January 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm #181369
Two recent blog posts got me thinking about the need for flatter government.
The first post was shared here on GovLoop by HR Specialist Terry Hill:
The other one is written by former federal CHCO Jeff Neal on his ChiefHRO blog:
Both point to a general trend with organizations that are either experiencing or avoiding bloat.
For Zappos, the company is trying to prevent the problem of stagnation or lack of agility that can occur when ideas and projects need to run up a leadership chain.
For government, the General Schedule has probably done just that – made it easy for people to settle into comfortable careers and engage in relatively risk adverse behavior.
Changing both leadership and pay structures, moving toward a more agile, project-oriented environment with built-in incentive structures, could reverse this trend and better reward innovation and efficiency.
What do you think?
Should the federal government eliminate the General Schedule?
January 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm #181385
Dr. Phuong Le Callaway, PhDParticipant
I don’t think we should make changes to the existing General Schedule but the Government can study other pay structures and see if there are other pay scale structures that would be helpful in promoting a high performance work force with a compatible pay structure with similar occupations in the private sectors. Transforming an established Federal government pay structure can create chaos and demotivate high performing employees and may not be attractive in recruiting the best and the brightest candidates to serve the public. Federal employees are being expected and may be required to do more and more for less and less; therefore, if the Federal government cannot create a pay structure and incentives that compensate these excellent and high performance public servants a little bit better, changing a pay structure that will pay them less is a bad idea. It will impact employee satisfaction, job satisfaction and employee engagement. Poor performers must be dealt with, bad and inffective managers must be dealt with.
I do think this is the right time to have a flatter organization as the Federal government is shifting to telework operating structure from the traditional operating structure in order to reduce government operating costs. What the Federal government needs to do right now is to review organizational structure, performance culture to move to high performance organizational and performance culture, and to review supervisory and employee reporting ratios. Transforming organizational structure, management and leadership, operating standards, such as telework, performance culture, and supervisory-employees ratios can significantly position the Federal government to the 21st century and reduce Federal operating costs. Taxpayers expect the Federal government to perform efficiently with less cost and we only can achieve these by restructuring and reorganizing with effective managerial and leadership and high performance workforce in mind!
January 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm #181383
Was this post aimed at initiating discussion, or increasing click-throughs and funneling traffic to sponsors?
January 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm #181381
Some Random Thoughts!
One needs to remember why the General Schedule system, and most other government employee systems at what ever level… To keep political influence at a level that ONLY affects the what of an organization and NOT the how of an organization.
Agree with with Phuong Le Callaway that Poor Performers, at whatever level, need to be properly identified and be dealt with….
Have been involved in at least 3 different programs that attempted to improve the productivity of different organizations. All of them failed to various degrees because there was less than ideal transparency. People were promoted, demoted, or stayed in the same pay grade apparently not because of their productivity or lack thereof, but because of a relationship that existed between 2 people.
Another issue that I saw in over 40 years of service was, very rarely, managers/supervisors were encouraged to treat their staff as individual members of the team with different needs and or motivational factors. Perhaps because of continuous drive to “flatten” the organization (Increase the workload of supervisors/managers).
January 20, 2014 at 8:34 pm #181379
Hey Sean – No ulterior motives! 🙂 Terry is a government employee (internal link to his GovLoop blog) and I’d had a conversation with former CHCO Jeff Neal that sparked this conversation (the link above is to his personal blog).
January 20, 2014 at 8:36 pm #181377
Thanks for your thoughts, Phuong. Have you seen any bright spots in government when it comes to changes in compensation or organizational structure?
January 21, 2014 at 10:54 pm #181375
Hi Andrew, sorry for the snap judgment! I wouldn’t want to be publicly disrespected like that, so I appreciate your pleasant correction.
January 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm #181373
In my little corner of the fed world, the GS and WG pay structure is tied to the mission and what it needs to accomplish. In addition to the number that follows your GS or WG number is a “series”. A series that is pretty much “locked and loaded” as to what you job function is all about. “800” engineering….. “303” administrative…In the WG world the series haven’t changed in decades…(3800..5400…5800) With continual advance of technology, our WG counterparts are utilizing technology, hand held electronic work orders, hand held devices out in the field (yet to be blessed by DoN) A hand held device to communicate with a gov vehicle, mobile equipment or the A/C in your building (sadly, you DC’ers have “contractors” doing that). Planes, ships, helicopters and such in production are still being refitted, repaired the same way. As the number in the GS, WG goes higher, the series remains the same, if you choose that career path. You basically get a few additional sentences latched on to your series. All of which are out of the control of local supervisors, managers and yes HRO. These classifications are written (not updated) from on high leaving organizations to “use what is given us”. Budget is also a consideration. Organizations have a budget to work with it. If a person/s/ in your organization are deemed deserving of a promotion, a move up to vacant seat once occupied by a boomer who has exited in the continuing tsunami is wonderful. However, if your organization is told (as we are outside the beltway), “well, sorry we aren’t replacing the WS 10 or the GS 9 in your organization, you will have to dole out the work to someone else in the organization who is more than likely a lower graded employee. If you are WG you can protest to the union. If you are a GS, you suck it up and add it to your resume if you have a chance to hit the door. (slim chance) We often hear: “No, we don’t know when or even if the vacant billets (we have 3) will be announced. Do more with less.” It matters not if your organizational structure requires that certain positions be maintained. And again, it goes back to your mission. Around and around we go. The GS system for what it’s worth is all we have. Monkeying around with it now will take a decade to undo…..(i.e. NSPS, a failure from the start). High performing employees are strapped with vacant seat work load. Low performing employees are retiring in place and basically, don’t really care.
Incentives, awards, additional training are all but gone, (thanks DoJ and GSA). The bloat, as I see it, is at the top of the agency. Not at the bottom. Until this changes, things will remain the same. Telework is not an option and never will be for the federal semi and industrial production workforce. I don’t think a tail end of a AV8 will fit in my backyard. (lol) Sure we could get contractors to do it, and pay and pay and pay and lessen security controls…. something DoD doesn’t not want to play around with. I do have a good manager who sees the “individual” and works to challenge our best qualities while enhancing the ones yet to learn via our co workers who excel in that quality.
January 29, 2014 at 2:43 am #181371
Dr. Phuong Le Callaway, PhDParticipant
I think In general, everyone will resist to change. I think compensation is a touchy issue but realignment of organizational units might receive some support. I do think organizational restructuring and realignment can help identify where the cut can be to reduce operating costs, make the organization flatter to facilitate faster and better business decisions, however, changing the GS schedule should be avoided!
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