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.
Results 11-20 of 49

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...

Emulating High Performance Companies Comes Down to One Thing

March 31, 2015 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...