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.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.