MSPB: Budget concerns should make agencies look at cutting processes or workforce

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Agencies should focus on eliminating unnecessary functions and address poor employee performance to show they properly use funds because budgets may soon decrease, says the Merit Systems Protection Board.

In a Jan. 29 report (.pdf), the MSPB says the fiscal climate makes it "particularly important for federal agencies to demonstrate to Congress, the president and the American people that they have done as much as possible with as few resources as possible."

Federal employees and managers told MSPB that efforts to eliminate unnecessary jobs and responsibilities and resolve poor performance are the two areas agencies need to focus on most.

Based on a 2010 governmentwide survey and other research on federal employees, MSPB tells agencies to train managers to determine programs to cut or eliminate in order to meet more crucial responsibilities. This includes training on how to show the workforce efforts to improve efficiency and ways to tell employees why cuts or changes are being made.

When addressing poor performance, MSPB first recommends employee training and development. Agencies are working more with fast changing fields like information technology, but employees tell MSPB they "have not received adequate training for their current jobs, let alone opportunities for growth and development. "

Agencies need to determine competency requirements and provide adequate training to meet these, but also set performance cut-offs and not retain staff that does not preform acceptably, says the report.

Proper use of funds includes the ability to balance short-term savings from reducing training or eliminating positions with the ability to meet long-term organizational capability and performance.

For more:
- download the MSPB report (.pdf)
- read the Merit System Principles

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