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Can agencies reward workers without money?

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A recent FCW article detailing the findings and recommendations of a report on performance-based advancement in the federal government struck a nerve among several commenters. One wrote that, The suggestions regarding upper management pats on the back are laughable. Another asked, As my generation retires, how are we going to recruit good people to do the public's work when the pay is lacking and the working conditions poor?

Adam Mazmanian responds: The intent of the report from the Partnership for Public Service was to make suggestions for managers that are possible under current budgetary constraints."There are lots of things that can be done that do not require money," Max Stier, CEO of the Partnership, told me in an interview. While "pats on the back" may seem facile, as the commenter suggests, there is some logic to asking managers to get to know their employees better, and tailoring non-monetary awards and career path advice to fit the needs and expectations of individual employees.

Stier is clearly sympathetic to workers who, in addition to furloughs and pay freezes, are pessimistic that their work will be recognized with promotion and rewards. He said he was "horrified" by the low levels of morale indicated by his report, and he blasted the Obama administration for their decision not to pay out bonuses under the Presidential Rank Awards, which go to members of the Senior Executive Service. "It was a massive mistake,"Stier said, and one driven by "political optics." More generally, Stier advocates bringing federal pay in line with private sector pay as part of a larger revamp of the civil service compensation system.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jun 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM


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