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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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...

It’s Not Too Late to Strengthen the Workforce

May 5, 2015 This headline on the tentative budget deal says it all: “Feds Dodge Bullet in Budget Deal, But Sequester Cuts Still Coming.” Federal workers should apparently feel good because there are no specific plans to reduce pay or benefits. In reality, the deal extends the negative atmosphere through the end of...

Government Needs Better Management, Obviously

April 27, 2015 Each year presidents announce in their budget proposal a list of projects intended to improve life in the U.S. An annual thread is the emphasis on the latest thinking in management. Starting two decades ago the plan was to adopt business management practices. Recently the focus has been on measurement...

Google’s Lessons for Federal Workforce Management

April 15, 2015 Google’s head of human resources, Laszlo Bock (senior vice president, people operations), has received a lot of media attention for his book, Work Rules!, to be released this month. Hopefully, it will grab the attention of federal managers as well. It’s safe to say, Google is not like government. But...