Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life: What kind of employer?

At a time when government may be hiring thousands of people to help revive the economy, it may be useful to ask what kind of employer government is.  

The Merit Systems Protection Board asked that question in a recent report “The Federal Government: A Model Employer or a Work In Progress?” using data from 25 years of surveys.

One important finding is that 76 percent of federal employees surveyed in 2005 indicated that in they would recommend the government as a place to work, up from 49 percent in 1986. 

There have been many positive developments over the years. Satisfaction with pay has increased significantly. The percentage of employees who reported experiencing discrimination or retaliation has declined.

Still, the survey showed there are areas where improvement is needed. Employee opinions of the management skills of federal supervisors have changed little.  Federal employees consistently reported that their supervisors’ technical skills outpaced their managerial skills.

Employees expressed little confidence in the ability of federal supervisors to exercise personnel authorities fairly and effectively. Although differences in federal employee opinion across lines of ethnicity and race have diminished, minority employees remained more likely to report unfair treatment or discrimination.

Only a bare majority of employees (54 percent) believed that their work opinions count.  Many felt their expertise is frequently underutilized or underdeveloped. Employees reported that they lack the resources needed to succeed or said they did not receive the training needed to maintain or sharpen their essential skills.

If agencies are to make the most effective use of new employees, according to MSPB they must identify and develop essential supervisory competencies and give due weight to supervisory effectiveness in evaluation and recognition.

Posted by Judith Welles on Mar 03, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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