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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Government Already Has a Blueprint for Implementing Pay For Performance

June 14, 2018 Current plans to reorganize agencies and switch to pay for performance have a historical parallel: the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency instituted such a policy change two decades ago. The initiative was a solid success—a direct contrast to the failure to implement the National Security Personnel System under President George W. Bush....

Better Training Is Essential for Performance Management

June 5, 2018 Every organization has employees who fail to satisfy performance expectations. Research shows that the cost these poor performers exact on an organization exceeds the benefits of employing a high performer. For that reason President Trump’s executive order streamlining removal procedures is on target and fully justified. However, the new policy...

How Well Are Federal Employees Really Paid?

May 22, 2018 Every year the Federal Salary Council and Pay Agent release reports showing federal employees are badly underpaid. According to a table in the Pay Agent report from last December, the national pay gap was 34 percent. In the Washington, D.C., locality area, the gap was 51 percent across all General...

Why Federal Employees Need a Better Work Experience

April 26, 2018 Civil service reform cannot come too soon. However, replacing government’s antiquated HR policies and practices will have only a limited impact on agency performance or on government’s success in attracting highly qualified applicants. In the books on high performance organizations the HR function is often not mentioned at all. The...

Civil Service Reform Must Be a Priority

April 9, 2018 Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon recently promised sweeping changes in government’s HR practices. That initiative can’t start soon enough. But it would be a serious mistake to limit the changes to the policies and practices “owned” by the Office of Personnel Management. If the title wasn’t already taken,...

With Pay for Performance, Money Is Not the Problem

March 28, 2018 Pay for performance is not a compensation problem; it’s a performance management problem. The focus in government is on the money but the acceptance of the policy depends on ratings and metrics that are perceived as fair. Anecdotal evidence suggests strongly that performance ratings across government have little credibility. When...

With Pay for Performance, Money Is Not the Problem

March 27, 2018 Pay for performance is not a compensation problem; it’s a performance management problem. The focus in government is on the money but the acceptance of the policy depends on ratings and metrics that are perceived as fair. Anecdotal evidence suggests strongly that performance ratings across government have little credibility. When...

Government Needs to Rethink Employee Compensation Plans

March 20, 2018 The Office of Management and Budget is committed to improving government’s performance. But while reorganizing and eliminating unnecessary jobs could reduce costs, that does not necessarily lead to better results. Reorganizations actually tend to disrupt working relationships so, for a time at least, performance often declines. Real gains come from...

Managing Government as a Talent Driven Organization

March 13, 2018 Two books published this month directly relate to the goal of improving performance. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey co-authored with Ori Brafman, Radical Inclusion: What the Post-9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About Leadership. Three prominent consultants drafted the second, Talent Wins: The New Playbook...

Finally, Managing People Seems to be a Priority

March 6, 2018 The Office of Management and Budget recently posted a job opening: “Serve as a Performance Manager, GS-0301, 14/15 leading interagency efforts to improve program performance, management, and efficiency.” The job description suggests the incumbent will be expected to provide leadership on all aspects of agency performance with a focus on...