Browsing: HR Management

How has mobile technology impacted your work-life balance?

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Are you a chronic smartphone or tablet user, who regularly checks emails and conducts business outside of normal work hours? Federal Times wants to hear from you. How has this technology impacted your work-life balance? Are you a federal employee, manager or contractor, who knows when to power off, or are you struggling to keep personal and work issues separate? Please comment below or contact Nicole Blake Johnson at 703-750-8145 or njohnson@federaltimes.com

How far is too far when it comes to monitoring your government computer?

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Certain employee communications are protected by law. But does that mean everything else is fair game? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what is appropriate electronic monitoring and what you consider to be overreaching? Have you set personal restrictions for using your government computer in order to keep personal matters private and/or shielded from any sort of inadvertent or targeted monitoring? You can comment below or contact me directly. Thanks. njohnson@federaltimes.com 703-750-8145

As the federal workforce shrinks, how are you coping?

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The latest statistics on the federal workforce provide the strongest proof yet that government employment has peaked and is on its way down. USA Today reported that the federal workforce in April was down 11,600 employees from the same time last year. This change shouldn’t come as much surprise — budgets are contracting, and many agencies have offered buyouts over the last year and a half to help deal with the tight fiscal environment. But Federal Times is wondering what this new reality means on the ground, for front-line workers who have to actually get the government’s work done. Have…

Lack of foreign language skills, education called 'a national disgrace'

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The state of foreign language education in the United States remains abysmal, and is endangering the federal government’s ability to operate in a multinational world, a panel of senior government officials testified today. Only 30 percent of American high school students and 8 percent of post-high school students are enrolled in a foreign language today, Eduardo Ochoa, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for postsecondary eduction, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on the federal workforce. And foreign language education is getting worse, Ochoa said. In the 1960s, 17 percent of post-high school students were enrolled in a…

CHCOs: Supervisors must do better on poor performers

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Federal supervisors aren’t doing nearly enough to hold poor performers accountable — or keep them from ending up as poor performers in the first place, two chief human capital officers said today. Reginald Wells of the Social Security Administration and Jeri Buchholz of NASA, speaking at Government Executive’s Excellence in Government conference, agreed that managers need to be more willing to take action when an employee isn’t cutting it. Maybe that means retraining that employee to get him up to snuff, Wells said, or punishing him. But a manager might only need to “call it as it is” and let…

Could RIFs be the lesser of two evils?

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For more than a year, cash-strapped agencies across the government have been offering buyouts and early outs to reduce their payrolls. Several of those agencies said it’s better to cut the rolls voluntary to avoid messy, morale-killing layoffs, or reductions-in-force for those who speak government-ese. But at today’s Excellence in Government conference, a common refrain emerged: The dreaded RIF may be unavoidable — and may even be a better tool for managing the workforce than buyouts and early outs. “The R-word — RIF — has its place, because it is the most surgical,” said Ron Sanders, the intelligence community’s former…

Fed up with anti-fed attitudes? We want to hear from you

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Public Service Recognition Week — traditionally a week to recognize the good that government employees do for the nation — comes at a dour time for federal employees this year. House Republicans are intent on cutting their take-home pay by 5 percent. President Obama has proposed his own 1.2 percent pension contribution hike. Cash-strapped agencies are scrambling to cut their workforces. Pay has been frozen for two years, and a third may be coming down the line. And GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is swiping at their “unfair” pay and benefits. How do you feel about being a public servant…

Retirements continue to rise — what's it mean for you?

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The latest pension processing stats from the Office of Personnel Management contained an interesting nugget on retirement trends. Namely, that they’re continuing to rise in 2012, after shooting up 24 percent in 2011. It’s not hard to figure out why. Agencies are offering federal employees buyouts and early outs left and right to deal with limited budgets. And with Congress constantly threatening to further freeze feds’ pay, increase their retirement contributions, or switch to a high-5, many feds are beating a path to the door. Federal Times would like to hear from you about the still-increasing retirement trend, and how…

Three awesome government jobs you have probably never heard of

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#3 Job Title: Criminal Investigator Agency: National Archives and Records Administration The National Archives contains billions of documents and items that make up our nations cultural and political heritage. Presidential letters, military documents and even secret stuff regular folk like us cannot see (except perhaps Nicholas Cage). And sometimes people take documents from those archives and try to sell them. The investigators comb the Internet, follow up on tips and travel to places such as Gettysburg, Pa., to look for documents, gather tips and educate traders at antique shows. Civil War documents are a ripe area for people trying to…

Cybersecurity…what is it?

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Top government officials agree that far more cybersecurity professionals are needed to defend the nations networks and solve one of its most pressing issues: hiring and retaining a qualified cyber workforce. But defining exactly what those roles are and what skills are needed is the challenging part. “That’s really the issues,” said Nancy Kichak, associate director of strategic human resource policy at the Office of Personnel Management at the Executive Leadership Conference on Tuesday. “Despite the fact that we all use the terminology cybersecurity, just what does it mean? And how do you definite it, and how do you identify…

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