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.
Results 11-20 of 143

Metrics Are for Playmakers

September 19, 2018 The General Accountability Office reconfirmed a pervasive management problem in its new report in the Managing for Results series. The title defines the problem: “Governmentwide Actions Needed to Improve Agencies' Use of Performance Information in Decision Making.” This is not a new theme for GAO but apparently their past recommendations...

Who is Accountable for Agency Performance?

September 4, 2018 The steps to improve performance are best seen as a puzzle; no single action is likely to have much impact. The pieces are well known—research has highlighted what’s needed—but government has trouble putting them together. The problem affects organizations in every sector but it’s far more complex in government. In...

It’s Time to Invest in Managers

August 20, 2018 The plans to reform government “to be more efficient, effective and accountable” ride largely on the commitment of federal employees and civil service reform. Yes, strategies and metrics are important; technology is important. However, research by Gallup and others shows that employee performance—both good and bad—depends more on the effectiveness...

Smart Use of Incentives Would Support Government Reform

August 9, 2018 Incentives are omnipresent in our society. Educators use them to promote learning, banks use them to promote online bill-paying, employers use them to promote wellness (and lower health insurance costs). The list is long. Rewarding good performance—or at least the kind of performance you’re trying to encourage—is deeply entrenched in...

On Gaining Acceptance for Performance Pay in Government

August 1, 2018 In stating its concern with the proposed 1.9 percent salary increase, the Office of Management and Budget recently argued that “Across-the-board pay increases have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities, or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals.” Equally important, general increases do not contribute to...

The Pay Gap Analysis is a House of Cards

July 11, 2018 What are you going to believe, the statistics or your lying eyes? That 32 percent pay gap between what federal employees make versus their private sector counterparts outlined in the latest Federal Salary Council report is based on a staggeringly complex methodology that cannot be validated. One of the two...

It’s Premature to Break Up OPM

June 26, 2018 The proposal to break up the Office of Personnel Management is getting the proverbial cart before the horse. It makes no sense to initiate a major reorganization before deciding why that’s necessary or before defining what the new organization is expected to achieve. A key step would be to develop...

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...