Strategies for managers under CRs

Tuesday - 3/22/2011, 4:04pm EDT

John Buckner
Federal News Radio

Federal managers are taking on the workload and stress of yet another continuing resolution. However, there are some tips that could help keep the workplace moving and prepare managers for a potential long-term budget.

John Palguta, vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service, gave the Federal Drive five strategies federal managers can implement to deal with the CRs.

"The fact of the matter is, federal managers, in particular, have a responsibility to manage and plan even under difficult circumstances and certainly a continuing resolution classifies as a difficult circumstance," said Palguta.

Tip 1: Don't limit your planning to one budget scenario

"It's extra work for a manager to be sure, but I think you have to start doing something proactive and you have to start figuring out under each scenario what are the things we can do now while we wait for the final word," said Palguta.

Tip 2: Confront the facts

Palguta said as a manager you should identify the worst case scenario and go from there. He added, communicating the facts with employees so they can provide feedback is a good way to make it through a tough budget situation.

Tip 3: Connect with your stakeholders

"You have to let your stakeholders know what's going on and what you are doing in response so they are not surprised about delay or interruptions in the way business has been operating."

Tip 4: Be ready to communicate when a budget is finalized

"Let everyone - employees, stakeholders and others - know, 'ok, we've got the final word, finally. Here is what we are doing going forward and here is how things are going to be a little different,'" said Palguta.

Tip 5: Stay upbeat

Palguta said this can be the most difficult.

"[I]t doesn't help to go around bemoaning your fate," said Palguta. "Federal managers have to focus on getting the job done."

Palguta also talked about how the continuing resolutions will impact recruiting and retention. Palguta said both will be affected in the next few years but that the federal government will still be able to gain talented workers.

"I think as soon as some employees feel financially comfortable pulling the plug, that's what they are going to do and I think that is going to play out over the next couple of years," said Palguta.

John Buckner is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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