What every federal manager should know for 2010

Tuesday - 6/15/2010, 3:10pm EDT

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By Dorothy Ramienski
Internet Editor
Federal News Radio

Top names in managing the people-side of government are meeting today to talk about ways to get the most (and best) out of federal workers.

The Executive Update 2010 Conference is sponsored by the Senior Executive Association's Professional Development League in affiliation with Deloitte Consulting Human Capital Practice.

Federal News Radio told you about the conference on Wednesday morning's Federal Drive.

Senior Correspondent Mike Causey talked with SEA president Carol Bonosaro, who says her organization is gearing up to create new best practices with President Obama's Labor-Management Forums.

"The President's Management Council has three working groups looking at various aspects of the SES, including some of the usual suspects -- how to make more meaningful distinctions in performance ratings and performance awards, looking at the hiring process and bringing folks in from outside government. So, they're dealing with a number of issues. It's going to be interesting to see where they think about going."

Bonosaro says there are a lot of detractors when it comes to the SES. Federal News Radio told you about their recent survey, which showed that pay is not the sole attractor when it comes to becoming a member of the SES, but other circumstances, such as long hours, often overrule salary.

"[We have] got to do a few things to make it more appealing. One of them that we're pushing for is to make these performance awards count towards the high-3. We do have to do something about pay, because, while people don't come into the government because of the pay, we do know that as these 15s look at the SES and know they're going to lose locality pay, that all pay adjustments are totally discretionary, all based on performance. We've got to do something to say, 'Look, at least if you are rated fully successful, you're doing a good job. You're going to get an annual market-based pay adjustment'. So, it's not the big driver, but some of these things have to be in place if we're going to continue to attract the best and the brightest."

Another factor has to do with the fact that there are a variety of pay systems that exist now, which means a GS-15 could potentially earn as much as a senior executive, which eliminates some incentive for making the move.

"There's got to be some incentive in there somewhere. As I say, pay isn't the big incentive, but it can't be a disincentive, which it certainly seems to be right now," she concluded.

Also on the show: Patricia Niehaus, national president of the Federal Managers Association, who chatted with Causey about the possibility of federal pay freezes and more.