Other Publications

State of the Federal HR Workforce: Changes and Challenges
This brief discusses how the role of HR has changed over the past 25 years; examines the expectations that customers of Federal HR staff have for the HR function; and describes barriers to making HR offices and HR staff more consultative. More inside..
Building on OPM’s Hiring Improvement Memo
On September 13, 2019, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a memo to Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) entitled Improving Federal Hiring Through the Use of Effective Assessment Strategies to Advance Mission Outcomes. The memo contains many strategies agencies can use to improve how they assess applicant qualifications, thereby improving the quality of their workforces. Some of these steps include using subject matter experts (SMEs) to help screen for minimum qualifications and using more predictive assessments to evaluate applicant qualifications. MSPB has long been a strong advocate for improved assessment. More inside..
Managing Employees to Perform Emotionally Laborious Work
Data from our 2016 Merit Principles Survey indicates that when employees need to hide their emotions, or pretend to feel other emotions, it has a relationship to emotional fatigue, a lower intent to remain in the position, fewer good performance behaviors, lower performance appraisal results, and reduced engagement. But, what can agencies do to reduce the need to pretend or hide emotions when the work itself is emotional? This brief uses examples from current agency practices to answer that question. More inside..
Remedying Unacceptable Employee Performance in the Federal Civil Service
For decades, the Federal Government has been seeking useful means to address the issue of Federal employees whose performance at work is unacceptable. But, why do some employees perform badly, and how effective are various approaches in bringing about the necessary improvements in performance? This brief answers those questions and discusses what agencies can do about those answers. More inside..
The Perceived Incidence of Prohibited Personnel Practices
The law contains 14 prohibited personnel practices (PPPs) with potential consequences for offenders who commit a PPP. But, are agencies truly preventing PPPs and what are the consequences for the effectiveness of the civil service if employees believe that PPPs are allowed to occur? This research brief uses data from our 2016 Merit Principles Survey to discuss respondents’ perceptions that they have seen a PPP and the relationship between such perceptions and their views of a variety of workplace issues. More inside..
Improving Federal Leadership Through Better Probationary Practices
When used properly, the probationary period is one of the most valid predictors of future success and can help ensure that the Federal Government has a cadre of the most qualified, competent leaders. This perspectives brief examines how the supervisory and managerial probationary periods are being used by agencies, identifies what barriers exist to using them more effectively, and builds on prior MSPB research to discuss what steps agencies can take to improve Federal leadership through better probationary practices. More inside..
The Roles of Feedback, Autonomy, and Meaningfulness in Employee Performance Behaviors
This publication, building on previous MSPB research regarding employee engagement and motivation, presents selected data from our 2016 and 2010 Merit Principles Surveys (MPSs). It briefly discusses the roles of feedback, autonomy, and meaningfulness, and demonstrates their relationship to positive employee performance behaviors. More inside..
Improving Federal Hiring Through Better Assessment
The Federal Government has spent extensive time and resources trying to reform the hiring process, but little attention has been paid to how agencies determine which candidates are likely to best perform the job. This perspectives brief summarizes MSPB research on applicant assessment and identifies 10 factors for agencies to consider when investing in better assessment. It also discusses options available to make high-quality assessments more accessible, including the Office of Personnel Management's USA Hire program. More inside..
Update on Sexual Harassment
This Research Brief summarizes Federal employee perceptions of sexual harassment in the workplace, based on MSPB’s 2016 Merit Principles Survey and previous MSPB surveys. More inside..
Addressing Misconduct in the Federal Civil Service: Management Perspectives This document contains data from our recent survey of more than 10,000 Federal supervisors, in which we asked a series of questions about their experiences with the system for adverse actions in the Federal civil service and supervisors’ perceived ability to implement adverse actions for misconduct. When we asked supervisors the extent to which different factors might pose a barrier to removing an employee for misconduct, they perceived that the greatest barriers were: (1) the agency’s culture; (2) the degree of support received from higher-level managers; and (3) the quality of service from their human resources offices. One thing these barriers have in common is that they are largely in the control of the individual Federal agencies. More inside..

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