Linda Bilmes is a professor at the John. F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, an author and an expert on civil service issues. She spoke about the need for government reform with Tom Fox, a guest writer for On Leadership and vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. Fox also heads up their Center for Government Leadership.
Q. It has been decades since the federal civil service system has been reformed. What changes would you recommend?
A. In the private sector, high-performing companies typically invest significantly in their human resources and see their people as treasures, not as costs. We have to change the way we think about public employees. There is a whole range of tools that are not being used effectively in government -- from recruiting and hiring, to mentoring and evaluating, to promoting and creating excitement in the ranks.