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 Primer on Total Compensation in Government (2016), with Adam J. Reese.
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A Blueprint for Improving Government Performance

August 15, 2016 This is the second column in a two-part series on Civil Service reform. You can read the first part here. Throughout the 1990s, a convergence of trends led by tremendous advances in technology, triggered a revolution in the way work is organized and managed in the private sector. A key...

The Presidential Transition Should Include Civil Service Reform

August 12, 2016 This is the first column in a two-part series. Maybe, just maybe, the time has come for civil service reform. The idea keeps surfacing: Hillary Clinton promised “VA reform will be a top priority.” The Defense Department has begun implementing its new civilian personnel system, New Beginnings, while Congress considers...

The Key to High Performance

August 4, 2016 Research has confirmed that managers have more impact on an organization’s performance than any other factor. Actually it’s their effectiveness in the supervisory role that influences an employee’s performance. A great analogy is the coach of a winning football team. The supervisory role is of course important at all levels...

It’s Past Time to Address Government’s Workforce Problems

July 19, 2016 Government at all levels is experiencing workforce problems that are contributing to deteriorating performance. That was the No. 1 management challenge for state and local government in two independent surveys. It’s confirmed almost every day by stories on Government Executive. The political candidates are exacerbating the problem: It’s now hunting...

Coming to Terms With State and Local Government’s No. 1 Management Challenge

July 14, 2016 Last year, a Route Fifty survey of public sector managers and executives nationwide found that human capital and workforce issues ranked as the No. 1 challenge for state and local governments. That echoed the findings of a recent survey conducted by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. The...

It’s Time to Invest in Government’s Infrastructure -- Its People

July 6, 2016 For several years, the recession provided an excuse to ignore the country’s deteriorating infrastructure. Buildings have aged, the cracks grown wider and the potholes bigger -- and the costs for maintenance have increased. Delaying the inevitable expenditure makes the problems worse. That same argument can be made for the infrastructure...

If Employees Aren't Engaged, Leaders Need to Take a Hard Look at Their Own Actions

June 21, 2016 The 2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey is now history. I am working with a group associated with a federal organization that recently reported the results of a similar survey conducted by Gallup. There are differences in the surveys, but both focus on employee engagement. A key difference (and I have...

The Real Problem With Inflated Performance Evaluations

June 13, 2016 It’s not as if we needed a reminder, but the Government Accountability Office has again confirmed in a June 9 report that performance ratings are badly inflated. That’s old news of course. It was first reported last Thursday by Government Executive and then today by the Washington Post. It’s not...

Federal Salaries Will Continue to Fall Behind Market Pay Rates

June 1, 2016 Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco highlights why the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index currently understates the pay increases government should be granting to attract and retain talent. This is getting into the weeds but the pay gap is going to get progressively wider...

More Executives Aren't Going to Solve Government’s Performance Problem

May 25, 2016 A bill now working through Congress, The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (S. 1550), would require agencies to designate staff responsible for bolstering and documenting performance of this vital bureaucratic function. It will no doubt benefit government but the idea that it is even necessary should be a reason...

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