Federal workforce in a ‘post-recession recession,’ says morale consultant

By Andrew Mitchell
Federal News Radio

A workplace morale consultant says it’s no wonder federal workers are having trouble keeping their spirits up these days.

“It’s almost like a post-recession recession in government,” said Nan Siemer, founder of the consulting firm Breakers.

“A lot of government employees haven’t had a raise in a few years, there’s a salary freeze, a lot of them are feeling really stuck in their positions,” she explained in an appearance on the April 2 edition of For Your Benefit, heard live Mondays between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Federal News Radio.


Siemer, who has worked for or with the federal government since the 1970s, said that she has never seen feds’ morale as low as it is today.

“There are a lot of people who are dragging themselves into work right now,” she added. “A lot of them feel like they are being the scapegoat.”

A major reason for this, in Siemer’s view, is the political rhetoric directed against the federal workforce in this election season.

However, she encouraged federal workers to discount politicians’ attacks.

“Remember: politicians — omigosh! — they’re posturing right now,” she said.

Siemer cited the example of presidential candidates who are threatening to eliminate entire federal agencies. “Will this come to pass?” she asked. “Do you know how hard it is to eliminate a federal agency in this country?”

“You’ve got to ignore the political rhetoric right now and not take every word out of a politician’s mouth seriously,” Siemer said.