Shows & Panels
Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- American Readiness: Renewable Power and Efficiency Technologies
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Delivering the Digital Government Mission
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal News Radio's National Cyber Security Awareness Month Special Panel Discussion
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- Government Perspectives on Mobility and the Cloud
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- The New Generation of Database
- Reimagining the Next Generation of Government
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
OPM survey to help agencies make tough budget decisions
Friday - 6/8/2012, 5:14am EDT
As budget pressures increase and agencies must make tough decisions on programs to keep or to cut, employee morale and opinion may be the wild card in the effort.
So much so that the Office of Personnel Management changed its annual Employee Viewpoint Survey, said agency Director John Berry.
"If a manager asks his employee how things are going, obviously, the answer is probably, 'Great!'" Berry chuckled. "But the employee, given that opportunity to give an answer to an anonymous survey might give a completely different answer. And that's the answer we want. We want the honest answer."
Employee feedback provides managers important insight to determine which programs are essential, and which are not. To help provide agencies this extra input, OPM expanded its annual Employee Viewpoint Survey poll to all federal workers.
In the past, the agency limited the questionnaire to about a third of employees.
John Berry, director, Office of Personnel Management
The Office of Management and Budget's fiscal 2014 budget guidance detailed specific areas to reduce, including technology, travel and non-essential items.
"We have to be honest with the American people," Berry told Federal News Radio before his keynote speech at the Asian American Government Executives Network leadership conference in Arlington, Va. "We can't always do more with less. And sometimes the answer, when budgets continue to decline, is managers have to make tough calls."
In their efforts to prioritize programs for retention and elimination, agencies should protect those that support their core missions and maximize mission-related services to the public. Leaders should place anything that does not fall into those categories high on the list for elimination.
But even as agencies seek ways to cut spending, Berry warned against taking the axe to training for employees.
"We can't just throw people into very complicated situations that affect public health and safety without giving them the training to get the job done well," he said. "In fact, it's probably one of the most efficient expenditures you can make."
But not all training requires formal classroom instruction, which can be expensive. Managers can employ mentoring, recruiting seasoned employees to share skills, lessons learned and best practices with newer workers, or employees who hope to climb the ranks of government.
"It is a critical, critical way for us to keep that knowledge transfer going," Berry said during his keynote speech. "If you know someone is retiring, ask them" to consider adopting a new employee or potential successor to teach.
"Our senior folks didn't know how to address this kind of crisis," he said. "Our young folks stepped up. And because we had that diversity on our team, [they] said, 'Wait a minute, we'll do this.' And they organized … a little war room — [a] 24 hour a day operation. Every Facebook comment got a response. And then they took it from an email response to a phone call, and the phone call until the problem was solved."
Ultimately, it was just what OPM needed to put the website on track and satisfy users.
"We couldn't have done it if we didn't have the diversity on the team," Berry said. "Of young and old, of people who had different skill sets and different approaches who could work together to get us through a crisis."
In his final example of how mentoring benefits both parties, Berry explained what he gets out of it.
"I'm mentoring a couple of people now, and I get as much out of it as they do. It's amazing to me, this generation. The speed and agility of their thumbs is unmatched," he joked, referring to smart phones. "As you get older, obviously the things get smaller. … These kids can do it … blindfolded under the table. They don't even have to look."