Federal leaders can have a major influence on employee satisfaction, but it can sometimes be hard for them to figure out where to start. They know it's critical to boost worker morale, successfully fulfill agency missions and develop high levels of employee productivity. What they don't always realize is that those bigger changes are often the result of much smaller efforts -- like empowering workers, managing fairly, keeping people informed about organizational priorities, and actively soliciting feedback from the rank and file.
An analysis of the "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" rankings by my organization, the Partnership for Public Service, and by Deloitte suggests that leaders willing to make subtle but still powerful changes in behavior can achieve significant improvement in employee commitment. Here are a few starting points to help you improve your workplace dynamic:
Communicate formally, informally and frequently. The majority of federal employees say that their leaders don't share enough information about what's going on in their agencies. Leaders in the most high-performing agencies make a point of carving out time to communicate by sending weekly email summaries of their activities, holding town-hall and smaller team meetings, walking the halls to catch people one-on-one, or even eating lunch in the cafeteria to talk with employees. These interactions are the foundation for building trust and transparency among your employees.