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MSPB report outlines ways to motivate federal employees

Federal employees face many morale and motivational challenges, according to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) findings from a study of the federal workplace environment. The report, entitled, "Federal Employee Engagement: The Motivating Potential of Job Characteristics and Rewards," details how agencies within the federal government can better motivate the employees.

Having highly motivated employees are a necessity, as budget challenges and the threat of further workforce reductions and potential sequestration. The MSPB is the agency that is responsible for ensuring proper operation of the federal employment merit systems and the rights of employees within those systems.

The merit systems are designed to reward accurately employees within the civil service system, and so the MSPB is keenly aware of the importance of properly motivating employees. Because many older federal employees are approaching retirement age, many agencies will be dealing with operating with fewer highly experienced employees on staff.

Given budget cuts and hiring freezes, some agencies will not be able to replace these employees, leading to a reallocation of their work to the remaining employees. This has the potential to be demoralizing to those employees, as they struggle to maintain their previous duties and take on the added responsibilities of the now-retired positions.

The MSPB report recommended that some ways of improving motivation is to enlarge the duties for jobs, allowing employees to gain increased "knowledge and skill sets" that they can used in their jobs. The report also suggests that rotating employees can help broaden their skill sets and that increasing "independence, responsibility and accountability," is important to improving motivation.

Source: Federal News Radio, "MSPB eyes gaps in employee motivation," Jack Moore, January 7, 2013

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