Max Stier, president & CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, discusses where the best places to work are in the government, and how leadership plays a role in the rankings.’
The Department of Health and Human Services and NASA are the top two places to work in the federal government, according to the annual rankings compiled by the Partnership for Public Service and the Boston Consulting Group. NASA topped the list for the seventh year in a row, while HHS climbed the ranks. The Federal Trade Commission is the top midsize agency, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service leads the small category. Max Stier, president & CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, says that agencies’ placement comes down to leadership. “It is always leaders. At the end of the day they are the ones that should view themselves as accountable. Clearly there are externalities that matter and I think you’re seeing different flavors in some sense of the same problem for those that are dropping,” Stier said. “In some instances, you have [agencies] that are dropping because they don’t have leaders in place. You think about the Merit Systems Protection Board or the Import Export Bank, where the lack of leadership means they can’t do their work… In other places, you have leaders who frankly, aren’t effectively engaging their employees. They see their job as policy development and crisis management rather than running their organization.” Stier says that while several agencies have improved, they want to keep the ball rolling. “NASA and HHS are most proud, not that they are on top, but that they keep improving. NASA has done that for 7 years. It’s really making sure the direction is right and everyone knows they have to get better or someone will overtake them,” Stier said.