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A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Meeting the Needs of Women in the Workplace

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to highlight the Office of Personnel Management’s commitment to ensuring that all women—and men—are offered the flexibilities they need to be productive, satisfied members of the Federal workforce. OPM encourages agencies to help their employees balance the needs of their lives inside and outside of work.

In January, President Obama signed a memorandum titled, Modernizing Federal Leave Policies for Childbirth, Adoption, and Foster Care to Recruit and Retain Talent and Improve Productivity.  It directs agencies to advance federal workers up to six weeks’ paid sick leave to care for a new child or ill family member. In his State of the Union address, the president also called on Congress to enact legislation to provide federal workers with up to six weeks of paid parental leave.

The president’s memorandum builds on this past June’s White House Summit on Working Families, an event that explored a variety of issues important to working families, including workplace flexibility. OPM is contributing to these efforts by developing a handbook on Leave for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Adoption, and Foster Care. I believe it is important for federal employees and their managers to fully ...

Science Has Found the Emotion You Need to Stay Healthy

A link has long been proven between negative moods and ill health. But how do positive moods affect us physiologically?

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, set out to discover exactly that when they tracked emotions such as compassion, joy, love, and so on versus the levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6)—a secretion which causes inflammation in the body—in the saliva of 119 university students. The researchers found that those who regularly have positive emotions have less IL-6—and they noticed the strongest correlation with one particular emotion.


“There seems to be something about awe,” Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor and the senior author of the study, told the New York Times. “It seems to have a pronounced impact on markers related to inflammation.” Most of us think of awe as something felt rarely—but we may experience it more than we think. The students reported feeling awe three or more times a week. “How great is that?” Keltner said. “Some people feel awe listening to music, others watching a sunset or attending a political rally or seeing kids play.”

But what is awe, exactly? Unusually for an academic, Keltner’s definition was less than rigorous but perfect ...

4 Ways to Engage the Next Generation of Government Talent

With shrinking budgets and an aging workforce, government organizations face several unique challenges in building their next generation of leaders. Baby boomers are reaching retirement age, taking skills and knowledge as they leave, and morale is decreasing, fueled by work and pay freezes during the government shutdown last year. Federal human resources professionals not only need to consider how to recruit young, top talent, but also how to retain these future leaders. 

By 2025, millennials will make up approximately 75 percent of the workforce. However, only 11 percent of current government employees are millennials, according to the Office of Personnel Management—indicating the potential for a major talent gap in the industry. 

According to Cornerstone OnDemand’s benchmark survey, Building a Culture of Excellence and Engagement, conducted with WBR Digital for the second year in a row, the No. 1 concern of government employers is finding qualified job candidates—with 68 percent of respondents working on such initiatives. Yet at the same time, eight in 10 federal agencies have no active recruitment strategy in place for attracting millennials, who make up the majority of candidates.

Currently, 78 percent of federal HR executives feel that their talent management programs are inadequate ...

Five of Government's Top Social Media Accounts

Government social media accounts, if there’s one thing we know, it’s that they’re here to stay. Corner Alliance has talked about trends in digital government, the issues of convincing government employees to take advantage of social media, and also how to go about measuring digital in government. In all this research there are a few government agencies and programs that have really shown they’re on the cutting edge of social media.

These accounts have embraced various forms of social media, using it to connect with their stakeholders, communicate the importance of their work and create a recognizable brand with the American public. While there are many we could mention, these are the top five we want to call out as leading examples of digital government.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Facebook Account
This account does a great job of posting timely, relevant and vetted resources. You can find helpful Q&A videos on hot topics such as secondhand smoke and Ebola. CDC also does an excellent job of posting health and wellness best practices and activities. They have 466,875 likes and counting.

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s Twitter Account
The ...

Batter Up: 5 Things Workforce Planners Can Learn From Fantasy Baseball

It’s that time of year again. Baseball superfans know what I’m talking about. It’s time to draft your fantasy baseball team. If you’re like millions of Americans, you’re grabbing your peanuts and Cracker Jacks and getting ready for an exciting season.

For many, the fantasy draft isn’t a one-and-done event. Avid baseball fans actively observe signings, releases, injuries and news about prospects throughout the off-season. People who would otherwise cringe in the face of data find themselves knee deep in acronyms like OBP and WAR, and statistically normed stats. They know how to separate the five-tool players from those who wear their glove on the wrong hand.

What’s it all for? The thrill of winning. The ability to demonstrate your strategic prowess to your closest and/or geekiest friends. Something to fill the blank space between lunch and your regular 2 p.m. meeting. All of the above.

As a management consultant, I find this annual ritual quite interesting from an organizational dynamics perspective. I get a kick out of watching fantasy sports addicts inadvertently tapping the same skill sets organizations seek in their strategic workforce planners:

  • Future focus
  • Scenario-based planning
  • Evaluation of ...