What’s Your Office Doing For Public Service Recognition Week? Anything?

Sunday marks the official start to the Congressionally recognized Public Service Recognition Week. The annual celebration of federal employees and the work they do.

This year feds face an austere budget climate, low employee morale and dissatisfied constituents. So PSRW is a nice break, to take a step back and say thank you.

Tom Fox is the Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. He told me on the DorobekINSIDER program that it’s nice to honor a group of people who so often get over looked.

“This year is a particularly opportune time to give gratitude to our public servants who are facing some grave difficulties with pay and hiring freezes and budget uncertainty,” said Fox.

The week offers various events including:

  • Sunday May 5th – Public Service 5k run, government employees, their families and friends, and area running enthusiasts are invited to participate and show their support and appreciation for our country’s dedicated public servants. Proceeds will benefit the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA).
  • Monday May 6th – Public Service Town Hall The Partnership for Public Service, Public Employees Roundtable and federal agency leaders for a town hall discussion about the vital public services agencies deliver, how they communicate that value to the American people, and ways to engage and motivate employees during times of tough budget cuts and pay freeze.
  • Tuesday May 7th – The Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) pay tribute to America’s dedicated federal workforce, highlighting those who have made significant contributions to our country. Honorees are chosen based on their commitment and innovation, as well as the impact of their work on addressing the needs of the nation. Thirty outstanding federal employees, whose important, behind-the-scenes work advances the health, safety and well-being of Americans, will be announced as finalists for these prestigious awards.
  • Wednesday May 8th – Show our younger generation what public service is all about. Federal employees are encouraged to bring their sons and daughters to work to highlight the jobs that federal employees perform for the American people. This is a day to honor current federal employees and show the positive side of their work, and to excite young people about public service as a future career option.

But some offices are better at celebrating PSRW than others, while some simply don’t have the resources. So how can those leaders recognize their employees year round?

  • Consider posting photos of successes or the citizens you serve in your office building. The Department of Education has photographs of kids in all sorts of academic settings. It is a nice reminder for the feds that work there who they are ultimately serving.
  • Share positive citizen comments. The head of the GPO shares letters with staff from satisfied customers. It is a simple reminder that people appreciate what you do.
  • Report the good outcomes from employee performance reviews.
  • Focus on the mission.
  • Senior leaders are a bit of a mystery to frontline employees. They come and they go every 18-24 months. So there is very limited time for them to interact so it is hard for them to demonstrate their authenticity as a leader, so taking the time to express that directly beings to pull back the curtain behind the wizard.

We want to know, is your agency celebrating PSRW with a yay or a yawn. Sound off!

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Terrence (Terry) Hill

I can’t speak for my agency, but I wanted to share the President’s thoughtful letter to Federal employees.

Karen "Kari" Uhlman

I’ve been with the County over thirty years and am unable to recall ever celebrating Public Service Recognition Week.

David B. Grinberg

Awesome post and show, Emily. Even though you’re not a gov employee, you and Chris D. deserve accolades for highlighting the critically important work of govies nationwide and around the world. Too often, public servants receive the infamous Rodney Dangerfield treatment from the very public we serve — ie. NO RESPECT, much less recognition…and that’s putting it mildly!
Thus it’s nice to see a positive spotlight on public servants for longer than just one week. Thanks for all you do. Ditto for Chris and the entire GovLoop Team.