,4 Pamela R. Agnew,4 and Nicole M. Bouchet1

1U.S. Geological Survey, former employee.
2Consultant, Tucson, Ariz.
3U.S. Geological Survey, San Diego, Calif.
4U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.36 MB)

In its 2001 review of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Research Council (NRC, p. 126) cautioned that “high-quality personnel are essential for developing high-quality science information” and urged the USGS to “devote substantial efforts to recruiting and retaining excellent staff.”

Recognizing the importance of the NRC recommendation, the USGS has committed time and resources to create a rewarding work environment with the goal of achieving the following valued outcomes:

  • USGS science vitality

  • Customer satisfaction with USGS products and services

  • Employee perceptions of the USGS as a rewarding place to work

  • Heightened employee morale and commitment

  • The ability to recruit and retain employees with critical skills

To determine whether this investment of time and resources was proving to be successful, the USGS Human Resources Office conducted a Rewarding Environment Culture Study to answer the following four questions.

  • Question 1: Does a rewarding work environment lead to the valued outcomes (identified above) that the USGS is seeking?

  • Question 2: Which management, supervisory, and leadership behaviors contribute most to creating a rewarding work environment and to achieving the valued outcomes that the USGS is seeking?

  • Question 3: Do USGS employees perceive that the USGS is a rewarding place to work?

  • Question 4: What actions can and should be taken to enhance the USGS work environment?

To begin the study, a conceptual model of a rewarding USGS environment was developed to test assumptions about a rewarding work environment. The Rewarding Environment model identifies the key components that are thought to contribute to a rewarding work environment and the valued outcomes that are thought to result from having a rewarding work environment. The 2002 Organizational Assessment Survey (OAS) was used as the primary data source for the study because it provided the most readily available data. Additional survey data were included as they became available

The dividends of creating a rewarding work environment can be great. As the results of the USGS Rewarding Environment Culture Study of 2002 indicate, creating a rewarding work environment is an investment that can have an important impact on the outcomes that the USGS values—the vitality of our science, the satisfaction of our customers, and the morale, commitment, and performance of our employees.

First posted September 2010

For additional information contact:
Stacy Bushée
U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Organizational and Employee Development
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 605
Reston, VA 20192
Telephone: 703-648-7454

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Nash, J.C., Paradise-Tornow, C.A., Gray, V.K., Griffin-Bemis, S.P., Agnew, P.R., and Bouchet, N.M., 2010, U.S. Geological Survey Rewarding Environment Culture Study, 2002: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006–1192, 50 p., available only online.



Executive Summary

Question 1: Does a Rewarding Work Environment Lead to the Valued Outcomes That the USGS is Seeking?

Question 2: Which Management, Supervisory, and Leadership Behaviors Contribute
Most to Creating a Rewarding Work Environment and to Achieving the Valued Outcomes That the USGS is Seeking?

Question 3: Do USGS Employees Perceive That the USGS is a Rewarding Place to Work?

Question 4: What Actions Can and Should be Taken To Enhance the USGS Work Environment?


I. Introduction


Rewarding Environment as a Culture Change Effort

Overview of This Report

II. Is the USGS a Rewarding Place To Work?

Conceptual Model of a Rewarding Environment

USGS Rewarding Environment Status Report

Summary of Findings From the 2002 Organizational Assessment Survey (OAS)

Employee Responses to OAS Questions on Rewards and Recognition

Group Differences in Rewarding Environment Perceptions

Employee Comments on Rewarding Environment

Hard Data on Awards and Employee-Initiated Separations

Relation Between OAS Results and USGS Data on Rewards Practices and Employee-Initiated Separations

Rewarding Environment and the 2002 Federal Human Capital Survey

III. Does Having a Rewarding Environment Make a Difference?

Differences Between “High Rewarding Environment” and “Low Rewarding
Environment” Science Centers and Offices

The Links Among Rewarding Environment, Employee Morale, and Performance

IV. USGS Rewarding Environment Successes and Challenges

Success Stories From Across the USGS

Implementation Challenges

V. Conclusions and Implications for Rewarding Environment Culture Change

Priorities for Action

Implications for Leadership of Rewarding Environment Culture Change Effort

VI. Recommendations for Enhancing USGS Rewarding Environment Efforts

Actions Managers and Supervisors Can Take To Enhance the Rewarding Environment Culture in Their Centers

Actions the Rewarding Environment Program Manager Can Take To Improve the
Impact of the Rewarding Environment Culture Change Effort

Actions Senior Leaders Can Take To Strengthen the Rewarding Environment Culture at USGS


References Cited

Appendix A. Methodology

Appendix B. 2002 Organizational Assessment Survey (OAS) Rewarding Environment Scales

Appendix C. 2002 Organizational Assessment Survey Responses to Rewarding Environment Write-In Question

Appendix D. Rewarding Environment (RE) Measurement Plan

Appendix E. “Best Places To Work” Analysis of 2002 Federal Human Capital Survey
Comparison of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of the Interior (DOI), and Federal Governmentwide Responses

Appendix F. 2002 Organizational Assessment Survey (OAS) Measurement Model for
Rewarding Environment: Summary Table

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
[an error occurred while processing this directive] URL:
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 12-Jan-2013 22:41:23 EST