The In-Service Zone

Mandated training is often worn and ineffective. A prescriptive method can boost effectiveness, help with knowledge transfer, and standardize the approach without being boring.

The IRS: Managing Workload and Keeping Engagement High

John Koskinen, the 48th commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has managed unprecedented pressure while keeping an agency of 85,000 employees with a budget of approximately $10.9 billion intact.

The Benefit Is Mutuals: New Models of Public Service Delivery

Public managers around the world are exploring more personalized, proactive, entrepreneurial, and productive models of service delivery. They should study developments in the United Kingdom with interest. As governments around the world are searching for ways to square the circle of fiscal austerity, rising citizen demands, and the need to stimulate wider economic vitality, old organizational forms may offer new hope. In the United Kingdom, mutuals are enjoying a renaissance as the government opens up the provision of services to public servants. Mutuals are organizations owned by their employees or members and loosely encompass many forms, such as cooperatives and social enterprises.

Testing Pay-for-Success Bonds

Though questions remain, the emerging pay-for-success bond model shows real promise at driving better outcomes and spurring more rapid innovation. Pay-for-success bonds are a promising new financing model designed to accelerate social innovation and improve government performance. The United Kingdom is using this approach in an initia…

Teleworking Thrives at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Telework programs at the Alexandria, Virginia, agency improved employee productivity and employee satisfaction while maintaining high levels of customer service and employee performance. When the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was signed into law on December 9, 2010, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) already had established an award-winning telework program for its employees. The agency has 16 percent (62) of its telework attorneys who reside more than 50 miles from Alexandria, Virginia, in 27 states. Eleven percent (751) of its telework patent examiners reside in 42 states.

Successfully Managing Federal Rightsizing Initiatives

Federal managers can anticipate mission changes, organizational restructuring, and austere budgets in fiscal year 2013 and beyond. The challenge will be to incorporate these into headquarters-mandated mission changes while creating and maintaining high-performing subordinate teams. The most successful managers will understand headquarters’ reality and be prepared to participate in decision making. They must provide well-reasoned alternatives aligned to established metrics and program assessment criteria.

Statesmanship Takes Leadership and Governance to the Next Level

One can assume that readers of this publication are probably not only interested in leadership development, but are, quite likely, students of leadership theory and practice as well. Most of us have become familiar with the customary, sometimes tedious, repackaging of the same list of good leadership characteristics. But when was the last time your personal standard of leadership was really challenged?

Speaking Out in the Workplace

Public sector employees do not check the constitutional right of free speech at the door when they enter public service. According to the Supreme Court, a public employer cannot infringe on constitutionally protected rights as a condition of employment. In the course of their employment, employees who speak out on waste, fraud, abuse, or illegal activity and then face retaliation as a result are protected from retaliation by 42 U.S.C. 1983. Signed into law in 1871 to combat the adverse treatment of African Americans following the Civil War, Section 1983 creates a private cause of action for those who are deprived of their constitutional rights under the color of state law. Over the years Section 1983 has been used as a tool to protect public sector employees who are deprived of a constitutional right, such as free speech, by their employers.

Social Media Matures into Viable, Valuable Communications Tool

Recent trends in the use of social media and mobile technology have given governments fresh opportunities to engage and educate a diverse array of citizens. Sixty-nine percent of adults in the United States were using social networks as of August 2012, according to the Pew Internet and American Life. Two-thirds of them report using Facebook, 20 percent are on LinkedIn, and 16 percent are on Twitter. Figure 1 on the next page reveals that social networking use has grown among…

Shifting Educational Accountability From Compliance to Outcomes

The federal Race to the Top (RTT) program offered states millions of dollars to implement educational reforms that reflected federal priorities. Such priorities include building databases to store student performance data and implementing teacher evaluations linked to student performance on standardized tests. School administrators in 46 states are investing significant resources to overhaul their evaluation systems to increase the number of classroom observations and to put more emphasis on standardized test scores.

Revitalizing a Post-Conflict Government in Liberia

Several years of conflict in Liberia destroyed the civil service and ruined a merit-based system. The conflict allowed leaders to ignore standards and procedures and recruit unqualified individuals based on the patronage and largesse of various armed groups that exacerbated the civil conflict. This situation created an inefficient public service, adversely affecting performance and contributing to poor service delivery. Simply put, the civil service lacked the professional clout and…

Revitalize the Federal Government by Strengthening Four Critical Areas

The federal workforce faces a number of critical challenges that must be addressed to fulfill the increasingly complex demands placed upon federal agencies. For example, the looming retirement bubble will require the replacement of a significant portion of the federal workforce, and the technical skills required in today’s workplace demand advanced employee training efforts.