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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Pay and Performance Must Be Credibly Managed

January 18, 2017 Effective compensation management is not based on a “schedule.” It needs to be responsive to changing circumstances. In 1990, when Connie Newman, then the director of the Office of Personnel Management, initiated the project that led to the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act, she formed a group of influential people...

Sure, Some Feds Are Overpaid

January 17, 2017 The critics are right; the General Schedule system is broken and needs to be replaced. It no longer meets the needs of government. The introduction of locality pay 26 years ago is the only change in more than half a century. It may be the oldest pay system in the...

Civil Service Reform Is Coming; Employees Need to Play a Role

January 2, 2017 It’s safe to say that civil service reform is inevitable. The Trump campaign made that clear. The political winds appear to be solidly behind the need for change, and over the past decade, several states have successfully initiated reforms. Federal employees and the unions that represent them need to acknowledge...

Welcome to the End of Business as Usual in Government

November 30, 2016 Consider this as a friendly forewarning. It was prompted by a Washington Post article, “Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it.” Leaders who join the new administration from the business world are likely to focus far more on internal performance issues. It is common...

Pay for Performance Could Be Coming to Federal Agencies

November 15, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump commands the spotlight now, but our next vice president is likely to play a central role in the new administration’s plans for federal agency management. As is typical of chief executives, Mr. Trump is not known for digging deeply into day to day operational issues. Added to...

It’s Hard to Overstate How Awful the Government’s Pay System Is

November 7, 2016 It’s that time again. The Federal Salary Council will soon announce its estimate of the salary gap between government employees and their private sector counterparts. Last December, the council reported salaries paid under the General Schedule system were 35 percent lower than private sector levels. But apart from the unions,...

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...

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