AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Howard Risher

Workforce Management Consultant Howard Risher is a consultant focusing on pay and performance. In 1990, he managed the 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 earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State and an MBA and Ph.D. in business from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is the co-author of the new book It's Time for High-Performance Government: Winning Strategies to Engage and Energize the Public Sector Workforce (2016), with Bill Wilder.
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Pay for Performance is Needed

February 13, 2018 The switch to pay for performance is inevitable. The General Schedule salary system is approaching 100 years old. Automatic step increases are contrary to the goals of improving government performance and holding employees accountable. Further, there is no rationale that justifies paying federal employees better than their counterparts working in...

Focusing on the Positive: Rewarding Good Workers and Managers

February 5, 2018 The pundits focused on the line in President Trump’s state of the union address asking Congress to “empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority . . . to remove federal workers.” For the most part, they ignored the call to “reward good workers” preceding the reference to removal. It may...

Eliminating Layers of Management In Government Is Overdue

January 30, 2018 February 12 promises to be a significant day for federal employees. It’s the day the White House releases its 2019 budget request, along with its plans to restructure agencies, improve workforce management and performance, increase accountability, and reduce costs. One recommended change—the elimination of a layer or more of management—will...

Federal Workers Don’t Trust Their Bosses as Much as Private-Sector Employees Do

January 9, 2018 Every year, the Partnership for Public Service partners with Deloitte to identify the best places to work in the federal government. The rankings started in 2003 and are based on data from the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The message from the report, released in December, was positive: the survey...

Data Show Government is Not a Great Place to Work

January 9, 2018 Every year, the Partnership for Public Service partners with Deloitte to identify the best places to work in the federal government. The rankings started in 2003 and are based on data from the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The message from the report, released in December, was positive: the survey...

Replacing the Federal Pay Program

January 3, 2018 What a difference a year can make. If the President’s Pay Agent had released a report responding to the Federal Salary Council’s recommendations last year, it would have reflected the Obama administration’s point of view. The delay of a year meant the newly constituted Pay Agent under President Trump voiced...

OMB’s New Deputy for Management Faces a Big Challenge

December 20, 2017 Performance management is not new. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama each had initiatives to improve management across government. Laws have been enacted; supportive technology installed; goal-based management practices adopted; progress reviews required—but the gains have been disappointing. Those efforts have been focused on the way agency performance is planned and...

The Annual Pay Ritual Has Lost Relevance

December 11, 2017 Few seem to have noticed, but the Federal Salary Council has not met this year and new members have not been appointed. Last year, the council’s conclusions were reported by the media in October and its report was submitted to the President’s Pay Agent in December. That was somewhat later...

Overcoming the Strategy Execution Gap

December 7, 2017 Government’s workforce is uniquely well educated. Over 50 percent of the white-collar workforce has earned at least a bachelor’s degree. In the U.S. population, only 30 percent are college graduates. Agencies employ more than 35,000 practicing lawyers, 90,000 scientists and 105,000 engineers. Many have worked for years at the forefront...

Federal Managers Should Learn From Denver’s ‘Peak Performance’ Program

November 30, 2017 It should not have been surprising when the House unanimously passed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174) earlier this month. The goal, as Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., noted in remarks aimed at encouraging the Senate to pass the bill, is “to make sure federal policies are driven by...