By Steve Kelman

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The Lectern: Google, Goldman and government

In a recent Business Week, there was a fascinating feature called “The Future of Work.” At the beginning of the feature were results on various questions regarding work that were asked in a nationwide poll. Tne fascinating question that caught my eye was, “Which of these places would you most like to work?” The four choices were “the place I’m working now,” Google, the government and Goldman Sachs. Half of the respondents said the place they were working for now. What was most interesting was how the rest divided up: 29 percent for Google, 6 percent for Goldman Sachs, and 15 percent for the government -– lower than Google, but higher than Goldman. Don’t you think that’s a really high -– gratifyingly high -- number for the government? I do. The poll doesn’t divide this up among demographic or educational groups, so we don’t know to whom it is that government service appeals. But this says to me that government has a large potential reservoir of employees, if we are smart enough in our hiring practices, and above all in offering attractive workplaces, to get them. By the way, there was another interesting poll question in the same feature that asked people whether they thought that in a decade employees would be more motivated by self-fulfillment or by fear. More than 80 percent said “self-fulfillment” – a number that inspired a column I just wrote for Federal Computer Week on how inspectors general, the media, and so-called watchdogs try to manage the government by fear. I have titled the column “The Washington Fear Industry,” although authors have no control over article titles, so I have no idea whether FCW will usethat title. But look for it -- it should be out shortly.

Posted by Steve Kelman on Sep 09, 2007 at 12:08 PM


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