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How Executive Incentives Compounded the VA’s Problems

June 4, 2014 The problems at Veteran Affairs Department hospitals are people problems. The VA’s information technology systems may need to be upgraded, but that’s not the reason scheduling records were manipulated. “Cooking the books” started years ago, based on media reports, and has been overlooked by what must be a large number ...

Is Government Ready for Millennials?

May 22, 2014 The popular HR website TLNT (aka ‘talent’) posted a blog last week by Ed Frauenheim that should be required reading for every federal manager. The title says it all: “Motivating Millennials: It’s About Pay, a Fair Say, and Solid Management.” Government needs to reconsider more than the hiring process to ...

What It Will Take to Improve Morale

May 15, 2014 Employee dissatisfaction with the way performance is managed contributes to the federal workforce’s morale problem—and it’s getting worse. That’s apparent in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and also in a recent Senior Executives Association survey. The SEA report emphasizes the connection between low morale and fair and effective performance ...

Commentary: Poor Morale Should Not Be Ignored

May 7, 2014 In March three Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked the Government Accountability Office to study the impact of the decline in federal worker morale on recruiting and retention, employee performance and productivity, and achievement of agency mission. The Government Executive story on the request attracted an ...

Supervisors Hold the Keys to the New World Order

April 8, 2014 A common thread that runs through the new civil service report from the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton, is the vital importance of managers and supervisors. Research tells us they have more impact on an organization’s success than any other factor. Leaders define the mission and develop ...

Performance Equals Motivation Times Ability

March 18, 2014 There have been several recent columns on Government Executive discussing ideas for improving performance. One suggested the use of Post-It Notes would improve productivity. Another suggested eliminating performance reviews—every manager would love that. Another suggested accountability should be centralized, not decentralized, which is contrary to countless books on high performance. ...

Analysis: The cost of the pay freeze outweighs the savings

December 13, 2012 Not to downplay the importance of addressing the deficit, but consider this: If the federal pay freeze continues in 2013, the savings will amount to $4.6 billion -- less than 0.5 percent of the deficit in 2012. That figure is based on a $185 billion payroll for the three branches ...

Analysis: Ten reasons to replace the General Schedule

November 23, 2011 The General Schedule needs to be replaced. It is an impediment to the effective management of payroll dollars and the workforce. The federal pay system is broken, and agencies deserve better. Last spring, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked the Government Accountability ...

Analysis: Searching for honest performance ratings

November 11, 2011 Everyone it seems is looking for the secret to performance management. A labor-management committee at the Defense Department recently released its recommendations for a new performance management system. The assessment was mandated by the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act after the department's previous attempt at reform -- the National Security ...

Tough Times

July 6, 2011 Downsizing is not without consequences. The anticipated staffing cuts will expose a core problem that has no immediate solution: Many managers are not ready for what could unfold. Understaffed operations lead to demoralized workforces. Buyouts and early outs deplete institutional knowledge. And voluntary turnover is highest among the best qualified ...