Making Government a Good Place to Work

It's true that any the current economy, any place to work is a good place to work. But seriously, how can governments transform themselves (...
October 1, 2009

Mgmt conf day 2 It's true that any the current economy, any place to work is a good place to work. But seriously, how can governments transform themselves (or transform the way they present themselves) to be more attractive to potential employees?

That was the topic of the plenary session wrapping up the first full day of Governing's Managing Performance conference. 

And it's not just about recruitment: When employers are happy with their workplace, retention increases, customer satisfaction increases, performance results increase, and things like sick leave go down. 

So how can governments make sure they're places people want to work?

Toby Futrell, the former city manager of Austin, Texas, broke it down into what she called "the three F's: focus, fun and far-out." That is, a focus on employee satisfaction, a sense of fun and recognition of high performance, and an environment that fosters and nurtures "far-out" innovation and creative solutions.

Steve Stevenson, the commissioner for the Georgia personnel administration, discussed the ways his state has overhauled its HR system in recent years. Georgia has put a pay-for-performance plan in place, shifted to a hybrid retirement program that combines defined benefits and defined contributions, and made it much easier to apply for jobs with the state.

I'm moderating a panel tomorrow morning on how governments can attract young workers.  I imagine a lot of the same ideas will play out in that discussion. But I'm eager to hear, too, what specifically governments can do to position themselves as good places to work for Generation Y.

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