In the wake of a $823,000 2010 conference in Las Vegas that toppled agency leadership, GSA has been engaged in a top-to-bottom internal review. Part of that review was focused on identifying other wasteful programs and policies and eliminating them.
GSA implemented “The Great Ideas Hunt” to solicit ideas from its own employees and gather feedback on the value of everything from surveys to magazine subscriptions. GSA said the program has received 623 ideas, most of which the agency is still reviewing.
“When we began our Top-to-Bottom review of the entire agency, we wanted to look for ways to engage employees in a meaningful way about how to improve the agency and make it more efficient,” said Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini.
But five ideas the agency is implementing right now include:
- Reduce Subscriptions: A GSA employee highlighted the fact that GSA can save money by reducing the number of newspaper and magazine subscriptions and choosing online versions when possible. By doing this the GSA can save up to $630,000 agency-wide.
- Eliminate Redundant Survey: Three suggestions were submitted urging the agency to retire a costly and redundant employee survey. It turns out that the survey costs $1 million annually and virtually all of its questions are addressed in the Office of Personnel Management Employee Viewpoint Survey, which is free. GSA has now stopped its use of the survey.
- Create Web-based Surveys: Four GSA employees submitted an idea to replace the paper-based Public Buildings Service (PBS) Tenant Satisfaction Survey with a web-based solution instead. PBS is making this change immediately, which will save about $1.2 million annually.
- Expand PrintWise policy: Two entries noted that setting the default printing settings to ‘double-sided’ will save money on paper and reduce GSA’s impact on the environment. As a result, GSA will roll out this policy agency-wide, and could realize a savings of $2.7 million.
- Implement External Great Ideas: GSA received so many helpful ideas through this campaign internally, that three employees suggested the agency create an external website to allow federal partners and vendors to share ideas and feedback on how GSA can better manage our offerings.