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Product Description

You know firsthand that your government workers are not underworked, overpaid, or mindless clones just carrying out the morally compromised work that politicians forced through the pipeline. You are quite aware that these and other common stereotypes of public sector employees don’t apply to your team . . . but are they?Besides having to daily overcome the persona of being a government employee, your hard-working employees face enormous pressures and challenges every day and are asked to solve some of our country’s toughest problems, including unemployment, security, poverty, and education. To be able to return to their desks each and every day with the passion and commitment required to accomplish these overwhelming duties will require a manager who knows how to leverage talent, improve performance, and inspire passion within these true servants.In Engaging Government Employees, Bob Lavigna--with over three decades of experience in public sector HR-- gives managers the tools they need to leverage the talents of government''s most important resource: its people. Readers will learn:• Why a highly engaged staff is 20 percent more productive • How to get employees to deliver “discretionary effort” • How to assess the level of engagement • Why free pizza and Coke every Friday is not a viable strategy • And moreEngaging Government Employees rejects the typical one-size-fits-all approach to motivation. Drawing on a wealth of empirical evidence, this indispensable resource shows how America’s largest employer can apply the science of engagement to get team members passionate about the agency’s mission and committed to its success.

Review

"...offers a wealth of strategies for federal managers." --Federal Computer Week

Book Description

Government employees face enormous challenges today, including being stigmatized as underworked and overpaid. At the same time, they’re being asked to solve some of our toughest problems including unemployment, security, poverty, and education.

In Engaging Government Employees, Bob Lavigna gives managers the tools they need to leverage the talents of government’s most important resource: its people. He shows them how to measure, nurture, and sustain the kind of authentic employee engagement that drives results. With over three decades of experience in public sector HR, he knows how to get team members passionate about the agency’s mission, and committed to its success. Readers will learn:

• Why a highly engaged staff is 20 percent more productive

• How to get employees to deliver “discretionary effort”

• How to assess the level of engagement

• Why free pizza and Coke every Friday is not a viable strategy

• And more

Drawing on a wealth of empirical evidence, Engaging Government Employees rejects the typical, one-size-fits-all approach to motivation and shows how America’s largest employer can apply the science of engagement to dramatically improve performance.

From the Inside Flap

These are tough times for government, for the public servants who deliver government services, and for government managers. Common strategies for ensuring high-quality workplaces are often difficult to implement in government, where the rules of employment are radically different. Limited in their ability to reward good performers, guided by shifting political players, and often lacking clear performance measures, public sector managers face formidable, sometimes disheartening obstacles for improving effectiveness and countering plummeting morale.

 

Engaging Government Employees provides unique solutions to vexing public sector workforce issues. Author Bob Lavigna has decades of experience managing employees in federal, state, and local government, and in higher education, and is known for rethinking out­dated practices and reenergizing work­places. He applies his insights and strategies to improving government by targeting the one area that most critically impacts performance: employee engagement.

 

Packed with fresh ideas, real-life examples from government, and data-driven analyses of what works and what doesn’t, Engaging Government Employees delivers a five-step process model for boosting the productivity of your public-sector employees and building positive work environments where people thrive. The book explains how to:

• Understand what engagement really is.

• Measure the current level of engagement in your organization using well-designed and well–conducted surveys.

• Analyze the survey results, focusing on specific areas where engagement is low and needs improvement.

• Form action teams to improve and sustain high levels of engagement.

• Work with HR professionals at every step in the process.

 

With 85,000 government jurisdictions and agencies—from local police departments to federal policymaking agencies—providing essential services, the public sector is a vast and varied enterprise. By tackling wide­spread morale problems and forging a sense of purpose and connectedness, managers can create engaged workforces capable of deliv­ering the kind of outstanding service that wins over even skeptics.

 

Robert J. Lavigna has more than 30 years of experience leading public sector human capital management organizations, including positions with the state of Wisconsin, Partnership for Public Service, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He currently works as Assistant Vice Chancellor/ Director of HR for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

From the Back Cover

Government employees are asked to address some of our nation’s most challenging issues, including unemployment, security, poverty, and education. It’s a daunting challenge on a vast scale, further complicated by dwindling or stagnating budgets, complex organizational structures, and ongoing morale problems.

Only a highly effective workforce can deliver results. While pessimistic, disaffected em­ployees can create dysfunctional agencies, it’s been proven that engaged work­forces increase productivity by 20 percent or more. In Engaging Government Employees, Bob Lavigna gives public sector managers the tools they need to leverage the talents of their people. He provides a tailored, step-by-step process for measuring, nurturing, and sustaining authentic employee engagement that drives results.

Named a Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine, and described as a “workforce liberator,” the author brings three decades of experience in public sector HR to the task of getting team members passionate about the agency’s mission and committed to its success. You will learn:

• Why a highly engaged staff is crucial for government

• Why one-size-fits-all engage­ment models fail in public sector environments

• How to motivate employees to deliver discretionary effort

• How to accurately assess the level of engagement in your organization

• How to make sense of the employee survey data you collect

• Why free pizza and Coke every Friday is not an engagement strategy

• And more.

Drawing on a wealth of empirical evidence and examples from every level of government, Engaging Government Employees highlights the unique challenges of public sector workplaces, and offers an original model to help America’s largest employer apply the science of engagement to dramatically improve performance.

About the Author

ROBERT J. LAVIGNA has more than 30 years of experience leading public sector human capital management organizations, including positions with the state of Wisconsin, Partnership for Public Service, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the University of Wisconsin.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Chapter 1

The Power of Employee Engagement and What This Book Is About

 

 There are many other books about employee engagement, and some are excellent. But this book departs from the others in three ways.

First, I focus on the science of employee engagement—that is, what the research clearly proves about the power of engagement to improve individual and organizational performance. Instead of relying on my insights “culled from my many years of experience” or “my work with many different types of organizations,” I emphasize what the engagement research has proven empirically and how these results apply to government organizations.

Sure, I have experience with engagement, and I will cite some of these experiences as examples, but I don’t trust purely anecdotal experiences and don’t believe they necessarily apply to the situations or challenges other managers face. I don’t rely exclusively on my personal experiences to make the case for why government leaders, managers, frontline supervisors, and employees should focus on engagement. Instead, I rely on the research and empirical evidence.

Second, my focus is government. There are other fine works on the science of engagement, but they don’t emphasize the public sector. In Chapter 4, I highlight the unique challenges government faces, the fundamental differences between the public and private sectors, and the implications of these differences for managers—and for employee engagement. I argue that, in some respects, these differences make it harder to manage in the public sector. As a result, public-sector leaders, managers, and frontline supervisors must approach engagement differently than their private-sector counterparts.

In addition to the hostile environment the government operates in today, other key factors that distinguish the public sector from the private sector include political leadership that changes frequently; hard-to-measure goals and impacts; complicated, rule-bound, and sometimes irrational decision making; multiple external stakeholders with power and influence; an older, more educated, and more white-collar workforce; strong civil-service rules and employee protections; heavy union influence; limited financial tools to influence and reward employee behavior; public visibility of government actions; and, more positively, a workforce that is intrinsically motivated toward public service. I believe that government leaders and managers need to understand these differences and their implications for employee engagement. This argument is a key focus of this book.

The third way in which this book departs from many other works on engagement is that I don’t present a one-size-fits-all approach to improving engagement. There are many engagement models and approaches that their designers maintain can be adopted just about anywhere. In contrast, I don’t see how any single employee-engagement model can apply to all organizations and situations, particularly in government. Just in the United States, there are more than 85,000 government jurisdictions and agencies, and each has its own mission, strategy, values, and culture.

Instead, I believe that every organization needs to measure its own level of employee engagement, analyze the results to identify specific areas to improve, set priorities for action, and then act on the data. While there are some broad principles that apply generally to engagement (which I’ll discuss), there is no single solution that will automatically improve engagement across all organizations.

I do present a model in Chapter 7, but it is an engagement process model—that is, a model that a public-sector organization can adapt and adopt to assess its level of employee engagement. The organization needs to then act on these results to improve engagement. The model is intended to help each agency generate the data it needs to draw conclusions about what its employee-engagement issues are and how to deal with them to improve engagement, but it does not prescribe generic solutions. In Chapter 12, I describe what some government agencies have done to improve engagement, but I present these actions as examples, not prescriptions.

From the start, it is important to understand that there is no silver bullet to achieve high levels of employee engagement. Instead, what’s needed is silver buckshot—an integrated series of actions, specific to each government jurisdiction or agency, to measure and then improve engagement.

Here’s a quote that I think sums up the power of employee engagement. According to Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS, a leading business software company that is also a perennial member of Fortune magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For,” “My chief assets drive out the gate every day. My job is to make sure they come back.”9

Goodnight’s statement is just as applicable (or maybe even more applicable) to government. And improving engagement is one clearly documented way to make sure that when the chief assets of government leave at the end of the day, they do plan to return tomorrow.

 

 Excerpted from ENGAGING GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES by Robert J. Lavigna. Copyright © 2013 by Robert J. Lavigna. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

All rights reserved. http://www.amacombooks.org.

 

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4.8 out of 54.8 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Anoka manager
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This a must read for all government supervisors or managers
Reviewed in the United States on October 30, 2013
I just finished reading Engaging Government Employees. I absolutely loved it!! It has been a long time since I read a book that has been so on-point and inspiring. I have been employed in County government for eighteen years and I have been in supervisory or management... See more
I just finished reading Engaging Government Employees. I absolutely loved it!! It has been a long time since I read a book that has been so on-point and inspiring. I have been employed in County government for eighteen years and I have been in supervisory or management positions for eleven years. In my organization, I may not be able to engage in the full survey process. What I can do is take ideas from the book and implement them. I was very intrigued by the sections on turnover and onboarding. We are currently in the process of hiring two new staff and after reading this book I am looking at our process and who we select in a different light. Instead of simply following a process, I am re-thinking and re-writing the questions we ask in order to give them meaning and hopefully we will hire the correct person.

My next task is to encourage my supervisors to read and get as excited as me about the book.

This book will be on my desk as a reference guide and will be re-read multiple times.
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Pine City
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Engaging Government Employees
Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2013
Bob Lavigna has created an easy read and a great analysis of the potential strengths of the Employee Engagement Management tool. He accurately notes the complications of measuring its bottom line impact in the Public Sector. He also presents an excellent and plausible... See more
Bob Lavigna has created an easy read and a great analysis of the potential strengths of the Employee Engagement Management tool. He accurately notes the complications of measuring its bottom line impact in the Public Sector. He also presents an excellent and plausible consulting model/ recipe/ for those senior leaders who choose to go on this journey.
The power of this work is that it is a personal statement backed up by exhaustive research along with Bobs membership and leadership in a variety of large and small Government entities and at the Partnership for Public Service. Bobs bottom line is that employees in the public sectors make a significant positive difference which can be measured, captured and replicated.
His use of Engagement Survey examples in a variety of organizations and situations uncovers the potential employee energy which can be used to help Federal entities succeed. This approach could be a first step in producing a reliable way to establish organizational specific bench marks for engagement measures and their impact on performance..

Bobs book presents a lifeline for those managers in the Public Sector struggling with more complex demand ,less citizen support and diminishing resources.
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Don Maruska
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Vital resource for local, state, and federal agencies
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2015
Bob Lavigna has provided a much needed guide to engaging employees in the public sector. There are some key differences in workforce issues and needs between the public and private sectors. Bob explains these differences, provides valuable research insights, and delivers... See more
Bob Lavigna has provided a much needed guide to engaging employees in the public sector. There are some key differences in workforce issues and needs between the public and private sectors. Bob explains these differences, provides valuable research insights, and delivers concrete checklists and materials to get started to boost employee engagement in meaningful ways. He recently presented on a webinar with over 1200 participants and received rave reviews.
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JDC
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must-read for government leaders and managers
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2013
It’s tough for government workers these days – tight budgets and high-stakes demands. How can public employees perform their best under challenging conditions? The key is to focus on engagement. But don’t waste precious time and resources reinventing the wheel. Get this... See more
It’s tough for government workers these days – tight budgets and high-stakes demands. How can public employees perform their best under challenging conditions? The key is to focus on engagement. But don’t waste precious time and resources reinventing the wheel. Get this book! You will appreciate the practical advice and templates. I’d also recommend this book to anyone in any type of organization who wants to start an employee survey but doesn''t know how to begin. You will find valuable step-by-step guidance covering survey design, administration, and analysis. (Disclosure: I worked with Bob Lavigna at the Partnership for Public Service).
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jhl
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Perfect Text for Workshops and Public Administration Curricula
Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2013
Engaging Government Employees is truly the most useful book available to work with the topic of motivating public sector employees. It lays out succinct steps that can be used to tailor a workshop of managers, provide either undergraduate or graduate level public... See more
Engaging Government Employees is truly the most useful book available to work with the topic of motivating public sector employees. It lays out succinct steps that can be used to tailor a workshop of managers, provide either undergraduate or graduate level public administration students background and possible exercises on the subject, and offers the reader looking for additional tools for their arsenal of techniques solid guidance.

I would recommend this book for every HR Employee Development function, or possibly for distribution to every senior executive in public sector. It is a genuine service to those who serve! I''ve just ordered another copy to give as a gift to a colleague.
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Pam Kannady
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent Resource!
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2013
I had read several of Bob Lavigna''s articles about employee engagement and was really looking forward to the publication of his book. I was not disappointed! As a career public sector human resources professional, I especially appreciate Bob''s consideration of the... See more
I had read several of Bob Lavigna''s articles about employee engagement and was really looking forward to the publication of his book. I was not disappointed! As a career public sector human resources professional, I especially appreciate Bob''s consideration of the challenges that are unique to government in his approach to improving employee engagement. This book is an excellent resource for managers at all levels of the public sector!
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nicolas joseph landry
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If you are a supervisor in the public sector, buy this book.
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2019
Wonderful book. The best book on the subject I have come across.
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Denice E Korcal
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Three Stars
Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2014
Confirmed a lot of what I''ve learned as a longtime public manager. Still hungry for more information.
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