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The Low Rate of Firing Government Employees is Not a 'Positive Sign'

February 6, 2018 The Washington Post recently cited a U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board study that argued the low rate at which federal employees are fired for poor performance “could actually be a positive sign.” The report by the agency that weighs federal employees’ disciplinary appeals contends that the number of employees removed...

Managing Your Career in the Trump Era

August 18, 2017 With every new administration, federal employees should take stock of their careers and decide if they need to make adjustments. Perhaps your organization is going to shrink; maybe you don’t like the philosophy or approach of the new secretary; or maybe you simply need a change. Regardless of your reasons,...

How to Survive the Hiring Freeze

March 1, 2017 A hiring freeze is always a difficult thing to deal with. After all, it is hard to get the job done if you don’t have the resources you need. That said, there are ways to optimize the resources you currently have. In fact, if you adapt some or all of...

Tapping Government’s Biggest Asset—Knowledge

December 29, 2016 This is the last in a series of articles on how the next administration can improve federal government operations. Knowledge is an organization’s purest form of competitive advantage. Yet the government doesn’t do a good job of developing its employees or retaining and disseminating institutional knowledge that often is lost...

Government’s Turnaround Starts at the Bottom

December 28, 2016 This is the second in a series of articles on how the next administration can improve federal government operations. It is well-known that greater engagement equates to better performance. But in 2015, only 32 percent of U.S. employees were engaged at work, according to Gallup. The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey...

Finding a Fix for Government Performance

December 27, 2016 This is the first in a series of articles on how the next administration can improve federal government operations. As public trust in government declines, federal agencies are at a crossroads. Workforce management is part of the problem—and the solution. Agencies need to do a better job of engaging employees,...

Can a New Work Design Help the Government?

October 3, 2016 In his recent article “Can Self-Managed Teams Work in Government?” John Kamensky of the IBM Center for the Business of Government addressed the tough challenge of improving employee engagement as measured by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Examining the potential of self-managed teams in motivating the workforce, Kamensky wrote: “The...

Is Telework Really Benefitting Your Agency?

August 23, 2016 The Washington Post, citing a Government Accountability Office report, recently published an article entitled More Feds are Working from Home. But no one has figured out whether that’s really a good thing. The thrust of the report and the article is that while roughly 267,000 Federal employees are now working...

What Government Could Learn from the Golden State Warriors

June 16, 2016 I recently co-authored an article with Paul Gustavson on LinkedIn: How the Golden State Warriors are Changing Basketball. The premise of the article is that the reigning NBA champions were built to become a team of leaders, and their results once again demonstrate the principle that “organizations are perfectly designed...

To Deal With Poor Performers, You Need Will and Skill

May 4, 2016 In my last article, I discussed the merits of VA’s plan to restrict the employee protections of its senior executives. While I don’t support an approach that 1) treats one group of senior executives in government differently from others based on a few cases, and 2) may serve as a...