Buzz Factor

The most-read stories on in the past two weeks

1. After the pay freeze: 5 ways to keep performance up
Summary: Experts offer practical tips for motivating employees when they know they won't be getting pay raises for at least two years.
Outlook: Managers could face more tough problems as time goes on and workloads wear down employees who feel unrewarded.

2. Bill would cut federal workforce by 10 percent
: One of several pieces of legislation that target feds would require a 10 percent reduction in numbers over 10 years.
Outlook: If this legislation or something similar passes, employees who stay in the government could end up shouldering more work as their colleagues leave and their positions go unfilled.

3. Feds could face unpaid leave in 2010
Summary: A bill would require federal employees to take 10 unpaid days off in fiscal 2012 as one of many attempts to cut costs.
Outlook: If this legislation passes, employees will need to decide whether to turn off the BlackBerry on furlough days.

4. Workforce cuts might be inevitable
Summary: Organizations react to news of possible workforce cuts by saying some downsizing might be unavoidable, but it should be done carefully.
Outlook: The legislation that would require the shrinking of workforce numbers has a long way to go, but don’t write it off yet.

5. Unions blast furlough proposal
Summary: Advocates for federal employees take issue with a bill that would require feds to take unpaid leave.
Outlook: The battle lines are drawn on workforce issues, but the battles are likely to go on for a long time.

6. Federal agencies ranked from feeble to gifted in digital competence
Summary: NASA is gifted and Interior is feeble in terms of digital media, according to a study from think tank L2.
Outlook: L2 ranked 100 public organizations — many but not all of which were federal agencies — on their digital outreach skills. Watch to see if the public shaming leads to better performance for those that were called feeble or challenged.

7. Agencies need retention strategies to keep employees on board, report shows
Summary: Given all the measures — proposed or already approved — that target the federal workforce, managers and agency leaders need to develop strategies for retaining employees.
Outlook: A pay freeze is a serious morale damper. If a proposed furlough and reduction to the workforce go into effect as well, a drastic change in attitude and productivity is inevitable.

8. Cutting federal payroll is top priority for new subcommittee chairman
Summary: If federal employees were wondering whether the new Congress has it in for them, they can wonder no more. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), chairman of a subcommittee that deals with federal workforce issues, says cutting the federal payroll is among his top priorities.
Outlook: Feds are in for a long slog, while deficit hawks who believe the federal workforce could stand some paring should be pleased.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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