AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Howard Risher

Workforce Management Consultant Howard Risher is a consultant on pay and performance and previously managed consulting practices for two national firms. In 1990, he managed the Office of Personnel Management project that led to the passage of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act and the transition to locality pay. Howard has worked with a variety of federal and state agencies, the United Nations and OECD. He is the author of several books and is developing his next manuscript on workforce management in government. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State and an MBA and Ph.D. in business and applied economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
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As Companies Shed Annual Reviews, Should Government Follow Suit?

July 28, 2015 According to an announcement reported in The Washington Post, Accenture is eliminating annual performance reviews. Earlier Deloitte changed its policy. A few other companies have made a similar decision but the numbers are small. Surveys suggest roughly 5 percent of companies have eliminated performance reviews. It was reported because these...

From Crisis to Opportunity for OPM

July 13, 2015 There is always empathy when a leader takes the fall for problems they did not create. Katherine Archuleta’s resignation was similar to that when a losing team’s coach resigns. Redskin fans have lived with that for years. For the Office of Personnel Management and the federal HR community this could...

Let's Demolish HR and Start Over

July 8, 2015 The future of the human resources function is up for discussion in the business world. That’s clear from the cover of the July-August issue of Harvard Business Review, “It’s Time to Blow up HR and Build Something New.” The level of dissatisfaction has been known for years. These articles are...

The GS System Cannot Be Fixed

June 25, 2015 The General Schedule salary system has become an impediment to good government. The annual analysis to compare federal and nonfederal salaries has lost credibility. No president has accepted and approved the increases to close the pay gap since the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act was enacted in 1990. Salaries for...

What’s in a Name? Everything That’s Wrong With Job Classification

June 16, 2015 The Merit Systems Protection Board’s latest newsletter highlights a costly government problem that has been ignored for years. It’s the reality of position classification, the decision process for assigning jobs to salary grades. MSPB did not directly argue that the process is broken, but that’s the clear message. It’s easy...

It’s Time to Make the HR Function Valuable Again

June 4, 2015 The shifting workforce management landscape prompts important questions about the value of the human resources function in government. In their recent Governing column, Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene said, “Many governors no longer look to human resources for advice on their workforce.” The message could not be clearer—these leaders do...

HR Needs to Prepare for a New Role

June 3, 2015 In their recent piece “HR Directors Get a Personnel Downgrade,” Governing columnists Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene raised a pervasive challenge across all levels of government. “There have always been a number of states in which the HR function has moved from a separate agency to a division in a...

Why Management Problems Are a Barrier to Pay Raises and Reform

May 28, 2015 The Government Accountability Office recently released a report titled “Human Capital: Update on Strategic Management Challenges for the 21st Century,” which the author also submitted as testimony at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing on civil service reform. In contrast to several past hearings, there was minimal...

Amid All the Pomp, Where Are the Public Management Degrees?

May 19, 2015 This is the season for graduations. My son finally made it, graduating from Penn State with a degree in political science. (He did well.) In perusing the commencement receptions for each major, I thought there might be faculty in attendance who share my professional interests. That prompted me to search...

Another Fed Survey? Don't Ask If You're Not Ready to Fix the Problems

May 11, 2015 The Office of Personnel Management recently released its Senior Executive Service Exit Survey Results, which prompted this headline in The Washington Post: “Uncle Sam Had Better Start Treating His Employees Right.” This month, of course, is when OPM encourages employees to respond to the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. These...