Buzz Factor

The most-read stories on FCW.com 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
Summary
: 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.

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