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National Partnership for Reinventing Government
(formerly the National Performance Review)

Getting Agencies to Use a Balanced Set of Measures

In 1999, NPR sponsored a "best practices" report that highlights how high-performing organizations use a set of related, balanced measures to assess their performance. These organizations sought to balance measures of: customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and business results. Federal agencies pioneering the use of these "balanced measures" include the Veterans Benefits Administration, the IRS, the National Security Agency, and the Postal Service.

To create an active dialogue on using balanced measures, NPR co-sponsored two groundbreaking efforts.

  • The first focuses on measures of customer satisfaction. With the support of the Presidentís Management Council, NPR helped create a Federal Advisory Committee on Excellent Customer Service. This committee co-sponsored a survey of customer satisfaction with selected services in 30 government agencies that have a large number of interactions with the public.

    Using the 100-point American Customer Satisfaction Index (developed by the University of Michigan and used by private-sector businesses over the past decade), NPR found the government was virtually the same as the private sector as far as customer satisfaction was concerned. Moreover, 60 percent of government servicesí customers said they noticed improvements over the past two years in governmentís customer service.

  • The second effort NPR participated in focused on measures of employee satisfaction. In partnership with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), NPR sponsored a government-wide survey in both 1998 and 1999 of federal employees to better understand the extent of changes resulting from reinvention initiatives. The results showed that of those employees who believed that reinvention had been made a priority in their agency, 84 percent are satisfied with their jobs. They also showed that employees thought that cooperation between management and the unions had improved. However, employees still said insufficient attention was paid to dealing with poor performers and to labor-management relations overall. In response, Vice President Gore challenged agency leaders to take action on the results of this survey and to continue to improve the federal workplace. This survey will be repeated in late 2000 to assess progress.

The final aspect of balanced measures - measures of business results - were first available in March 2000 as agencies submitted their first Annual Performance Reports to Congress as required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).

At this point, all three sets of measures now exist at the agency level. The next challenge is to replicate these at the front line level to drive day-to-day dialogues about measurable performance in the workplace.

April 2000

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