How some federal agencies keep morale up in a down economy

Monday, January 27th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

It isn't always easy to work for the federal government. Thanks to an economic downturn and seemingly never-ending budget negotiations in Washington, D.C., many agencies have spent the past several years dealing with slashed budgets. As a result, employees have been faced with pay freezes, furloughs and more of their income going toward retirement costs. 

One would think that it would be difficult for managers of these agencies to keep morale levels high. But, according to a recent article in the Washington Post, some are doing just that.

The news source lists several agencies that ranked high in a recent survey of the "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" in 2013. For example, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was listed as the No. 1 agency subcomponent. It achieved this ranking by placing an emphasis on improving training opportunities and fostering communication between managers and employees. In addition, a pilot project now allows workers to offer suggestions to improve agency operations online.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was another high performer. In fact, it was recognized by the survey as the most improved mid-size agency. Town hall meetings with employees helped keep everyone apprised of the agency's priorities.

Even if they never work for the government, some project managers will find themselves under corporate constraints and unable to award raises to improve morale. Managers could do worse than look to successful federal agencies for useful techniques in such situations.

At New Leaf Project Management, our 2-day program, "Leading the Project Team," will show you the best techniques to create a high-performing team in any economy. In addition, our free white papers and QPM games make it easy to earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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