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Workplace Benefits and Demands Exceed at Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Katherine McIntire Peters | Government Executive

Looking for a supportive employer with great benefits? If you aren’t afraid of tough jobs, such as safeguarding radiological materials or licensing nuclear facilities, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could be just the place for you.

A new report by the agency’s inspector general confirms what previous surveys have concluded: NRC has an excellent work climate and scores well above most companies and research organizations, especially when it comes to training and professional development opportunities.

That’s good news for agency leaders, who will need a top-notch workforce to grapple with difficult management and performance responsibilities, as cataloged in another recent report.

Inspector General Hubert Bell has identified the seven toughest demands on NRC staff:

  • Protection of nuclear material used for civilian purposes. </ br>
  • Managing information to balance security with openness and accountability. </ br>
  • Ability to modify regulatory processes to include the licensing of new nuclear facilities. </ br>
  • Oversight of radiological waste. </ br>
  • Implementation of information technology and information security measures. </ br>
  • Administration of all aspects of financial management. </ br>
  • Managing human capital. </ br>

While the functions are distinct, they also are interdependent. “For example, the challenge of managing human capital affects all other management and performance challenges,” Bell noted.

If the results of the IG’s Safety Culture and Climate Survey administered in May is any indication, the agency is at least facing those issues with a motivated workforce.

Of the 3,935 employees asked to participate in the survey, 3,404 did so for an unprecedented return rate of 87 percent, which was “more than sufficient to provide a reliable and valid measure of the current attitudes and perceptions of NRC employees and managers,” wrote Stephen D. Dingbaum, assistant inspector general for audits.

The survey showed significant improvements in 16 of 17 categories, compared with a similar survey in 2005, and the scores were on par with or exceeded those of high-performance companies that have undertaken comparable evaluations.

The results show the agency’s mission and values as embodied in its strategic plan are widely understood and embraced by staff, the IG found. Employees rated job satisfaction, engagement, clarity of responsibilities, mission and working relationships at 80 percent or higher.

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