GAO ranks near top of best-to-work-for-agency list

Thursday - 9/2/2010, 6:40pm EDT

Sallyanne Harper, COO/CFO, GAO

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By Olivia Branco
Internet Editor
Federal News Radio

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings came out this week. The GAO garnered the number two spot.

So how exactly did they get there? Sallyanne Harper, COO of the GAO caught up with Chris Dorobek on the Dorobek Insider to discuss the rankings as well as the end of her more than 30 year government career.

The rankings are based on employee surveys. Harper says the reason she believes the GAO is ranked so high each year is because they value the people.

"GAO wouldn't exist for the great people that we have here and they're knowing that they are part of the best places to work in the federal government matters a great deal."

Harper says the organization takes their role very seriously and they hope to be a role model for other agencies.

"One of our strategic goals is that we want to lead by example, that we want to be a model federal agency," Harper said, "so if we are reporting on human capital practices, and other federal agencies on their transformational efforts, we want to make sure that we are leading by example for the sake of our integrity, which is one of our core values."

The theme of people runs strong through the GAO and Harper knows that it is one of the most important parts to the Best Places to Work ranking system, and that the GAO sends the strong message to employees that they care about them.

"Because people really are the GAO, we are a knowledge based organziation, we focus on quality of life as just as critical because that is what helps maintain our people here. So the work-life balance, the issues of quality of life, our support for telework, our support for all of those things that contribute to people feeling that they are valued, then they're already committed to our mission."

For Harper, this will be the last time she will lead the organization to a top ranking on the best places list. She retired from her post after 33 years of federal service.

"I am torn, it is very hard to leave...GAO is the penultimate place to work for me in the federal space. The people are great, the mission is unbelievable and we are just so dedicated to serving the congress but also to the core values...accountability, integrity, reliability, those define GAO, and so its been the capstone for me of my career, to have had the opportunity to work here."