Bill Would Require Training for Federal Supervisors

Susan Hall

Critics had a field day with the "forehead-slappingly obvious" findings Google's data mining came up with on how to be a better boss. But at least it was focused on that and provides training for supervisors.


A recent survey from found that 58 percent of managers reported they received no training at all before they moved into the position.


A bill introduced Tuesday in the Senate would require each federal agency to set up a training program for supervisors. Federal News Radio quotes Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who sponsored the bill, saying:

Properly trained supervisors are critical to the federal government's ability to efficiently and effectively provide essential services to the American people. By investing in supervisory training now, we will save money later.

The training would address:


  • Developing and discussing goals and objectives with employees.
  • Mentoring and motivating employees.
  • Fostering a fair work environment.
  • Employee collective bargaining rights and workplace discrimination law.
  • Managing employees with unacceptable performance.
  • Addressing reports of harassment or a hostile work environment.


The agencies also would be directed to set up a mentoring program pairing experienced supervisors with new ones.


Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry told Federal News Radio that federal managers are too timid in dealing with poor performers.


And Federal Times recently reported a 0.06 percent denial rate in step increases and raises in 2009-and that's up from previous years. The story cites estimates of the percentage of poor performance in the federal work force of between 3 percent and 14.3 percent, but those figures are more than a decade old. Yet in the government's 2010 work force survey, less than 31 percent of respondents felt their work unit took steps to deal with poor performers and almost 42 percent said the opposite was true.


Meanwhile, the majority of performance improvement officers at large federal agencies surveyed for the Partnership for Public Service's report, "A Critical Role At A Critical Time," reported being stretched too thin and lacking authority to effect real change.


Still, 11,275 federal employees were fired in 2009 for misconduct or poor performance.

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