Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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OPM's John Berry on setting feds up for success

How do federal managers set their employees up for success?

Overall, a manager must set clear expectations for each employee, give them the tools and training to meet those expectations, honor employees’ achievements and hold poor performers accountable, according to John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management.

In remarks prepared for delivery at the Excellence in Government conference held July 11, Berry walked through Gallup’s six “most powerful” questions. He said that when managers and employees answer "yes" to the questions, they are on the road to success.

Here are the questions Berry referenced:

  • Do I know what's expected of me at work?
  • Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  • At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  • Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
  • Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

Berry said those six points cover the center of the “career arc,” while the end of the arc is capturing an employee’s specialized knowledge.

He also posed two interesting questions regarding the transfer of knowledge:

What if the federal government made partial retirement a viable option?

What if the government made it possible to work part time without hurting employees' retirement so they can train newcomers?

What do you think about Berry’s remarks? Do you think Gallup’s six questions touch on all the important areas? What about Berry’s points on knowledge transfer – is partial retirement or part-time work for soon-to-be retirees worth considering?

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jul 11, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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