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Poll Results – On the Fence Regarding Public Service Academy

I closed the poll for the latest survey question: “What’s Your Opinion of the U.S. Public Service Academy”

The results look like this:
13.0% Best Idea Ever
39.1% Better Than Most Ideas
21.7% Not Really Necessary
26.1% Big Waste of Money

It’s a pretty interesting breakdown. Basically it’s a 50/50 split on whether people think it is a good idea.

My personal take – it’s better than most ideas. I think it’s easy to maintain the status quo and easy to criticize new ideas. But anyone being innovative and offering new ideas is good in my book. Many criticize USPSA as they think scholarships are a more cost-effective way of getting people to public service – here’s USPSA founder Chris Asch’s response. Personally, I’m more of a fan of a “Teach for America”-type program for those coming out of school. But I still think USPSA is thought-provoking and would be a great benefit to our country.

What’s interesting is sometimes the criticism for new programs aimed to help government employees are criticized the most internally. A recent Fedsmith poll found that most members did not want Congress to pass a bill offering paid parental leave. The same criticisms are often given to programs like U.S. Public Service Academy and new recruiting initiatives like HHS Emerging Leaders, GAO PDP, and PMF.

Many current government employees argue that they found their way to government service without special hiring and recruiting programs and feel left behind. These new programs often can focus on getting in the “best and brightest” which leads those already in the government to ask “what about me?” They raised kids under the old parental leave system and may believe it is unncessary. They got hired and promotions under the previous system that worked fine to them – why are these new kids getting promoted to GS-13 in less than five years in DC.

No easy answer here. My only answer is that “change is constant.” The government needs to constantly re-invent itself to remain an employee of choice so we have the right people to accomplish our mission. As we continue to outsource more of the government, I think we will need even more really competent people to provide requirements, management, and oversight.

The top companies that are the government’s competitors (the Lockheed/Deloitte/IBM/etc not the Wal-Marts) are all offering these benefits – parental leave, student loan programs, leadership development programs out of college, and domestic partner benefits (but I don’t want to start that conversation). As the book is called “Recruit or Die” and the war for talent continues (even with the economy shift)….the government needs to step up its game even if that means offering better incentives/programs than offered to employees ten years ago.

And while we working on developing new leaders we also need to focus on retaining and training those already in government. I’m a big proponent of programs like Council for Excellence Fellows Program as well as other mid-level and senior-level leadership programs. I also like new technologies like Intellipedia and TSA Idea Factory that let anyone contribute so expertise emerges from various pockets (could be a newbie or someone with 30-years experience). Finally, I’d like to make it easier to transfer within the government sector. I see too many mid-level feds quit government service for consulting when all they really want is a more interesting job or better boss. But they can get a new job with a government consultant in weeks while navigating USAJOBS can take months/years.

On to the next poll question – What topics would you like to see discussed at GovLoop? I put a few in the poll but feel free to comment in the forum post or comment on this thread. I’m interesting in finding out what topics people want to discuss on GovLoop. As with any online community, the group will dictate and decide which way to take the conversation. However, I’d like to help out and provide more content if people are specifically interesting in a subject area.

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