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In a previous CMF survey conducted with the Society for Human Resource Management, staff were asked about aspects of their work contributing to job satisfaction. While 70 percent noted that communication between employees and senior management was “very important,” only 22 percent said they were “very satisfied.” It is especially important for the member to appreciate his/her power to enhance employee retention and satisfaction through interaction. More regular performance feedback, both formal and informal, or just the occasional “thank you” is the best, low-cost strategy to enhance performance and retention.
Finally, the biggest obstacle to employing these strategies will be the toughest to overcome: the member. Politicians hate saying no, and they have high expectations for themselves and the people they hire. But having that uncomfortable conversation with the legislator, asking what the office will not do, is the most critical component to adapting to these major changes to the office environment.
Bradford Fitch is the president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation and a former congressional staffer.