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Practical advice for federal leaders on managing people, processes and projects.

Why are More Employees Job Hopping?

A recent ClearanceJobs survey found 69 percent of cleared employers surveyed are likely to hire someone who has changed jobs in the past year.

A separate survey of candidates found 47 percent of cleared candidates surveyed have been in their jobs less than 3 years.

The term “job hopping” used to be an industry term for candidates who failed to stay in one job for long. Now it seems to be the new normal.

Whether you call it “independent contracting” the “gig economy,” “flex work” or “freelance,” today’s work environment is different. Flexibility is an increasingly important benefit for many candidates. Individuals also are much less likely to feel allegiance to the company they’re working for.

Even the federal government is starting to look at how it can appeal to employees who may be leery of the once-standard 30-year tenure in the same agency.

“We’re not looking for 30-year career employees,” Angela Bailey, chief human capital officer for the Department of Homeland Security, noted earlier this year, as she announced DHS plans to hire up to 1,000 new cybersecurity workers. “We’re actually looking for folks that want to come in, they want to get this...

Evidence-Based Policy Proponents Face Cost, Privacy, Political Hurdles

After three initial meetings, early hints are beginning to emerge on what may eventually become a package of recommendations from the congressionally authorized Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking.

Enacted in March, the bipartisan commission has been tasked with developing recommendations that would bolster evidence-based policy, principally by making federal data more widely available to program evaluators. Such evaluations have begun to influence funding decisions, both at the federal and state levels, although their direct influence is still small.

Statutorily, the commission's mission appears to be somewhat narrow, but at its first meeting in July senior Democratic and Republican congressional staff urged it to interpret its mandate more broadly.

At a minimum, the commission has been tasked with developing recommendations for improving the federal data infrastructure, possibly including the creation of a new data clearinghouse for researchers. The commission has also been asked to recommend ways to further incorporate outcomes measurement, randomized controlled trial-based studies, and rigorous impact analysis into federal programs. The recommendations are due by September 2017.

Substantial Challenges

The commission spent most of its first two meetings exploring broader issues. The inaugural meeting in July reviewed a variety of obstacles facing federal statistical agencies. The second meeting on...

Everyone Fails, But Only the Wise Find Humility

Failure is like the original sin in the biblical narrative: everyone has it. Regardless of class, caste, race, or gender, we are all born to fail, we practise failure for as long as we live, and pass it on to others. Just like sin, failure can be disgraceful, shameful and embarrassing to admit. And did I mention ‘ugly’? Failure is also ugly – ugly as sin, as they say. For all its universality, however, failure is under-studied, when not simply neglected. It’s as if even the idea of looking at failure more closely makes us uneasy; we don’t want to touch it for fear of contagion.   

Studying failure can be a contorted, Janus-headed exercise, though. With one pair of eyes we have to look into ourselves (for ‘moral’ or ‘cognitive’ failures, for failures of ‘judgment’ or ‘memory’), and with another pair we need to dwell on instances of failure ‘out there’, in the world around us. Fascinating as the former can be, let me focus here on the latter: the failure we experience in our dealings with the world.

Picture yourself in an airliner, at high altitude. One of the plane engines has just caught fire, the other doesn...

The Pressure to Improve Service Is Only Going to Increase

Over the past several years, there’s been a renewed effort to improve the experience citizens have when they interact with government agencies. This has been driven by presidential mandate, agency leadership, digital innovation, and industry support as well as consumer demand.

Some may wonder if this is really such a departure from earlier initiatives to make government services more accessible through websites or apps. It’s really part of an evolution. While technology tools and upgrades are part of the solution—and leveraging those tools is important—truly improving citizen engagement requires a more robust approach. Both content and technology must be integrated across channels and services in order to serve citizens efficiently and effectively.

Matching Commercial Experience

An advanced citizen engagement model is the next phase of the service revolution, and one that citizens are demanding as they increasingly expect service similar to what they get with Amazon, Apple or Hyatt. Yet while many agencies have significantly enhanced their customer experience with new technology, true citizen engagement requires more than digital tools alone.

Historically, legacy IT systems, process and organizational silos, and restrictions on data sharing have made it difficult to provide a seamless government customer experience to...

Even Obama Has Trouble Making It Out of the House in the Morning

Departing the White House for a flight to Chicago this morning, US president Barack Obama took a couple steps outside, then stopped. He patted himself down and quickly shuffled back inside.

He forgot his cell phone.

It’s another one of those rare, humanizing glimpses that have become more common as a looser, more relaxed Obama enters his last months in office. He might travel with the nuclear codes, but he forgets his phone in the morning just like the rest of us.

The president seemed to have good humor about the situation. It’s not the first time, after all.

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