Straight Talk from Al Jacobs
HOW TO LURE TOP TALENT
The title of the article by Mark Landsbaum, staff columnist for The Orange County Register, is certainly provocative: “Why government doesn’t lure top talent.” He reasons that competent persons won’t serve an employer which doesn’t function as a business, claiming that government operates “. . . by myriad factors divorced from supply and demand and customer satisfaction.” He then claims “Government is largely oblivious to the obligations and expectations of the private sector.”
Mr. Landsbaum and I must live in different worlds. Over the years, the Department of Motor Vehicles has renewed my driver’s license and registered my vehicles efficiently. The post office at which I receive my mail functions dependably; the postal clerk couldn’t be more accommodating. Even the IRS, which conducted several tax audits on my returns over the past three decades, always treated me fairly. The private sector is another matter. Dealing with the loan departments of major banks can often resemble keelhauling. On health, my past affiliation with a “highly regarded” HMO can be declared successful only in that my wife and I escaped with our lives.
The real distinction is not government vs. private, but large vs. small. Organizations which make high-handed decisions without direct input from those affected can do so more easily than when face-to-face involvement is possible. I’ve found those government employees who deal intimately with the citizens they serve are among the finest.
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