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Tidying Up

A candid survey on what reorganization can do for Federal agencies


Driven by budgetary constraints, federal government managers are considering reorganization at the agency or program level according to a new study by the Government Business Council (GBC) and Deloitte.  But, while more than half (51 percent) attribute reorganization to limited financial resources, a mere 29 percent say their agency is equipped to manage the human capital effects of a reorganization.

The report, “Tidying Up: What Reorganization Can Do for Federal Agencies,” assesses the perceptions and experiences of federal employees regarding potential department-, agency-, and program-level reorganizations and consolidations. The study is based on focus group and survey data collected from senior-level federal employees from the GS/GM level 11.

The research shows that the resources and skills required for an effective reorganization are not readily available in many agencies.  Only 35 percent of respondents considering reorganization say their group possesses the necessary internal skills and resources to monitor and evaluate the effects of reorganization.  

Additional key report findings include:

  • Federal managers are familiar with reorganization. More than 90 percent of survey participants experienced reorganization at the department/agency or program/office level.
  • Respondents report past reorganizations produced less than effective results due to poor communication from leadership (76 percent) and employee resistance (63 percent).
  • Despite the challenges that complicate reorganization, focus group participants still consider it worthwhile. Recommendations include having a well-developed plan and communicating it clearly and quickly to stakeholders, and ensuring effective oversight and monitoring throughout the entire process.  

“Though the federal government has specific challenges when it comes to reorganization, there are successes stories and best practices at the state and local level, and also in the non-profit and private sector that can help federal agencies achieve positive outcomes, ” said John Powers, principal, and global merger and acquisition consulting services leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Government leaders will be looking to align assets to priorities so they can grow internal capability while still effectively executing the agency mission. A well-planned and executed reorganization can help accomplish those goals.”

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