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Government Productivity in 100 Steps

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If pressed, most individuals in the private sector would probably repeat the stereotype that government jobs are easy and nearly impossible to lose. One article, however, shows that these positions can be extremely difficult to get.

Here’s some information from a piece in the Washington Post:

The good news for the legions of Washington area applicants seeking federal work is that the government wants to fill tens of thousands of jobs here. The bad news is that they have to first slog through the federal government’s labyrinth hiring system to get one.

In a process that can involve 100 steps and take a year or more, applicants must deal with an online site many find cumbersome, sometimes vastly different procedures and requirements for the various agencies, and a culture loaded with mind-numbing jargon, codes and acronyms.

government productivity office

© Flickr user RLHyde

It’s easy to make fun of the government, but it should be clear that this bureaucracy creates a significant barrier to productivity and satisfaction. After all, how many steps should there be to hiring someone for a job? It seems pretty clear:

  1. Decide on your organizational needs and wants, and publish information about the job
  2. Receive applications from candidates
  3. Conduct any pre-screening tasks, such as background checks or other requirements, to qualify candidates
  4. Schedule and conduct interviews
  5. Decide who you want to offer the job to, and extend an offer.

That’s far less than a hundred steps, and not even all of them involve the candidate!

The article explains the scope of this challenge:

Over the next five years…the government will need to replace at least 550,000 workers who are slated to retire. Thousands more will be needed for new federal initiatives, including health-care and financial regulatory overhauls. Officials at the Partnership for Public Service say that about 25,000 of those jobs annually will be needed in the Washington area.

Last week, the administration announced a plan aimed at reducing the period of hiring to 80 days, about half the present time. The new process would eliminate KSAs — knowledge, skills and ability tests — and base hiring more on applicants’ professional background.

The government needs to bring on a half million people, yet currently has a hiring cycle of more than five months? It’s no wonder government jobs have a bad reputation: they are only offered to people who are willing to wait for ages to actually start work!

All organizations need processes to manage important, repetitive operations. Yet sometimes, these procedures can become laughably complex. If your company wants to simplify procedures, contact our productivity consultants today. We work with stakeholders to help simplify everyday tasks.

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