Lean Strategies: Workforce Engagement and Retention in the Federal Government
- Purpose – This can drive behavior and focus in powerful ways. It is important to think about how messaging and delivery is done to engage with employees
- Simplicity – Use only the most suitable approach for each agency, division, or group. Having too many options dilutes the focus of the improvement efforts and can create unnecessary work, longer timelines, and increased costs
- Engagement – This requires collaboration, feedback, and time away from day-to-day activities of employees. Be mindful of their time, workload, and capacity. Provide metrics that resonate with employees and support the agency’s mission and strategic goals
The responsibility to do more with less will not go away. Once agencies have found the lean approach that works for them, they have a clearer vision of their own processes and are better equipped to engage and retain their workforce.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. Focused on innovation, Arc Aspicio provides services in strategy, design, human capital, operations, analytics and visualization, technology and information sharing. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude, provides leadership opportunities, and explores the future. Our teams take a human-centered approach to working with clients and are flexible and responsive within dynamic Government client environments where missions evolve and new priorities arise sometimes even daily. We thrive on these situations and promote continuous improvement and new ideas. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.
Across the Federal government, agencies and programs have been tasked with building, training, and retaining the workforce needed to serve the American people. Public-sector leaders have been struggling with the right approach to this challenge, but we are now seeing more and more agencies turn to implementing private industry ’lean’ methods as a potential solution. Lean strategies aim to identify and improve an organization’s pain-points by following a set of principles and techniques focused on minimizing risk, optimizing cost and quality of processes, and engaging employees to deliver value-added benefits and improvements aligned to the organization’s mission and goals.
While lean methods have traditionally been popular in manufacturing industries, the Federal Government has been successful in implementing ‘lean government’ at the Environmental Protection Agency, where it helped to improve transparency and retaining talent. Lean methods can be vital in promoting a culture of engagement, which requires listening to employees, aligning resources with priorities, identifying challenges, and working collaboratively to design and implement solutions. An emphasis on how agencies plan to measure, evaluate, and communicate with their employees is important when deciding on a lean concept because the chosen direction will be key to successfully implementing lean methods and improving cultural engagement and retention.
However, an agency must first understand its current structure and processes to yield compelling operational successes from lean methods. By taking steps to engage and support their workforce, the comprehension into the needs and activities of their employees will provide value-added lean improvements. Some factors for choosing a method or metric include: