NEH Named One of the Best Places to Work

NEH ranks second among small federal agencies in overall employee engagement and satisfaction, according to a new survey

NEH staff holding 2021 Best Places to Work awards
Photo caption

Left to right: Charles Hester, systems operations supervisor; Marlo Blue, human resources specialist; Robert Straughter, administrative services director and acting director of acquisitions; Anthony Mitchell, senior deputy chair; Kelsey Coates, chief of staff; and Derika Ferdinand Walker, deputy director of human resources.

—Photo by Clay Vaughan, IT specialist

(July 20, 2022)

The National Endowment for the Humanities last week was named the second best place to work among small federal agencies, according to a new Best Places to Work survey released by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service and global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.

Based on an Office of Personnel Management survey of 292,520 federal employees, the rankings measure employee engagement and satisfaction, as well as metrics including management, performance, and work-life balance.

NEH scored a record 84.9 points, an all-time high for the agency and an increase of more than 20 points over NEH’s 2020 score (64.4). Max Stier, the CEO and president of the Partnership for Public Service, called the jump for NEH “an Olympic-level vault” up the rankings.

The recognition comes amid falling employee engagement and satisfaction across the federal government, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shifts in the labor market.

“In a year of unprecedented change, NEH was able to adapt and evolve,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “That wouldn’t have been possible without the steadfast leadership, expert stewardship, and swift COVID-19 response of our staff here at NEH.”

On individual metrics, the agency ranked second in COVID-19 employee well-being, which measures how supported staff feel during the pandemic; third in employee recognition, which captures the extent to which staff believe their contributions are appreciated; and fifth in innovation, which measures how motivated employees are to propose new ideas.

“I am inspired by the dedication and creativity of our staff,” Chair Lowe said, “and I look forward to continuing to make NEH a great place to work.”

Complete rankings and data from the 2021 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government survey, produced by the Partnership for Public Service and the Boston Consulting Group, are available at:


National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

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