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Report suggests respect is key to government worker morale

It may not be as simple as saying that government managers should try to practice the golden rule. But a new report suggests that execution of such a policy might go some way toward improving the work environments of a lot of government agencies.

As readers of this blog surely know; whether they are in Texas, Georgia, Washington, D.C., or anywhere else in the country; the tenet we're talking about here is framed by the line, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Another way of saying that might be, "Give those who work for you the same respect you expect them to give to you."

This is not meant to imply that employing such practice would magically transform the entire work environment into an Eden. But we suspect that few would dispute that disciplinary action that is generally used when allegations of employee misconduct or underperformance tends to put things into an adversarial context, rather than one that might be more conducive to a positive outcome on both sides.

That's not a situation that is likely to change anytime soon, and as long as it exists, the protection of federal employee rights is likely to be enhanced by consulting an experienced attorney.

The report that prompts this observation was put out earlier this month by The Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte Consulting. It amounted to a deep dive into portions of the Partnership's 2015 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government study.

Of particular note was the divide in employee morale when comparing survey results from FBI employees and those from the Secret Service. The FBI score is high. The one for the Secret Service is not. And the report points to a number of specific factors as being possible reasons why.

  • Attention to health and wellness: The FBI has programs and resources that the Secret Service does not to support staff in striking a healthier work-life balance.

  • Communication: The "need-to-know" standard can limit this in both agencies, but the report says the FBI comes out well ahead on communication of agency goals and priorities, encouragement of inter-unit communication, and general information sharing from managers.

Boil it all down and it seems to lead back to that element of respect.

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