Doesn’t it seem odd that when industry, Wall Street, and academia consider and explore human capital strategy and best practices, United States government workforce practices are usually not cited as a standard to emulate? It’s even more peculiar when you consider that our federal government is the world’s largest workforce with three million individuals on the payroll, providing services and products on a scale parallel to some of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the world.
The results of the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) point to several opportunities and challenges in the government workforce. For example:
- Only 62 percent of federal workforce respondents indicated they would recommend their organization as a good place to work—down from 69 percent in 2011.
- Just 38 percent of respondents believe survey results will be used to make the agency a better place to work. This trend has steadily dropped from 45 to 38 percent over the past four survey cycles (2011-2014).
- A mere 38 percent of the respondents believe that senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce.
- From an information sharing and recognition perspective, only 46 percent of the respondents are satisfied with information provided by management and just 45 percent are satisfied with the recognition that is received for doing a good job.
- Overall, only 50 percent of the respondents have a high level of respect for their senior leaders.
Although these trends are not necessarily unique from a human capital strategy perspective, it makes you wonder what it will take to help the world’s largest workforce begin to move the needle on human capital management. The good news is that an increase in taxes is not necessary. Instead, the manner in which strategy is designed and deployed needs to be developed across agencies in order to:
- effectively support teams of employees from the front lines —give them a voice;
- reduce overlap and leverage buying power; and
- utilize experts who can accelerate the development of practice and policy by drawing from practical and proven experience.
My last post argued that there is not a difference between private and public sector leadership capabilities and corresponding organization outcomes. In the context of developing and leading the world’s largest workforce, there is much to be gained by an open and thoughtful exchange between private and public sector human capital strategy executives. In my next post, I’ll begin to explore those strategies.