Federal surveys show VA employees perceive senior VA leaders as having less integrity under VA Secretary Robert McDonald, not more.
Less than half VA employees surveyed agreed that their senior leaders display the integrity and honesty VA requires of its senior leaders (“high” levels of integrity and honesty).
That measure has actually gotten worse under McDonald, not better, a showing a decline from 49% to 45% since 2013.
The cornerstone of McDonald’s “I CARE” program is integrity – – the “I” stands for integrity. VA says the full acronym stands for, “Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence (I CARE) define ‘who the VA is,’ VA’s culture, and help guide the actions of staff across VA.”
So how is it McDonald’s policies and plan can be deemed a success worthy of keeping him on under the next presidency, while the integrity senior VA leaders has gotten worse?
Assuming the survey provides an accurate picture of what is going on within VA and not a colossal waste of taxpayer funds, these results should push a counter-narrative against the one McDonald and his cronies are trying to cement in the public mind through numerous press reports and academic studies.
Less than 40 percent believe these same senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment to the workforce. Roughly 80 percent believe pay is not dependent on how well they perform their jobs. Another 70 percent do not agree that promotions are based on merit.
So what is going on in VA and why do VA employees believe job performance has little to do with pay and promotions? Is VA rewarding liars and cheats while ignoring calls to take drastic steps to increase accountability by firing bad or criminal employees?
While the name of each VA secretary changes each few years depending on the scandal meaning the remaining constant is an above the law mentality within VA that its senior leaders and employees can get promoted regardless of job performance.
Instead, backroom deals and political agendas drive pay and promotions.
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Dysinfo On McDonald, White House Legacy On Veterans Affairs
Despite raving reviews, primarily coming from left leaning organizations and news agency’s, surveys of federal employees within the agency show a different story of decline in the area of trust, integrity and honesty – – all core characteristics for iCare to succeed.
Meanwhile, various news sources including Harvard Business Review have applauded VA Secretary Robert McDonald for his work to improve the agency from the inside out. Dinosaur Veteran Service Organizations have even upheld McDonald’s record in calls for President-elect Donald Trump to keep McDonald at the top spot.
All this occurred while McDonald reprimanded Congress about demands to terminate bad or criminal employees where he retorted, “You cannot fire your way to success.”
2013 to 2016 Federal Viewpoint Survey Results On Senior VA Leaders
The disappointing survey responses are peppered throughout the survey. VA employees were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement. I kept the numbers on each query so you can follow along in the actual documents in the Viewpoint surveys.
On Honesty And Motivation
#53 only 37% of employees agreed with the statement, “In my organization, senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce.” This number is down from 2013 when 41% of employees agreed. Meaning, less VA employees believe senior VA leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in their subordinates.
#54 only 45% of employees agreed with the statement, “My organization’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity.” This number is down from 49% in 2013. Meaning, less VA employees believe the senior VA leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity under McDonald.
So, VA is run by leaders unable to inspire their subordinates who in turn trust them less under McDonald.
It is important to note VA employees trust their supervisors at a rate higher than 60 percent meaning the trust divide between frontline employees, their supervisors and the senior VA leaders responsible for managing them all has grown.
On Pay And Performance
#22 only 31% agreed, “Promotions in my work unit are based on merit.” This percentage is generally unchanged since 2013.
#23 only 29% agreed, “In my work unit, steps are taken to deal with a poor performer who cannot or will not improve.” This percentage is generally unchanged since 2013.
#25 only 38% of respondents agreed, “Awards in my work unit depend on how well employees perform their jobs.” This percentage is generally unchanged since 2013.
#33 only 21% agreed that, “Pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs.” This number improved slightly from 20% in 2013.
If I were the head of an organization with these percentages following an employee, I would be fired – – and I should be fired.
Why Is The Press Pushing A Fake Narrative?
Based on these numbers, how can one conclude, like Harvard Business Review, our dinosaur Veteran Service Organizations, and left-leaning publications like Washington Post that McDonald is a great success who should stay merely for pushing existing reforms forward while fleecing Veterans Choice and misleading the public about his accomplishments?
Are we getting buffaloed? If yes, to what end?