Federal Manager's Daily Report

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A new MSPB publication underscores the importance of the different ways federal employees fit, or don’t, in their work, adding that it is not a one-time consideration for management.

The article follows a white paper MSPB published last year finding that job fit is an important indicator of employee engagement, which in turn has benefits to management including better program results and lower rates of employee usage of sick leave, EEO complaints and injury and illness compensation claims.


That report broke job fit into three categories: the fit between the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the individual with the demands of the job (demand-abilities job fit); the degree to which the job aligns with a person’s beliefs about who they are or who they want to be (self-concept job fit); and the degree to which the job fulfills an individual’s daily material and psychological needs (needs-supplies job fit). It found the highest level of fit in the first category, largely due to the way the hiring process works, and said that agencies should focus attention in particular on the second and third measure.

“Though self-concept fit seems harder to attain than demand-abilities fit, the federal government should have some leverage in this area. Previous survey results have shown that vast majorities of Federal employees believe the work they do is important, personally identify with the mission of their agencies, and are highly motivated to serve the public. These factors likely contribute to better self-concept job fit.”

“As most federal supervisors or employees have little control over pay and benefits decisions, our needs-supplies measure focuses mostly on the psychological needs of employees. Designing jobs or job tasks, or providing more autonomy to help hold the interest of employees could pay dividends for organizations,” it says.

It added that how employees relate to their work is not static but evolves along with changes in the job, turnover coworkers and supervisors and the employee’s personal changes.

“What remains constant is that people interact with their work in at least three important ways. As employees constantly reevaluate how, and even if, they fit with the work they are doing, so too must organizational leaders reevaluate how work is designed; how employees are hired, trained, and developed; and how employee performance is managed to maximize fit between the work to be done and those doing the work,” it says.

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