Modernize Management Systems

Our Goal

Government will set policy and operate as a data-driven, results-oriented, coordinated enterprise—particularly when it comes to managing talent, providing services across government, and acquiring goods and other support.

The Challenge

People are government’s greatest asset, which is why most of the Partnership’s programs center on developing and engaging the workforce. But the federal workforce often is impeded by the systems that are supposed to support it. We will lose good people from government if we can’t modernize its business processes.

Specifically, we must update the fractured, antiquated civil service system now in place to a modern market- and performance-sensitive system that enables talent to move easily between the public and private sectors. The federal government’s primary compensation system, for example, was designed more than 60 years ago to meet the needs of a predominantly clerical workforce. It now serves as a barrier to building and retaining a first-class workforce.

We must also help government consolidate expensive and duplicative business systems, such as financial or HR management systems.

Other challenges, including a lack of real-time data and performance metrics, government’s complicated acquisition process, outdated IT systems and stovepiped operations often are cited by federal employees as impediments to their work.

The Opportunity

We can modernize the management of government by helping to frame the management agenda for President Obama’s second term. And we can help our federal government face complicated problems more effectively by encouraging a corporate, or enterprise, approach, rather than continuing with the model in which agencies rarely act in concert, and usually only during times of crisis.

Our Work in Action

In early 2013, we released, “Building the Enterprise: Nine Strategies for a more Integrated, Effective Government” in which we outlined a whole-of-government approach to improve its effectiveness and efficiency. Our approach builds on a 2010 law that requires the government to identify cross-agency priority goals and proposes a set of strategies for making the cross-agency approach the standard way of doing business.

In April of 2014, we launched a framework for a new civil service system that favors making the system more market sensitive and rethinking how to advance people through it and puts forward ideas on how to manage performance. We are working with key stakeholders and Congress to advocate for these reform proposals and to translate this report into action.

Since our founding in 2001, we have contributed to more than two dozen pieces of legislation enacted into law, designed to improve our government’s management and operations. And we created one of government’s most powerful metrics, the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings, using the government’s own annual employee survey to benchmark satisfaction and commitment and give leaders feedback on their management performance and so they can be held accountable.



Ready to Act
February 6 or 7

To ensure that the peaceful transfer of power doesn’t interfere with mission-critical agency priorities, many public servants will take on added workloads and new responsibilities. Among them are the senior career executives like you who might be called upon to serve in acting positions during the presidential transition. We are now offering two sessions of Ready to Act, our half-day program to help you or your executive colleagues prepare for your new roles and what to expect.

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5 Languages of Appreciation Training
February 16

This new training program will provide a deep dive on how managers can use the Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace from Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White to make any workplace environment more encouraging and productive.

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Building a Culture of Engagement: Virtual Training Series
March 21-23

This online training series helps frontline supervisors and managers use appreciation, communication and empowerment to engage employees.

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In the News / January 13, 2017
Obama’s federal workplace legacy is mixed, but he’ll be missed

In the News / January 10, 2017
House oks federal worker rule, could ease cutting employees, pay

In the News / January 09, 2017
Fed Coach: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who shepherded Obamacare, talks about its uncertain future


Research and Publications / November 01, 2016
Seven Smart Strategies to Achieve Policy Success

Research and Publications / October 20, 2016
From Inefficient to Integrated: Automating Human Resources Processes Improves Workforce Management

Research and Publications / October 12, 2016
From Decisions to Results: Building a More Effective Government Through a Transformed Office of Management and Budget


Civil Service Reform

Our nation is fortunate to count some of the brightest, most dedicated professionals among its ranks, but too often they succeed in spite of the current civil service system, not because of it. Today’s civil service was designed more than 40 years ago for a dramatically different workforce. Individual agencies have cut deals with Congress so that what exists today is a patchwork quilt where agencies must compete not only with the private sector for top talent, but with each other. Fundamental reform in the way we recruit, hire, reward and compensate the federal workforce is long overdue. Our advocacy agenda includes building a civil service system that our public servants deserve and that will produce the results our country needs.

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Management Reform

Today’s federal government operates as a set of disconnected agencies and programs, rather than as a single, coordinated enterprise focused on our nation’s biggest problems and challenges. In 2013, the Partnership published “Building the Enterprise: Nine Strategies for a More Integrated, Effective Government.” Our advocacy agenda is designed to encourage the reforms articulated in the report, which would make government more effective and efficient.

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Shared Services

Facing shrinking budgets, many federal agencies are working to consolidate their business systems so that they aren’t paying for multiple systems, such as financial management or payroll systems, that often can’t interact with one another. Consolidating business operations, however, is difficult work involving many stakeholders and it requires a fundamental cultural shift in how many agencies are run. The Partnership works to support this shift by investigating barriers and developing strategies to overcome them and engaging stakeholders in dialogue.

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