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Are You Turning Off Your New Employees on Day One?

January 27, 2016 During my 32-year federal career, I encountered hundreds of new employees who were enthusiastic about the promise of a great government career and the opportunity to make a difference. But after a brief period, far too many of these bright-eyed, bushy-tailed people were turned off and, in some cases, became...

Why Do So Many Government Incentive Awards Programs Fail?

December 10, 2015 My experience as a government employee for 32 years and a consultant/teacher for nine has taught me that most incentive awards programs do not work. In fact, many have failed so miserably that they wound up being disincentive awards programs. Why have they failed? Simply put, it's because employees were...

Creating a Culture of Accountability

November 16, 2015 The Commerce Department is facing a major challenge developing a culture of accountability, according to a recent inspector general report. This clearly is a problem throughout government at every level, and also in many parts of the private sector. Simply put, accountability means that everyone is responsible for his or...

Is Extending the Probationary Period a Good Idea?

October 21, 2015 We’ve seen many proposals over the years to extend the probationary period for new federal employees from one year to two. Most recently, a bill was proposed that would make newly hired Defense Department employees serve a two-year probationary period. The House-Senate conferees involved in developing this bill said that...

How Government Can Fire Its Bad Employees

September 9, 2015 To fire a government employee, all you need is the will and the skill. This may sound simplistic given all the protections granted to civil servants and the complexities of federal human resources case law, but it’s true. What does it mean to have the will? It means having the...

Why Federal Managers Fail to Fire Their Low Performers

August 26, 2015 A recent article in The Washington Post listed the top five reasons why federal managers fail to fire their low performers. Citing a guide published by the Merit Systems Protection Board, the article states: “Managers have a lot of power to take action against employees and supervisors because of misconduct...

Preparing HR for an Expanded Role

August 6, 2015 This is the last article in a two-part series on the future of human resources in government. Stewart Liff The perception of human resources in government has never been completely favorable, and HR officials have struggled to keep pace with evolving business issues. For example: Government organizations are facing increasing...

The Future of HR in Government

July 30, 2015 This is the first article in a two-part series on the future of human resources in government. Much has been written recently about the future of HR, both inside and outside of government. One article went so far as to suggest splitting HR into administrative and organizational roles because of...

Should Government Do Away With Annual Performance Reviews?

June 29, 2015 According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “Reinventing Performance Management,” Deloitte is redesigning its performance management system on the notion that it “is increasingly out of step with [the company’s] objectives.” Specifically, Deloitte feels it drives neither employee engagement nor high performance. This has generated a lot...

Low Productivity? Redesign Your Team So Everyone Is the Leader

June 5, 2015 It is generally accepted that higher morale leads to better productivity. And with all of the pressure on the federal government to improve performance, it makes sense to identify new ways to not just improve morale, but also employee productivity. Government managers have two basic options in trying to make...