My colleague Charles Clark writes that the Office of Personnel Management has put an end to its Results-Only Work Environment pilot program, instead replacing it with a new leadership training initiative.
OPM Director John Berry said at the Federal Managers Association's 74th annual nation convention on Tuesday that OPM saw mixed results on the ROWE pilot, in part because the training was not front-loaded and metrics and goals were not always clear.
"In some cases things went up, in some cases things went down," Berry said. "Overall, the shift wasn't dramatic."
OPM launched the ROWE pilot in April 2010. The program gave 400 employees at OPM headquarters in Washington and at field offices in Pittsburgh and Boyers, Pa., the freedom to decide where and when they work, as long as they meet high performance standards. The Pennsylvania workers process retirement paperwork, a task that is easy to measure, while headquarters employees work in areas where productivity is more difficult to quantify, such as communications, so OPM hoped it could assess how the pilot worked across different occupations.
But with results of the ROWE program a "mixed bag," Berry said OPM launched a new pilot -- GEAR, or Goals, Engagement, Accountability and Results -- in its place. The new effort will encourage managers to help employees align their individual goals with those of the agency and to take responsibility for their contributions.
It sounds to me like agencies need to first overcome the cultural issues, including effective performance measurement, before government can take such a large step as giving employees the freedom to choose where and when they work. What are your thoughts? Are cultural issues at play at your agency, particularly when it comes to telework or a more advanced program like ROWE?