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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Aug. 2, 2022

Employees say Coast Guard performed well during the Covid pandemic

By Kathy Murray, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard earned higher marks from employees for its performance during the Covid-19 pandemic than any other military branch, according to results from the 2021 Organizational Assessment Survey (OAS).  

 At least 90% of service members responding to the biannual survey noted their units adapted well to changing circumstances during the pandemic, achieving goals, and meeting customer needs with high quality work. The biggest difference with other branches was in adaptability, where percent favorable responses at the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy – ranged from 76-80% - some 10 percentage points lower than the Coast Guard.  

Questions about the pandemic, as well as telework, and demographics, were added to the 2021 Coast Guard OAS to capture areas of interest for workforce development. The Coast Guard partners with the Office of Personnel Management to conduct the survey every other year to gauge employees’ personal experiences and satisfaction with their jobs. The OAS is designed to assess workforce attitudes, and to look for ways to improve the work environment.  

The 2021 survey was administered between May and September last year with 56,873 surveys sent.  A total of 8,862 employees completed it for a response rate of 16% overall and 27% for civilians, both down slightly from previous years.  

In terms of telework, survey results show the Coast Guard is on par with other military branches, even with a third of respondents noting that they don’t telework because they must be physically present on the job.  

Coast Guard employees largely gave positive responses to questions about employee involvement, teamwork, diversity, leadership, and supervision. Some 90% of survey respondents noted the people they worked with cooperate and get the job done at the Coast Guard, compared with only 78% of respondents in the private sector. Job satisfaction at the service was slightly lower than the private sector, however. In addition, about half of respondents said they didn’t expect the survey results to make the Coast Guard a better place to work, which is a full 15% less favorable than the private sector.  

The service drew its most unfavorable responses for overall readiness to reshape the workforce, rewarding/recognizing performance, innovation, training and career development, and customer focus. The Coast Guard is in the process of evaluating survey results to determine areas of improvement and actions that need to be taken for concerns raised.  

You can see overall OAS results here.  The next survey is scheduled for spring, 2023.