Informing government decision makers through research & industry insights.

The Keys to Effective Government? Collaboration and Employee Morale

Mark Lee

In response to tightening budgets, government agencies should look at combining services to deliver mission more effectively--but do so mindful of its impact on employee morale. That was the message by Judy England-Joseph, Project Lead at the Partnership for Public Service and Jessie Roberson, Vice-Chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board during a panel discussion on May 13th at Excellence in Government 2014.

England-Joseph stressed the importance of busting silos and thinking about how stakeholders across federal agencies can collaborate to improve mission delivery. Citing work at NASA, the Department of Homeland Security, and municipal governments, England-Joseph argued agencies need to think about how they can redesign the structure and processes of the organization.

“You can’t fix the problems in government with just furloughs,” she said.

Roberson drew on her prior experiences working as the Assistant Secretary for Environment Management at the Department of Energy. To mitigate morale issues from controversial changes, she recruited a core group of employees to help design her agency’s strategic plan and help pitch this plan to the rest of the organization. “You can’t just have one person as the mouthpiece of your vision,” Roberson explained “individual employees need to be able to advocate new policies, too.”

Agency leaders should also consider the potential repercussions of their decisions by proactively preparing for these issues (such as morale or external criticisms) by receiving greater buy-in from multiple stakeholders.

For instance, while leading initiatives to begin closing nuclear waste sites early, employees began voicing concerns to Roberson about the future of their jobs. In response, she and other agency leaders convinced Congress and the Office of Personnel Management to support bills to offer longer-term employment contracts to employees contingent on their commitment to stay for several years. Furthermore, the agency opened up conversations among employees and local communities that might be impacted.

Actions that promote open communication and clear goal-setting for all members of an organization can help federal managers more effectively employ substantive changes without alienating employees. “When trying to redesign a function in an organization, you must look at the actions itself,” Roberson explained. “You have to capture the hearts and minds of the workers -- actions speak louder than words or policies.”

For more from 2014 Excellence in Government, check out GBC’s EIG2014 recap series.


This post is written by Government Business Council; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Government Executive Media Group's editorial staff. For more information, see our advertising guidelines.


Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.