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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 ...

High Performance Is Not a Secret

September 4, 2014 Jay Williams, the new assistant secretary at the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, knows what it’s like to turn around an agency with dissatisfied workers. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Williams’ recent interview with The Washington Post interview reminded me of my experience late in the Clinton ...

It’s Time to Focus on Empowerment and Recognition

August 20, 2014 Jay Williams, the new assistant secretary at the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, wants to improve the poor morale of the agency’s workforce. In last year's “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings the agency was all but dead last among 300 agency subcomponents. Of the 14 job ...

Can Government Adopt the P&G Philosophy?

July 8, 2014 Assuming Robert McDonald becomes the next secretary of Veterans Affairs, he will bring with him a philosophy that could be a wake-up call for government. He spent over 30 years in a company that values and invests in its workforce—Procter & Gamble. Known for its commitment to providing attractive careers, ...

Why Bonuses Should Be Part of the Solution at VA

June 17, 2014 If this is the “opportunity of a lifetime” to institute VA reforms, the keystone to tie everything together will be the Senior Executive Service pay and performance system. In other sectors, including health care, it’s the prospect of financial rewards that reinforces accountability. Incentives are used broadly to help everyone ...

Now Is the Time to Fix VA Executive Pay

June 9, 2014 If this is the time to “fix the VA” as every headline now reads, it would be a mistake to ignore the pay system for members of the Senior Executive Service. Whenever a chief executive is replaced, there is normally a shuffling of chairs and he or she makes changes ...