The GovLeaders Group is for those who are interested in growing as leaders and/or growing the next generation of leaders for the public service.
May 20, 2009 at 1:11 pm #72408
Article in Washington Post which points out the EXTREME importance of good leaders…
Money’s Nice, but a Good Boss Is Better
In Survey of Federal Workplaces, Strong Managers Rank High
By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
When it comes to sizing up the quality of their workplaces, federal workers value strong leadership and straight answers from their bosses more than even pay and benefits, according to a new comprehensive study of the federal workforce.
The study, scheduled for release today, places the Nuclear Regulatory Commission atop the list of best places to work in the federal government. Other top performers among large federal agencies include the Government Accountability Office, NASA, the intelligence community and the State Department.
At the NRC, officials said the top ranking was earned because senior management takes the time to listen to the staff. “They are the real human resources managers,” said Jim McDermott, director of human resources for the commission. “I lead a lazy life.” Agencies that received the lowest ratings included the Transportation Department, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Homeland Security Department and the Education Department.
What separates these agencies in the minds of their employees is often the senior leadership, how well or poorly it shares information with subordinates, and the training and opportunities it provides workers, according to the study of federal survey results by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group devoted to improving public service.
“The challenge is for government managers to do a better job of communicating,” said John Palguta, vice president for policy for the group. “Communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s like real estate.”
Despite a general rise in federal workers’ job satisfaction over the past two years, the survey of 212,000 workers last summer found that the government consistently lagged behind the private sector in several important measures of worker contentment — most significantly, superiors’ leadership skills, openness and willingness to help their employees advance their careers.
Fewer than half of federal workers, 48 percent, are satisfied with the information they receive from superiors about what is happening in their organizations, a number that trails the private sector by 18 percentage points. Overall, 66 percent of federal workers think their immediate supervisors are doing a good job, eight points less than in the private sector.
“The biggest challenge, clearly, is that the federal workforce has a poor perception of its management and leadership,” said Max Stier, president and chief executive of the partnership, which today will release its 2009 rankings of “The Best Places to Work” in the federal government.
The partnership’s study is based on the Office of Personnel Management’s biennial federal human capital survey, conducted in August and September and released in January. About 212,000 employees at 260 departments, agencies and offices were surveyed. The study to be released today amounts to a final report on the state of the federal workforce under the Bush administration, as well as a benchmark to measure what progress can be made by President Obama, who has vowed to reinvigorate the federal government.
“What we have in essence is a challenge to the Obama administration,” Stier said. “The new team is in, and they need to better the numbers that have been set. It sets the bar for the new administration. They are now responsible if we see things moving in a positive fashion or getting worse.”
Scores on the partnership’s 100-point index among 30 large federal agencies ranged from NRC’s high mark of 80.7 to the Transportation Department’s low of 52.2. They are based on employee responses to questions about whether they are satisfied with their jobs and with their organizations, and whether they would recommend their organizations as good places to work.
Government-wide, agency ratings have increased 2.4 percent from 2007 and 4.6 percent from 2003, a consistent, though not dramatic, improvement.
Several factors may account for the recent higher scores, according to Palguta: the economic downturn, which prompts many employees to better value the jobs they hold; the growing role of the federal government, which these days is more often seen as part of the solution rather than part of the problem; and the expectation of change that would be brought by a new administration.
Even as federal employees attach increased importance to finding a healthy balance between work and home life, however, they report less support from supervisors in achieving that balance. The latest Office of Personnel Management survey found that 75 percent of federal employees think their supervisors support their need to balance work and other life issues, compared with 78 percent in 2006 and 79 percent in 2004.
Of 260 federal organizations that were also in the partnership’s 2007 index, many experienced improvement, particularly large agencies — significant improvement was seen in 14 of 29 organizations. Progress was recorded even among agencies pulling up the rear of the rankings. The three lowest-ranked agencies in 2007 — the departments of Education and Homeland Security and the Small Business Administration — all recorded significant gains in their scores but remain mired in the bottom five of the rankings.
The Small Business Administration, ranked last at 30th among large agencies in 2007, improved its score by 30 percent but still ranks 26th. Of some consolation, the organization received the partnership’s “most improved” award.
“We’re extremely pleased, but we think there’s more work to do,” said Administrator Karen G. Mills.
May 20, 2009 at 1:23 pm #72414
Follow up including links to actual study and the Press Release
May 20, 2009
Contact: Sarah Howe
PARTNERSHIP FOR PUBLIC SERVICE RELEASES 2009 BEST PLACES TO WORK IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RANKINGS
Washington, D.C. – The 2009 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings released today evaluate employee satisfaction across government in 278 federal agencies and subcomponents. Overall, employee satisfaction is up 2.4 percent, from 61.8 to 63.3, with 71 percent of agencies improving their Best Places to Work index score since the last rankings in 2007.
The Best Places to Work rankings, compiled by the Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation, are based on a survey conducted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that represents the views of 212,000 federal employees. Agencies are ranked in three categories: large (2,000 or more employees), small or subcomponent. They are also ranked in ten workplace categories, including leadership, work/life balance, and pay and benefits.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “The Best Places to Work rankings are an important tool for federal managers who understand that employee satisfaction drives agency performance. They provide both transparency and accountability – and they are an important benchmark for this administration.”
“The whole idea of employee engagement is to make the workplace more productive,” Robert Tobias, director of American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation, added. “These rankings provide an incentive for agencies to focus on their employees, they give a roadmap for improvement, and they help Congress fulfill their oversight responsibilities.”
Top honors for large agencies go to:
1) Nuclear Regulatory Commission
2) Government Accountability Office
3) National Aeronautics and Space Administration
4) Intelligence Community
5) Department of State
6) Environmental Protection Agency
7) Department of Justice
8) General Services Administration
9) Social Security Administration
10) Department of Commerce
Top honors for small agencies go to:
1) Surface Transportation Board
2) Overseas Private Investment Corporation
3) Congressional Budget Office (tie)
3) Office of Management and Budget (tie)
5) National Science Foundation
The Partnership for Public Service and American University honored the top ten large, five small and three most improved agencies today in Washington, D.C.
The most improved large federal agency is the Small Business Administration, increasing its score by 30.1 percent and moving up in the rankings from 30 in 2007 to 26. The Office of Personnel Management also has a significant score increase of 14.3 percent, moving up from a 2007 ranking of 25 to 20 in the large agency rankings. The Federal Maritime Commission was the biggest mover among small agencies, with a 28 percent increase, moving from 23 in 2007 to 6 in the new rankings.
The complete Best Places to Work rankings of all 278 agencies and subcomponents can be accessed at bestplacestowork.org. Visitors to the site can also access trend analysis, demographic data and all ten workplace categories, as well as generate custom reports and conduct side-by-side comparisons for up to three agencies.
The Best Places rankings are compiled from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Human Capital Survey. The Best Places rankings were first produced in 2003, and again in 2005 and 2007.
The Partnership for Public Service is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. To learn more, visit ourpublicservice.org.
May 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm #72412
This is the same conclusion that Fortune Magazine has continually reached in their “best places” survey–leaders shape the culture as no one else does to make it either a great place to work or not. These organizations also are the most effective and most profitable which is another conclusion that is implied in the Federal Workplace Survey–they get better results not just have happier employees. People are satisfied when they accomplish something purposeful and important and learn and grow as they do it. The challenge is to grow good leaders like those at NRC, NASA, State, etc. If you agree with the premise that leaders grow leaders, then you have either a “leader centered culture” as John Kotter has identified (among others) or a culture that breeds simply managers who cannot lead well in times of great change. It takes a commitment to make those changes and the patience of five years or so to get there. What agencies right now are committed to growing leaders who will serve the people and the mission and not simply their own careers? What agencies are producing Level V leaders–humble and focused on the purpose of their organization? If we can find those, learn from them, and spread the virus, then we’ll have something that will compare favorably to the private sector which is not all roses either. Our great competitive advantage right now is the mission of public service in recruiting and motivating people to some of the greatest challenges in America’s history–this is worth a lifetime commitment.
May 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm #72410
It would be interesting to see how these rankings correlate with those agencies with pay for performance.
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