OPM wants to hear from you

The Office of Personnel Management is offering federal employees a chance to give feedback online.

Ok, it’s not really social media and not very interactive, but still the Office of Personnel Management is offering federal employees a chance to give feedback online. They are asking for comment and ideas on the agency’s 2010 draft strategic plan.

You can read a full description of the goals and progress indicators and give feedback here.

The goals are:

  • recruiting and hiring “the most talented and diverse federal workforce,”
  • providing the training and work life balance for employees to succeed, prosper and advance in their careers,
  • ensure federal workforce and leaders are fully accountable and fairly appraised,
  • ensure comparable recognition and rewards to current employees for exemplary performance and honor federal retirees.

Since this is a work life blog, I looked particularly at that second one. It describes having a suite of flexible benefits and promoting work life balance across the federal government. Among programs for employee well-being and retention are alternative work schedules, telework, and employee assistance.

Indicators of progress would include an increased percentage of federal employees who telework, increased percentage of employees who report satisfaction with work life programs, and increased retention of new employees.

The Web site has already posted a public list of the early comments, clearly a new world of transparency. Here are some examples of the feedback:

Respect the Workforce, Indicators (page 13)

"Increased percentage of federal employees who report satisfaction with work-life programs" - if you're relying on the one question on the Human Capital Survey that asks this, you're completely missing the boat on the full picture of work/life satisfaction. I don't think most people even understand the question, and even if they do, satisfaction with work/life programs doesn't mean that employees are truly able to manage the often conflicting demands of work and personal life, in ways that enable them to be effective in all spheres.

"Respect the Workforce" and "Expect the Best" (pages 12-15)

It's disappointing to see some of the elements of work/life so stovepiped. Effective performance management is a critical part of moving towards a culture of truly flexible work arrangement. And until managers feel some accountability for creating model workplaces - through performance appraisal - no real change is going to happen.

This may be one of the few opportunities to tell it like it is, so have at it in your comments.