Senate bill to require federal manager training

Tuesday - 4/12/2011, 5:29pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

A bill introduced Tuesday in the Senate would require training for federal managers.

The Federal Supervisor Training Act requires each agency head to set up a training program for supervisors. Supervisors must complete the training program within one year of appointment and then also every three years.

"Properly trained supervisors are critical to the federal government's ability to efficiently and effectively provide essential services to the American people." said Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), who sponsored the bill, in a statement. "By investing in supervisory training now, we will save money later."

According to a statement from Akaka's office, the training would address:

  • Developing and discussing goals and objectives with employees.
  • Mentoring and motivating employees.
  • Fostering a fair work environment.
  • Employee collective bargaining rights and workplace discrimination law.
  • Managing employees with unacceptable performance.
  • Addressing reports of harassment or a hostile work environment.

The bill would also set up mentoring programs at agencies, linking experienced supervisors to new supervisors.

Budget constraints have put increased pressures on federal managers who must implement a "do more with less" philosophy.

"Managerial prowess is not inherent, and independent research has concluded that arming federal managers and supervisors with the skills needed to promote employee accountability, engagement and teamwork leads to improved agency performance," said Patricia Niehaus, president of the Federal Managers Association, in a statement. "If Congress and the administration are intent on overseeing a workforce that provides maximum return on the dollar, it is critical that supervisors develop leadership proficiencies through thorough, timely and targeted supervisory training."

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