National Partnership for Reinventing Government


July 27, 1998, Vol. 4, No. 11

An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers and Their Partners-Pass It On

NPR, Agencies Join Forces to Survey Federal Employees on Reinvention Progress
This week 40,000 randomly-selected federal employees will open their mailboxes to find a large envelope with a survey inside. The survey covers the entire government, but specifically targets the 32 High Impact Agencies-agencies that serve the most people. About 80 percent of all federal employees work in these agencies.

"Please help me assess our progress in reinventing government," Vice President Gore says in a cover letter. "I will share the results with you later this year through the National Partnership for Reinventing Government Web Page. Your agency will then meet with employees to discuss actions to be taken as a result of the survey."

Survey Partners
NPR, in partnership with survey experts from the Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Federal Aviation Agency, developed the 33-question, 15-minute survey over the past two years. The purpose of the survey is to determine if reinvention is working from the perspective of those doing the job. Questions cover key areas such as customer service, leadership, teamwork, employee development, streamlining, and job satisfaction.

Sample Questions
One question, for example, asks if employees are required to report the hours they work on a daily basis. (NPR recommended that agencies get rid of sign-in sheets and allow employees to report time by exception.) Other questions probe to what extent the organization has simplified travel regulations or provided access to electronic information needed to do the job.

"Several agencies, including OPM, MSPB, as well as high performing organizations in the private sector, have used most of the survey items in previous surveys," said Cherie Stallman, NPR survey coordinator. Agency heads may use this new version with their own workforce if they wish. "Survey data will be part of OPM's Performance America database," Stallman said, " which means we can do long-term tracking and follow-up." Performance America is a network of federal, state, and local governments working with nonprofit organizations and private sector groups.

The survey received the strong support of the President's Management Council and has been coordinated with the National Partnership Council and national unions. Participants may use work time to complete it.

NPR Director Morley Winograd promises that agencies will use the survey results. "We will strongly encourage agencies to develop action plans based on their employees' responses. We want agencies to improve the areas that workers say need improvement and we expect them to share best practices."

For more information, contact Cherie Stallman at or (202) 694-0045.

Speaking of Surveys
Merit System Protection Board Publishes Results of Surveys on Labor-Management Partnerships and Use of Resumes by Job Applicants
Both federal supervisors and union representatives believe that their relationships generally are cooperative and that their working relationships have improved, according to a story in the May issue of "Issues of Merit," the newsletter of the US Merit Systems Protection Board.

As part of reinventing government, President Clinton ordered agencies to establish formal labor-management partnerships to "champion change." MSPB surveyed its standing panels (1,800 managers and supervisors, more than 2,000 human resource professionals, and nearly 550 union representatives) with questions about working relationships between supervisors and union representatives. About one-third of the supervisors and more than half of the union representatives said that formal partnerships had "greatly improved" or "somewhat improved" their working relationships. MSPB said that it didn't know the extent to which the views of the standing panels reflect those of the larger workforce. (The NPR survey underway has questions about labor-management partnerships.)

Choice of Applications Makes It Easier for Federal Job Hunters
In a separate survey, MSPB also asked current managers and supervisors what application formats they had reviewed since December 1994. Since that time, job applicants have the choice of a resume, the old Standard Form 171, which is no longer required, or the Optional Form 612, the non-mandatory replacement for the 171. The freedom of choice is a result of NPR's push to make the government's application process more customer friendly.

The use of resumes has certainly caught on, but the SF-171 has by no means disappeared, MSPB said. Nearly as many survey respondents reported that they had reviewed resumes (76 percent) as SF-171s (80 percent.). They agreed that abolishing the requirement to use the 171 had made things easier for applicants. However, they said they it was more time consuming to review resumes because information is not consistently displayed. More than half said they preferred a single prescribed form.

As agencies automate their processes, managers may get their wish. Some kind of prescribed format is required for machine readability. Survey results indicate that five percent of supervisors have reviewed automated applications, MSPB said.

National Partnership for Reinventing Government, 750-17th St., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006. The Express is on the Internet at Click on News Room. To subscribe by e-mail, send a message to . Put this message: SUBSCRIBE EXPRESS-L FIRSTNAME LASTNAME. For fax, send fax number to or fax to (202) 632-0390.

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