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Wisdom from CMF: Happy Staffers, Happy Office
Posted at 4:02 p.m. on Jan. 15
“This is a business. And we keep punishing ourselves by eliminating the tools necessary to run our businesses properly.”
Such is the quote from a senior manager on Capitol Hill, responding to a survey by the Congressional Management Foundation as quoted in Wednesday’s Roll Call.
It turns out that salary freezes, health care benefit transitions and threats of additional cuts aren’t just bad for morale, they’re bad for business, too.
From the Guest Observer column written by CMF President Brad Fitch:
In a survey conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, 81 percent of senior managers felt they would lose staffers as a result of the salary freezes, and 79 percent said staff would leave because of the health care benefit transition. Equally unsettling, when asked if they would look for another job in the next 12 months, four in 10 chiefs of staff and state/district directors said yes.
Fitch offers some advice to improve the situation on Capitol Hill: Engage the staff, give raises and bonuses, and maximize efficiency. But even the optimistic Fitch acknowledges the situation on Capitol Hill can be tough to change without buy-in from the boss:
Finally, the biggest obstacle to employing these strategies will be the toughest to overcome: the member. Politicians hate saying no, and have high expectations for themselves and the people they hire. But having that uncomfortable conversation with the legislator, asking what the office will not do, is the most critical component to adapting to these major changes to the office environment.
Here’s hoping for a better 2014 on and off Capitol Hill.