ADP and IPMA-HR Study Sheds Light on U.S. Public Sector Employee Engagement

Survey of 2,200 State and Local Government Workers Establishes Comparative Benchmark for Public Sector Organizations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – September 11, 2012 – ADP ®, a leading provider of human capital management services, and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) today announced the findings of a national survey measuring current levels of employee engagement among public sector employees at the state and local level. The findings were revealed during the 2012 IPMA-HR International Training Conference & Expo taking place in Nashville, Tenn.

The survey, which polled over 2,200 public sector employees in the U.S., found that just 58 percent of public sector employees are fully engaged in their jobs. In addition, 38 percent of all respondents said they were either very, or somewhat likely, to leave their job, if working conditions don’t improve. A higher number of young workers – 47 percent of those 34 years of age and younger - said they were either very, or somewhat likely, to leave their job, if working conditions do not improve.

The study, commissioned by ADP and IPMA-HR, an organization that represents the interests of HR professionals at the federal, state and local levels of government, as well as public education organizations, was conducted to better understand which components are vital to engagement. The research was conducted by the GOVERNING Institute, a subsidiary of e.Republic, a leading media organization focused exclusively on the government and education markets.

“With numerous studies pointing to a strong correlation between worker engagement and organizational productivity, performance and talent retention, it’s clear that employee engagement is one of the top issues confronting HR decision makers today,” said Terrence McCrossan, general manager, ADP Human Capital Management. “Just as in the private sector, public sector organizations can benefit from having a clearer understanding of what motivates and satisfies their workforce, and from having a system in place to track whether their engagement levels are trending upward or not.”

Based on more than 2,200 individual online survey responses, the study canvassed a broad base of government employees, including management and staff, union and non-union employees, key government verticals and functions, and state and localities.

“As numerous studies have shown, there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and high performance in the workplace, as well as talent retention,” said Neil Reichenberg, executive director, IPMA-HR. “Opportunities exist now for public sector HR professionals to better understand what motivates and inspires workers, and then formulate strategies for enhancing engagement at all levels.”

Additional key study findings include:

  • “Serving the public with integrity” was cited as the most distinguishing engagement factor for public sector employees and is the single highest performing element in the entire survey, with 98 percent total agreement.
  • While serving the public with integrity was a nearly universal response, employees 34 years or younger, employees of all ages and technology workers were below average on identifying “making a difference” as a key component in engagement.
  • “Fully engaged” public sector employees are:
    • Twice as likely to stay in their current job
    • 2.5 times more likely to feel they can “make a difference”
    • 2.5 times more likely to recommend their workplace to others
    • Three times as likely to report being ”very satisfied” in their jobs

Free Upcoming Webinar to Showcase Findings
A free webinar presenting the full findings of the study and examining key job satisfaction drivers among public sector workers will take place on October 16, 2012 from 2:00 -3:00 p.m. ET. Justin Greeves vice president, corporate research at e.Republic, Jon Bernstein, director of public sector strategies at ADP and Neil Reichenberg will also discuss various best practices in driving increased engagement levels. To register for the free webinar, please visit:

This study was conducted by the Governing Institute among a sample of 2,259 randomly selected participants across state and local governments. The study was conducted online using the proprietary Governing Exchange platform and the sample is weighted and balanced by age, region, employee type, employee level, and type of government. Survey data was collected June 21-July 13, 2012 with a total sampling error of +/- 2.5 percentage points with 95% confidence.

The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) is an association representing the interests of state, local, and federal sector human resources professionals. IPMA-HR provides human resource leadership and advocacy, professional development, information, and services to enhance public sector performance. To learn more, visit

About The GOVERNING Institute
The GOVERNING institute advances better government by focusing on improved outcomes through research, decision support, and executive education to help public sector leaders govern more effectively. With an emphasis on state and local government performance, innovation, leadership and citizen engagement, the Institute oversees GOVERNING Magazine’s research efforts, the GOVERNING Public Official of the Year Program, and a wide range of events to further advance the goals of good governance. To learn more visit:

About ADP
Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADP), with more than $10 billion in revenues and approximately 600,000 clients, is one of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. Leveraging over 60 years of experience, ADP offers a wide range of human resource, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide superior value to companies of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the world. For more information about ADP or to contact a local ADP sales office, reach us at 1.800.225.5237 or visit the company's Web site at

Jim Larkin
(973) 407-9714