These strategies are based on how leaders interact with staff, and the CMF-SHRM survey data suggest that subtle changes can yield benefits. When asked how important “the contribution your work has on the overall goals of the office,” 70 percent of congressional staff said it was very important, compared to 33 percent of U.S. employees in a national survey. When asked the importance of “recognition by management about your job performance,” 58 percent of congressional staff rated it as very important, but only 22 percent said they were very satisfied.
Managers and members can answer these cries for recognition and approval with simple gestures: a pizza lunch with the chief of staff and the office LCs; an email from a manager to the entire staff recognizing one employee’s outstanding performance; and more frequent thank-yous for a job well done. When CMF staff give this advice to members, they often reply, “Oh, they know I appreciate their work.”
No, they don’t, because you don’t tell them.
Bradford Fitch is the president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.