4
Workforce and Human Resources

INTRODUCTION

Reclamation is a highly professional engineering organization that historically has accomplished heroic feats of water management in the 17 western states. The days of these feats are, by most accounts, over, and Reclamation is in a new era. This new era is marked by two new tasks: (1) the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of existing structures and systems and (2) the creation and nurturing of brokered agreements among a variety of players affected by the management of water resources. The two tasks are interdependent, with operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of existing structures often requiring the creation and nurturing of brokered agreements among a variety of different players. The growing need to include a broader spectrum of stakeholders, particularly groups that represent environmental issues and American Indian water rights, considerably affects how the bureau carries out its second task and the skills it requires for this.

The bureau, like other engineering organizations (e.g., USACE and TVA), faces an impending change in the workforce due to the large number of engineers and other staff who will soon retire. This change is exacerbated in Reclamation by the loss of many engineers who took early retirement in the mid-1990s. The small number of engineers graduating from engineering schools intensifies the challenge of maintaining an effective workforce.

These trends in changing skill requirements and availability of qualified personnel have interrelated implications. To some extent the impend



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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation 4 Workforce and Human Resources INTRODUCTION Reclamation is a highly professional engineering organization that historically has accomplished heroic feats of water management in the 17 western states. The days of these feats are, by most accounts, over, and Reclamation is in a new era. This new era is marked by two new tasks: (1) the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of existing structures and systems and (2) the creation and nurturing of brokered agreements among a variety of players affected by the management of water resources. The two tasks are interdependent, with operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of existing structures often requiring the creation and nurturing of brokered agreements among a variety of different players. The growing need to include a broader spectrum of stakeholders, particularly groups that represent environmental issues and American Indian water rights, considerably affects how the bureau carries out its second task and the skills it requires for this. The bureau, like other engineering organizations (e.g., USACE and TVA), faces an impending change in the workforce due to the large number of engineers and other staff who will soon retire. This change is exacerbated in Reclamation by the loss of many engineers who took early retirement in the mid-1990s. The small number of engineers graduating from engineering schools intensifies the challenge of maintaining an effective workforce. These trends in changing skill requirements and availability of qualified personnel have interrelated implications. To some extent the impend

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation ing retirements create an opportunity to hire people who have different sets of skills and to change the organizational culture. However, this opportunity is offset by the loss of senior people who have developed skills that match the new tasks, the loss of institutional memory, and the scarcity of young people with engineering skills needed for Reclamation’s tasks. Both the change in tasks and the need to recruit many new people will place a premium on training, offering Reclamation an opportunity to provide integrated training—training that tailors the engineering and managerial skills to suit the current tasks. As a leader in the sustainment and management of water resources and as an organization that plans and executes much of the necessary work, Reclamation requires a highly qualified technical and tradecraft workforce. Current bureau workforce plans also acknowledge a change in necessary workforce competencies: Like many other government entities, Reclamation has increased opportunities for its customers to participate in the direct decision-making process concerning water, power and related resources. Managers of the future will need increased skills to manage multi-agency, multi-interest teams. The success of a project will depend on the ability to forge agreements among large numbers of participants with widely diverse backgrounds and interests. (USBR, 2003, p. V-6 in Volume I) Incorporating these new competencies into existing practices for hiring, training, evaluating, and promoting will allow Reclamation to ensure systematically the appropriate shift in workforce capabilities and skills. As noted in Chapter 3, more outsourcing would mean a shift in core competencies, allowing Reclamation to become a smart buyer by combining technical and acquisition skills. WORKFORCE PLANNING Reclamation uses workforce planning as a cornerstone for the strategic management of its human capital. It completed Workforce Plan FY 2004-2008 in September 2003. The development of this plan used a rigorous, decentralized workforce planning methodology to allocate human capital with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). Each of the five Reclamation regions, the Denver Office, and the Commissioner’s Office developed individual workforce plans, which were then incorporated into the Workforce Plan FY 2004-2008. Reclamation’s workforce planning follows DOI’s workforce planning template, which has six parts:

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation Strategic direction. Sets and documents assumptions, objectives, and organizational design. Supply analysis. Describes the current workforce and assesses current workload. Demand analysis. Defines the future work of the organization and describes the needed skills and knowledge. Gap analysis. Determines differences between the current workforce and the one needed to meet the future mission. Solutions and implementation. Selects actions, tools, and interventions for addressing gaps. Evaluation. Monitors and assesses the effectiveness of implemented solutions. The following sections address Reclamation’s response to its changing mission in each part of the workforce plan. STRATEGIC DIRECTION Reclamation functions as a decentralized organization. However, the PMTS in Denver and the five regions rely on the Commissioner’s Office for policy and guidance on workforce planning. In the mid-1990s, the structure of the workforce changed dramatically in reaction to the change in mission, from water resource development to water resource management. As noted in Chapter 2, there is no universal understanding of functions to be performed, of standards to be applied, or of authority, responsibility, and accountability at each level within Reclamation. Strategic direction is Reclamation’s most significant deficiency in the workforce planning process. The following is a discussion of significant issues that need to be considered. The bureau is heavily influenced by its focus on solving engineering problems. As employees talk about their work, the difference between the way they talk about specific engineering problems and the way they talk about more amorphous problems, including multiple stakeholders with different perspectives, is unmistakable. The engineering work is clearly exciting and energizing; the people problems are not. An important aspect is the growing need to collaborate with multiple stakeholders and to take multiple perspectives into consideration. As a result, bureau employees are faced with problems that entail considerable ambiguity. The committee has analyzed the kinds of tasks that bureau employees engage in from the standpoint of uncertainty and ambiguity, which are related but fundamentally different. “Uncertainty can be resolved by obtaining certain specifiable pieces of information” (Feldman, 1989, pp. 4-5). Uncertainty is endemic to engineering problems (Vaughan, 1995). Indeed,

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation it is often the uncertainty that makes an engineering problem challenging, and it is part of what makes solving the problem satisfying. Creating huge new dams involves a myriad of uncertainties. The committee observed examples of how obtaining information reduces uncertainties, such as (1) figuring out the least costly and most effective way to stop seepage from Horsetooth Dam and (2) developing solutions to the problem of mitten crabs clogging the Tracy fish screen and pumping station. Some uncertainties are more readily and immediately resolvable than others. There is often uncertainty about future effects. Thus, we do not know what impact a new dam will have on an endangered species, but we know what information we can gather to assess this impact. Note that specifying the information does not imply that the cost of obtaining the information is reasonable or even that the information is obtainable. Sometimes, instead of gathering the information directly, we estimate or predict what the information is likely to be. Ambiguity, on the other hand, is “the state of having many ways of thinking about the same circumstances or phenomena” (Feldman, 1989, p. 5). Specific pieces of information will not resolve ambiguity. Indeed, though gathering information is often necessary in the face of ambiguity, more information often increases the ambiguity rather than decreasing it. The appropriate balance between environmental concerns and economic concerns is an ambiguous issue. There is no right answer. Answers are matters of interpretation and will vary depending on one’s perspective. Some of the uncertainties in solving engineering problems are fundamentally irresolvable (Vaughan, 1995). The appropriate balance between cost and safety, for instance, is often sought in engineering projects and is certainly an important issue in building and repairing dams. Vaughan describes engineering work as “guided by a system of flexible rules tailored and retailored to suit an evolving knowledge base” (Vaughn, 1995, p. 203). Ambiguity increases exponentially, however, when different knowledge bases as well as different values are involved. Thus, multiple stakeholders agreeing on trade-offs involves much more ambiguity than figuring out how to implement the trade-offs that are agreed upon. The tasks that the bureau engages in can be roughly divided into engineering tasks and resource management tasks, where the former involve less ambiguity than the latter. Table 4-1 summarizes the difference between engineering tasks and resource management tasks. In Reclamation, two factors are influencing the changes in workforce requirements. One is that an increasing amount of the bureau’s work involves forging agreements between multiple stakeholders. The other is that the increasing proportion of work that involves uncertainty also requires many stakeholders to agree in order to take action and evaluate outcomes. To be effective in the face of these changes, the bureau needs to

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation TABLE 4-1 Engineering and Resource Management Tasks Engineering Tasks Resource Management Tasks Technically complex Socially and politically complex End points relatively well defined Open ended Agreed-upon methods Appropriate methods subject to disagreement and negotiation Relatively well-defined set of stakeholders Fluid stakeholders Well-defined problem Problem definition subject to interpretation and negotiation Standards for evaluating solutions relatively clear Standards for evaluating solutions vary across stakeholders accommodate them by the ways it organizes work, recruits workers, and structures incentives for employees. The changes in workforce requirements have implications for both leadership and management. Leadership is concerned with setting direction and defining the organizational culture and its mission. Management is concerned with what needs to be done to accomplish the organization’s mission. Implications for Leadership Leadership involves actions to influence what bureau personnel think the organization is supposed to do (i.e., the organization’s vision), as well as how it is perceived by others and how it perceives itself in relation to others (i.e., its image). Whether the bureau solves engineering problems or leads processes of collaboration makes a big difference for both the vision and the image. The committee’s interviews with Reclamation personnel indicated that substantial institutional memory has been lost in recent years through retirement. Two things are lost: knowledge of specific engineering projects and knowledge of stakeholders. The latter knowledge is not just knowledge of who the stakeholders are but an understanding of their perspectives and, even more important, the relationships of trust that have built up over years of interaction. Reclamation’s roles are evolving. At the same time as an increasing proportion of work is essentially negotiation and communication, there is still a role for Reclamation to play in more traditional engineering projects, such as repairing aging infrastructure and dams. Reclamation needs to

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation have both kinds of skills, but it is not clear whether the vision is that these skills will be integrated within individuals or within the organization. If they are to be integrated within individuals, hiring will have to reflect this goal. If they are to be integrated within the organization, efforts will have to be made to value both kinds of skills and enable groups with different skills to communicate with one another. How the bureau perceives itself in relation to other stakeholders is another aspect of leadership. Although the committee’s discussions with Reclamation employees revealed generally high morale, some employees expressed a sense of victimization and resignation more than a sense of empowerment. They seemed to feel they had an impossible task and would be held responsible for not accomplishing it. This relates directly to the change in the kinds of tasks that need to be accomplished in Reclamation and the difficulty in recognizing the tasks and acknowledging how they are going. Communication from the leadership needs to cover a wide range of activities and is critical to the successful implementation of all of Reclamation’s existing programs. For instance, having a communications plan for ongoing A-76 competitive outsourcing efforts is necessary to reinforce strategic direction from the Commissioner’s Office and to allay anxiety among the staff due to a lack of information. The need for more structured communication to educate new management staff will continue to increase as attrition through retirements of senior personnel peaks in 2009. Adequate funding of communications programs in both the Commissioner’s Office and Human Resources (HR) will be critical for conveying strategic direction as well as for the effective use of existing HR programs. Implications for Management There are two broad models for taking action in the public arena in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. One is primarily oriented to enabling action in the face of uncertainty; the other to enabling action in the face of ambiguity. Adaptive Management Adaptive management is a model oriented to enabling action in the face of uncertainty. It has been used in a variety of fields but is most common in the field of environmental policy (Hollings, 1978). This model promotes the use of quasi-experiments as part of the policy process (Jacobs and Westcoat, 2002). It involves taking action while there is still considerable uncertainty about outcomes but designing the action so that it can be

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation monitored and adjusted as its effects become more clearly understood. “Management policies are designed to be flexible and are subject to adjustment in an iterative social learning process (Lee, 1999)” (NRC, 2004, p. 20). While there is no exact formula for adaptive management, its elements generally include these (NRC, 2004, pp. 24-27): Management objectives that are regularly revisited and accordingly revised. A model(s) of the system being managed. A range of management choices. Monitoring and evaluation of outcomes. A mechanism for incorporating learning into future decisions. A collaborative structure for stakeholder participation and learning. Inclusive Management Inclusive management is primarily oriented to enabling action in the face of ambiguity. This approach is defined as (1) a continuous iterative process that helps to create an inclusive community of participation and (2) a collective process in which a wide range of perspectives plays a role in policy making and implementation (Feldman and Khademian, 2000, 2005). The model is based on understanding the importance of combining multiple perspectives in problem-solving efforts. A rich literature explores the potential of public management directly engaged with the public to enhance the quality of public programs and strengthen democratic practices (Roberts, 2004). Consistent with this premise, managers of inclusion endeavor to facilitate the participation of a broad array of stakeholders, to put all possible options on the table, and to give stakeholders an opportunity to come to common agreement on issues of ambiguity. In the committee’s discussions with the TVA, USACE, and DWR, all three organizations provided support for this or a similar approach. The TVA provided a textbook case of this kind of management in its development of priorities for revised reservoir operating plans. USACE and DWR provided more abstract support for the necessity of an inclusive approach to water resources management. SUPPLY ANALYSIS Workforce Plan FY 2004-2008 provides an excellent method for analyzing the supply of human capital (USBR, 2003). Over the past decade, Reclamation’s workforce has been reduced by more than 25 percent, with the most significant portion of the reduction having taken place during

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation FIGURE 4-1 Distribution of Reclamation personnel by age, end of FY 2002. SOURCE: USBR, 2003. the 1994 reorganization. The reduction has been in response to the change of mission, from water resources development to water resources management. Reclamation’s current workforce of approximately 5,900 is primarily male (65 percent), middle-aged (average age 47), white (84 percent), college-educated, professional/technical, full-time (95 percent), and permanent (93 percent). These demographics reflect those of similar private industry organizations, except that Reclamation’s average age is higher (see Figure 4-1). Reclamation anticipates approximately 7 percent annual attrition in the permanent workforce (just under half is due to retirement) and 100 percent annual attrition in temporary workforce; it also expects workforce size and occupational profile to remain relatively stable over the next 5 years (no major restructuring is currently planned). Every year approximately 400 permanent and 400 temporary employees must be hired, primarily to address attrition. A large portion of Reclamation’s workforce is nearing retirement. The workforce will be further challenged because recruiting has been heavily targeted to new graduates and there are few employees in a position to take over the responsibilities of senior personnel as they retire. The bureau now needs to keep senior expertise long enough to allow the transfer of knowledge, with one way of doing this being to use experienced con-

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation sultants. A policy making it clear that retention of institutional knowledge is crucial for Reclamation would facilitate the use of retirees for mentoring and training of young personnel and provide a secondary benefit of supplementing the workforce when necessary. DEMAND ANALYSIS The five regional offices and PMTS in Denver have based their analysis of future workloads on anticipated future budgets. The Commissioner’s Office has described out-year budgets as flat or declining. The regions and the Denver offices believe they are adequately staffed given the expectation of flat or declining budgets and limited change to Reclamation’s current mission. Thus, Reclamation is predicting little change to its workforce needs in terms of either quantity or occupational profile. This demand analysis is deficient in a variety of ways, three of which are discussed in this section. First, the competencies required to forge agreements among large numbers of participants with very diverse backgrounds and interests have not been systematically identified in the demand analysis. Second, the call for increased outsourcing of nongovernmental functions, such as facility O&M functions and noncritical engineering and science functions, to comply with the President’s management objectives needs to be considered. Third, the shift from new construction to O&M tasks has not been fully incorporated into the structure of the workforce. Forging Agreements Reclamation employees are engaged in many efforts that require technical expertise in forging agreements. For example, creating water management plans for multiple integrated facilities in a watershed is an activity that takes place in all regions. Another example is the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP), referred to in Chapter 3. MSCP is a coordinated, comprehensive, long-term, multiagency effort to conserve and recover endangered species and to protect and maintain wildlife habitat on the lower Colorado River. This program involves a 35-member steering committee, three states, and 40 customer representatives. For Reclamation to manage water resources effectively, it needs to immediately define the necessary expertise and draw up a plan to cultivate a highly collaborative staff who can troubleshoot problems, provide adequate direction to contractors, and manage risks associated with critical infrastructure and resources.

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation Outsourcing Workforce Plan FY 2004-2008 does not contemplate any major shifts in workforce. Reclamation, however, is required to assess positions according to criteria established in OMB Circular A-76. As noted in Chapter 3, a strict reading of A-76 would likely find only a limited number of inherently governmental functions being performed by Reclamation’s TSC and regional staff and would probably alter the demand analysis accordingly. Project Management While Reclamation will continue to have a sizable construction program over the next several years, clearly the mix of projects is changing. The era of megaprojects like the Hoover, Grand Coulee, and Glen Canyon dams is over, and the trend in new construction projects is to more but smaller projects for water storage and distribution systems. In addition, improvements in technology offer opportunities to increase efficiency through replacement or modification of existing equipment. This work is now done partly with in-house forces and partly by contract, depending on personnel availability and capability. As experienced craft personnel retire, the proportion of work contracted out will undoubtedly increase. While the fundamental technical skills and procedures for managing O&M projects are the same as those for new construction projects, better social and political skills are required to advance multiagency, multi-interest projects. The owner’s role in planning, design, and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) functions requires some different expertise, which is, however, already resident in Reclamation. Accordingly, the need for personnel with planning, design, construction management, and project management skills will continue indefinitely despite the notion that Reclamation construction is over. Because of increased outsourcing, successful completion of Reclamation’s mission will also require the integration of acquisition skills with technical, managerial, and collaboration skills. GAP ANALYSIS Gap analysis is a determination of the difference between the number of employees currently on board and the number that are needed. When these two are correctly specified, gap analysis is straightforward. Reclamation’s gap analysis identifies the following trends: The workforce is expected to remain relatively constant in both size and profile.

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation The annual attrition rate is anticipated to be about 7 percent of the permanent workforce. The annual attrition of the temporary workforce is anticipated to be 100 percent. Accordingly, there is an average annual workforce gap of approximately 400 permanent employees and 400 temporary employees. Deficiencies in the demand analysis make gap analysis problematic. The problems are due to a failure to accommodate the change in needed competences that comes from (1) a likely increase in outsourcing and (2) the continuing shift of mission from water resource development to water resource management. These changes in needed competencies will require a change in hiring, training, evaluation, and promotion. Engineering and resource management KSAs need to be integrated. Integration can occur in a number of ways: Within individuals Across individuals, within units Functionally organized Hierarchically organized Across units Functionally organized Hierarchically organized Integration within individuals means finding people with both engineering and resource management skills. The following strategies would be useful: Identify specific KSAs appropriate for resource management tasks (e.g., conflict resolution, negotiation, knowledge of water rights legislation, and environmental background) and recruit engineers with these KSAs. Work with engineering programs to develop appropriate curricula that prepare engineers for resource management tasks. Provide in-house training in resource management KSAs. The alternative to recruiting or developing personnel who have all the necessary KSAs is to develop teams whose combined KSAs fit the bill. A team approach requires individual efforts to be integrated within units or across units, which implies a greater reliance on collaborative processes. The likelihood of successful collaboration is enhanced by techniques such as the development of boundary objects that create opportunities to understand different perspectives (Feldman and Khademian,

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation 2005). Boundary objects can be artifacts, documents, or vocabulary that are shared but interpreted differently by the different communities. The acknowledgement and discussion of these differences enables a shared understanding. An “effective boundary object facilitates a process where individuals can jointly transform their knowledge” (Carlile, 2002). Research has shown how boundary objects enable people with different perspectives to come to know something in common (Carlile, 2002). SOLUTIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION Reclamation has several human resource initiatives under way to meet anticipated recruitment and retention goals. This section reviews the tools and techniques of those initiatives and discusses how they could be used to even better effect. Hiring The Department of the Interior, including Reclamation, is currently taking action to streamline and enhance its recruitment process by centralizing legal and data management and candidate tracking for the recruitment process. Reclamation has recognized centralized candidate tracking as a key to improving the efficiency of its recruiting process. Additionally, Reclamation is evaluating programs such as QuickHire, a Web-based automated recruiting system, to speed the recruiting process and to push hiring authority to the lowest appropriate level. The actual recruiting of personnel is generally decentralized, with each of the five regions maintaining its own recruiter. Each region and the service organizations in Denver are responsible for balancing their own staff and workload. An ad hoc recruitment task force with representatives from each region, Denver, and the Commissioner’s Office has been assembled to act on critical/difficult hires Reclamation-wide. Reclamation has several programs at its disposal both to make it more visible to potential candidates and to keep it competitive within the market when filling critical positions. The Student Career Employment Program and its companion, the Student Temporary Employment Program, bring college students to the worksite for training, exposing potential recruits to Reclamation and at the same time allowing Reclamation to evaluate them. Reclamation has actively used the programs and reported good results. The regions told the committee that they would like to see more aggressive use of the Federal Career Intern Program. Reclamation has yet to outline the types of positions and responsibilities it envisions for this 2-year internship program. Recruiting midcareer professionals is another promising avenue for

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation acquiring technical as well as managerial competencies. The federal government can offer a competitive salary and is seen by personnel with several years of technical and management experience in the private sector as an attractive employer. Reclamation uses recruitment bonuses, relocation bonuses, and student loan repayment programs to remain competitive in the market when filling critical positions. These inducements currently require Commissioner’s Office approval. Regional staff said that it is too difficult and time-consuming to implement these programs and that they may be constrained by a lack of funds. All of these tools work well to ensure that people are hired, but it is not clear that they are being used systematically to bring Reclamation the new competencies necessitated by the change from water resources development to water resources management. The bureau needs to be more disciplined in defining the required competencies and to include them in the profiling and screening processes. The committee notes that in Workforce Plan FY 2004-2008, only one region (Mid-Pacific) specifically related competencies to job categories. Without such efforts, it is difficult to tell where new competencies are required and to track whether the need for new competencies is being assessed on a regular basis. A structured interviewing approach might also allow newly identified competencies to be sought out in the recruitment process. A structured process would provide an organized and comprehensive system to identify critical competencies for particular positions, evaluate a candidate’s past performance to predict future performance, teach interviewers effective interviewing techniques, and provide for organized data exchange between multiple interviewers. Training and Mentoring Reclamation has traditionally been an engineering- and science-driven organization. As such, training has been heavily focused on basic technical competencies. The success of Reclamation’s mission to manage water resources will more and more depend on the bureau’s ability to solve problems through consensus, requiring an increased emphasis on training and the retention of staff with collaborative competencies at all levels of the organization. Additionally, as the bureau more directly attempts to determine the right mix between contractor and in-house support, it should also ensure that in-house staff has the overall technical expertise to be able to monitor contractor performance effectively. Reclamation has many managers who require extensive training to perform the contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR) function, and it should reassess its existing career development programs to make sure

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation that they provide this training. Moreover it should explicitly recognize the important strategic role of the COTR in accomplishing the mission. The type of training will depend on how the engineering and resource management competencies are to be integrated. One kind of training will provide engineers with collaborative skills; another will provide teams of people with the skills to work together effectively. On a limited basis, Reclamation uses individual development plans (IDPs) to identify training needs for specific individuals. Additionally, IDPs improve employee retention and morale by engaging supervisors and employees in a mentoring and planning process that promotes professional development consistent with the bureau’s strategic direction. IDPs become the communication link that synchronizes organizational goals and needs with employee capabilities. Reclamation should mandate the use of IDPs to improve overall communication, to allocate resources, to take better advantage of personnel KSAs, and to plan for training. Reclamation has recognized the graying of its workforce, and its current workforce plans incorporate ways to maintain and transfer specialized knowledge and skills to younger members of the workforce. Reclamation has the good fortune of having a skilled and dedicated senior workforce. Many of its employees are working beyond the time they are eligible to retire. Reclamation has been successfully using retention bonuses to keep the services of key senior personnel who are eligible for retirement. As an alternative, Reclamation employees in jeopardy of reducing their retirement benefits by delaying retirement have entered into postretirement contracts with Reclamation. Taking advantage of this situation requires coordination between Human Resources and Contracting to accommodate the potential for increased outsourcing to retirees. Both approaches are allowing Reclamation additional time to hire and train new personnel as incumbents retire. The committee learned that Reclamation has had a program for rotating the assignments of new hires, but that the program has been largely abandoned because of cost constraints. Such a rotation program can provide a broad range of experience and help to develop collaborative competencies. The committee believes that Reclamation should restart these rotations and that the assignments should entail a variety of technical experiences, including construction, and offer opportunities to engage in making policy and forging agreements. The program can be used as a tool for recruiting, training, and mentoring, as well as for enhancing retention. In the past, Reclamation has been a leading member of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage and the International Commission on Large Dams and very a strong supporter of both. International activities have been considerably scaled back and currently consist of technical assistance programs in Iraq (river basin modeling) and Israel (dam

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation safety) and hosting international workshops on integrated water resources management, modern methods in canal operation and control, and dam safety operation and maintenance. The international unit also assists the U.S. Virgin Islands with environmental assessment. International activities not only enhance Reclamation’s prestige but are also a valuable tool for recruitment, training, mentoring, and retention and should be considered for future funding. Employee Motivation Employee motivation is an important part of managing any organization. The challenge presented by the shift in Reclamation’s tasks is how to motivate employees who gain satisfaction from creating things and solving technical problems to also gain satisfaction from negotiating complex social arrangements. A strategy of “small wins,” described below, seems appropriate for managing the complex social tasks that Reclamation is called on to perform. Karl Weick (1984) argued that shifting attention from outcomes to inputs may be a useful way to bring out the best in people’s problemsolving abilities. The psychological research described by Weick shows that there is a U-shaped relationship between the physiological states that accompany stress and anxiety (arousal) and those associated with performance efficiency and that the optimal level of arousal varies inversely with the difficulty of the task—that is, a very difficult task calls for very low stress. When people become too stressed, coping responses become more primitive (Staw et al., 1981, summarized in Weick, 1984). People tend to process fewer cues and revert to earlier, often less finely tuned ways of coping. Breaking problems down into smaller, more manageable chunks enables people to attend to the problem in ways that enhance their problem-solving abilities. Weick argued that this will not only bring out the best in the people working on the problem but will also lead to “wins” that can be built upon. This small win strategy seems very much applicable to the issues confronting Reclamation’s employees. Confronted with the complex problems currently facing the bureau, any reasonable person would throw up his or her hands. Responsibility for an overall outcome appears beyond reach for a single individual. Responsibility for some features of an overall process, however, might not only be manageable but also interesting and fun. Features of the process might include engaging in a series of stakeholder analyses (Bryson, 2004) or facilitating opportunities for stakeholders to communicate with one another (Crosby and Bryson, 1992). Another aspect of such small wins is that they provide opportunities for celebrating successes. These opportunities are important for a number

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation of reasons. First, being able to celebrate a success in the midst of a complex process gives management a chance to reward employees. Research has shown that public employees, more than employees in the private sector, are motivated by the opportunity to help and to influence public affairs (Rainey, 1997, p. 210ff). Small wins can help people see the impact they are having on complex negotiations. Extrinsic rewards, such as salary and incentive pay are also important. Again, the strategy of small wins enables managers to acknowledge gains through extrinsic rewards. Second, celebrating successes can also be helpful in creating better relations with stakeholders. Small wins let people become engaged in an effort that makes sense in the short term and that develops a strong track record for them over the long term. Performance Evaluation and Promotion Performance evaluations that specifically target collaborative as well as technical competencies are currently applied to Senior Executive Service staff. Similar evaluations should be used for a broader set of employees in order to encourage the development of these competencies throughout the organization. A technically oriented individual can move up through the organization in two ways: (1) by staying on a technical track, the individual can move from being a local resource to becoming a regional or even bureauwide resource and (2) by developing more collaborative competencies, the individual can move to managerial and leadership positions. EVALUATION Reclamation summarized the recommendations of its workforce plan in an action item format to allow monitoring their implementation. The 13 action items described the issues and goals, identified the sponsor and team members, and provided a schedule for implementation. The committee has no information about the current status of the 13 action items; however, it applauds Reclamation for taking this approach and believes that it will help human resources management. REFERENCES Bryson, John M. 2004. “What to do when stakeholders matter.” Public Management Review 6(1): 21-53. Carlile, Paul R. 2002. “A pragmatic view of knowledge and boundaries: Boundary objects in new product development.” Organization Science 13(4): 442-455. Crosby, Barbara C., and John M. Bryson. 1992. Leadership for the Common Good: Tackling Public Problems in a Shared Power World. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

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Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation Feldman, Martha S. 1989. Order Without Design. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Feldman, Martha S., and Anne M. Khademian. 2000. “Management for inclusion: Balancing control with participation.” International Public Management Journal 3(2): 149-168. Feldman, Martha S., and Anne M. Khademian. 2005. “Role of managers in inclusive management.” Paper for National Public Management Conference. Holling, C.S., ed. 1978. Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management. New York, N.Y.: John Wiley and Sons. Jacobs, J.W., and J.L. Wescoat, Jr. 2002. “Managing river resources: Lessons from Glen Canyon Dam.” Environment 44(2): 21-31. Lee, K.N. 1999. “Appraising adaptive management.” Conservation Ecology 3(2): 3. National Research Council (NRC). 2004. Adaptive Management for Water Resources: Project Planning. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Rainey, Hal G. 1997. Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, 2nd edition. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Roberts, Nancy. 2004. “Public deliberation in an age of direct citizen participation.” American Review of Public Administration 34(4): 315-353. Staw, Barry M., Lloyd E. Sandelands, and Jane E. Dutton. 1981. “Threat-rigidity effects in organizational behavior: A multi-level analysis.” Administrative Science Quarterly 26: 501-524. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). 2003. Workforce Plan FY 2004-2008: Volume I and Volume II. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Interior. Vaughan, Diane. 1995. The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance at NASA. Chicago, Ill.: The University of Chicago Press. Weick, Karl E. 1984. “Small wins: Redefining the scale of social problems.” American Psychologist 39(1): 40-49.