As 2013 comes to a close, the Annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government employee survey has been released, listing the top 300 federal agency subcomponents of the year.

So who made the number one spot for the best place to work in the federal government? The non-profit Partnership of Public Service (PPS) named the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the top agency to work for of 2013. The annual report is based on a survey taken by 700,000+ employees from 371 federal agencies.

Peggy Focarino, commissioner for patents, spoke highly in regards to the dedicated and hardworking employees, unions and agency leaders that help to make up the USPTO.  “Our employees have faced significant challenges, including the impact of budget sequestration despite being a fully fee-funded agency, and the completion of our implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the most sweeping overhaul of our nation’s patent system in generations,” she said. “Yet despite those challenges we maintained our upward momentum in being recognized by our employees as a Best Place to Work in the federal government.”

Earlier this year, Commissioner Focarino was named one of the 2013 Sammie nominees for coordinating USPTO senior leadership in working with the Patent Office Professional Association (POPA) union to bring change to the agency. One change she was integral in implementing was the successful telework program, which has not only improved flexibility for employees in the workplace but has also helped to reduce turnover, increase productivity and has saved the agency millions of dollars each year in overhead.  The program also received recognition for a nomination in the annual Sammie awards in 2012. 

The USPTO has consistently risen in the Best Places to Work rankings since 2009, ranking fifth in its category last year. With a 73 percent participation rate, the USPTO’s scores have continued to increase across categories such as Effective Leadership and Strategic Management. The USPTO’s Creativity and Innovation Challenge has helped improve operations through collaboration and idea-sharing between the agency and its employees. The challenge established an interactive employee forum encouraging employees to submit and vote on innovative ways to improve the agency, according to a Bloomberg report.


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