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Emulating High Performance Companies Comes Down to One Thing

9:00 AM ET The track record of efforts to improve agency performance does not include many successes. When the 2010 GPRA Modernization Act was passed, one columnist referred to the new law “as the latest chapter in a history of U.S. federal performance reforms that have largely failed to meet expectations.” Three years ...

The Best or Worst: Government Has a Choice

March 11, 2015 Last week, Fortune magazine published the 2015 “100 Best Companies to Work For.” This year’s list includes 13 health care providers. Ironically on the same day, the Veterans Affairs Department, which operates more than 1,700 health care facilities nationwide, was described in a congressional hearing as “a terrible place to ...

The Positive Approach to Government’s Performance Problems

February 3, 2015 The evidence is mounting. Government performance has been adversely affected by budget cuts and deteriorating morale. The University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index for federal services has fallen for the second straight year. The overall score is now 64. For comparison, the U.S. Postal Service index is 72 and ...

How HR Departments Can Assert Their Value

January 9, 2015 There have been more than a few articles critical of human resources departments’ role in building healthy organizations. They have appeared in prominent business publications like Forbes and on a number of websites. One of the most frequently cited is “Why We Hate HR,” published in the journal Fast Company ...

Rethinking Federal Pay Should Be a Promise, Not a Threat

December 3, 2014 Next year will mark 25 years since the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act was enacted. The law provided for the alignment of General Schedule salaries with nonfederal pay levels—less 5 percent to reflect the value of federal benefits. The law provided for increases starting in 1994 to close the pay ...

What It Will Take to Fix Federal Pay

November 24, 2014 There can be no winners if the contentious debate over federal pay drags on, certainly not federal employees. The incoming chairman of the Senate’s Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Ron Johnson has announced plans to hold hearings. That, no doubt, means the debate could become more heated and continue ...

Morale Problems? What Would Your Employees Do?

October 16, 2014 The White House intruder should be a wake-up call across government. When morale declines, so does performance. The Secret Service fiasco is one case in point. Employees become less attentive, easily distracted, unwilling to exert more than the minimum effort, and a few will act out. There is no reason ...

The High Cost of Federal Workforce Depression

October 10, 2014 Low employee morale adversely affects employee performance. When morale deteriorates, and it’s not addressed, at some point it transitions to what is best understood as workplace depression. This can happen when employees feel “overwhelmed, lost or fatigued as a result of excessive work demands,” says David Ulrich, one of the ...

Front-Line Morale Problems Are Threatening Homeland Security

September 30, 2014 Responding to a recent article in The Washington Post about leadership turnover affecting the Homeland Security Department’s ability to tackle evolving threats, Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a letter to the editor: “Virtually every position at the top of this department will have been filled, and they will be occupied ...

Employee Recognition: Try It, You’ll Like It

September 18, 2014 Virtually every organization has employees, possibly many, like Bob, the focus of a brief story I read recently. The author and storyteller is David Novak, the CEO of Yum! Brands. In his book Taking People With You, Novak writes: “I asked [a group of employees] what I thought was a ...