Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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The biggest threat to federal job security: death

Job security is one of the known benefits of federal employment. But, are federal jobs too secure?

A recent analysis by USA Today appears to answer that question with a resounding ‘yes.’

By researching the Office of Personnel Management’s database, the newspaper found that the job security rate for all federal workers was 99.43 percent last year and nearly 100 percent for those on the job more than a few years.

As a result, USA Today determined that some federal employees are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired.

“Death – rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs – is the primary threat to job security at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and a dozen other federal operations,” reporter Dennis Cauchon wrote in the article.

To critics of the federal workforce, this information only adds more fuel to the fire. For the last several months, feds have been targeted as lazy and overpaid.

But, let’s put aside those negative comments for a moment and think about what this analysis reveals about federal management. Clearly, poor performers aren’t being held accountable and they have the job security to prove it.

Government leaders, including OPM Director John Berry, continue to call for managers to set clear expectations for their employees and regularly assess their performance.

But, what will it really take for federal managers to get rid of team members who aren’t pulling their own weight? And what about managers who aren’t executing the agency’s mission and providing leadership? Who holds them accountable?

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jul 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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