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 It's Time for High-Performance Government: Winning Strategies to Engage and Energize the Public Sector Workforce (2016), with Bill Wilder.
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The Potential Payoff for Applying Metrics and Analytics to Government Is Significant

November 17, 2017 Our recent column on metrics and analytics triggered several stimulating exchanges. One thread running through the reaction to these proven practices, which have been widely used in business for decades, is that they have not gained broad support in government. Corporate managers are inundated daily by performance data. And of...

It’s Time to Improve Government’s Use of Metrics and Analytics

November 9, 2017 The final report by the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking promises to refocus attention on the use of performance data. This is not new of course; the use of metrics has evolved over more than two decades across all levels of government. Even with extensive experience, the Commission was created by...

A Blueprint for Improving Government's HR Function

October 24, 2017 Government, at its core, is its employees and their commitment to serve the country. That fact is too often overlooked. While technology enables employees to make better, faster decisions, until artificial intelligence replaces the acquired knowledge of employees, agency performance will continue to depend on the skill and dedication of...

It’s Time to Erase ‘Seniority’ From the Management Lexicon

October 17, 2017 If there is one word that has outlived its usefulness in government management, it’s the word ‘seniority.’ Somehow it sends the message that performance is not important. In the administration of the General Schedule, seniority is the basis for step increases and plays a far too important role in promotions...

Needed: A Commitment to Effective Performance Management

October 5, 2017 Several recent columns highlight how difficult and complex it will be for agencies to realize the Administration’s goals for “reforming the federal government and reducing the federal civilian workforce.” The stated objectives, starting with “create a lean, accountable, more efficient government,” essentially boil down to this: doing more with less....

Another Misleading Claim About Federal Pay

September 26, 2017 One of the rituals of Washington occurred last week. A new report from the libertarian Cato Institute argued that federal employees are paid above market rates: “Federal Pay Outpaces Private Pay in 2016.” Similar claims have been made annually by one or more think tanks for more than a decade....

Memo to Government Reformers: Don’t Forget the Soft Stuff

September 19, 2017 The Trump Administration is committed to restructuring government. Recently the Volcker Alliance and the Partnership for Public Service announced a joint blueprint for reform, Renewing America’s Civil Service. Together those initiatives promise to change the bureaucracy—the regulations, rules, systems, reporting relationships, assigned duties, etc. You could argue that the prospect...

There’s Reason For Optimism In Federal Personnel Management

September 6, 2017 The nomination of Jeff Tien Han Pon to head the Office of Personnel Management is a welcome development. I have not met Pon, but his credentials are exemplary. Previous OPM directors no doubt have been solid citizens who knew government, but aside from Beth Colbert, I do not recall any...

Is OPM’s Employee Survey a Valuable Tool?

August 29, 2017 When the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey was announced in the spring, the Office of Personnel Management promised the results “on a rolling basis starting in August 2017.” That’s when OPM will begin to share data with agencies internally, the agency recently clarified to Government Executive. The public, apparently, will...

Agencies Need A STEM Talent Management System

August 8, 2017 The government’s technology problems are largely staffing problems. For years, workforce concerns were ignored. But high-profile data breaches have shifted the focus. Government’s technology problems are as complex and difficult to address as any in the world. Agencies need to be able to hire the best. That’s true in other...