Agile Grit. Keep Moving Forward.

A Blog by Andy Bacon

Alignment = Purpose = Motivation

Leaders in the Federal government (and many private sector firms as well) likely feel that their ability to motivate employees is limited because they don’t have a big awards or training budget (or any). They may also be worried that their employees’ are looking elsewhere for employment because Congress hasn’t approved a pay increase in several years. It’s important to realize that while bonuses, training classes, and pay raises are no doubt important for attracting and retaining a workforce…those things don’t provide the DAY TO DAY motivation needed to accomplish amazing things at work. Continue reading “Alignment = Purpose = Motivation”

Talent, Data, and Technology….Oh My!

chart 2-01

Does your organizations create talent management policy in one part of the organization and the supporting technology in another? How about HR data and analysis? Yet another part of the organization, perhaps? If so, you’re not alone. The reality is that although most organizations have an HR office, too few have organizationally co-located resources dedicated to HR technology or HR data analytics. And by “organizationally co-located” I don’t mean the policy office consults with the techy people once all the policies are written and tells them “here…design me a system that does this.”

So what’s the big deal?

Isn’t the policy what’s most important anyway? I would argue that policy, data and meaningful metrics, and technology are equally important and the success of one is tied to the success of the others. Why is this true? In today’s technology-centric environment where most employees have a Facebook account and do their banking online, many HR initiatives don’t become “real” to employees and supervisors until they “see and use” those policies using software. Performance appraisals are the classic example. There are likely tens of pages of policy on conducting performance appraisals in organizations that NO ONE (except HR, attorneys, and the unions read), yet the appraisal process only becomes real to people when they try and use the technology that captures the assessments for the first time. And guess what happens when they don’t like the technology? You got it…they don’t like the new policy!

And why are data and metrics so important? Well, how will you know what types of information to capture and display in your software if you don’t think about the data behind the policy? How will you know if your new appraisal program is even working if you don’t create and analyze meaningful metrics? You won’t.

So what can you do about it?

For HR programs to have the greatest impact, organizations must execute in an environment where policy, technology, and data carry equal weight. They should involve the right people from the start and keep them involved throughout the design and implementation of the HR initiative. Have the IT folks mock up what the application will look like, or better yet, build (or configure it) it as you develop your policy. “Seeing” the solution that will implement the policy will undoubtedly help policy makers think through the details of the policy.

The #1 rule

NEVER underestimate the importance of technology to the success of an HR policy. Bad software can easily destroy the best programs.

The Importance of Cool

Three words that I hate to hear when it comes to software:

“It’s good enough”

How often do you think those words are spoken at Apple or Google? Certainly not often when it comes to their products. Why then have I heard it time and time again when it comes from HR-related software in the government? Continue reading “The Importance of Cool”

California Has the Most Feds…What?

I’m not sure I believed it either, but according to March 2013 FedScope data California does indeed have more Federal civilian employees than Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland. Washington, DC is a very close second (168,000 versus 162,000) and because there is about 40,000 location records suppressed that statement may not be exactly true…but perhaps it got you to read this post! Here are the top 10 state for Federal civilian employment: Continue reading “California Has the Most Feds…What?”

Blog at

Up ↑