Category Archives: Seminars

Labor Relations

Robbie Kunreuther has helped clients form labor-management partnerships/forums that have endured for more than a decade. His clients know that the adversarial systems from 5 USC Chapter 71 are available, yet choose to invest in communication and cooperation rather than grievances and unfair labor practice charges. Robbie has also facilitated collective bargaining agreement negotiations which allowed the parties to move through issues faster and with greater clarity.

Once a Labor Relations Specialist who negotiated with and litigated against unions, Robbie has come to appreciate the fact that labor-management cooperation saves money. Understanding Federal Labor Relations covers labor law as supervisors, managers, union officials actually use it. From the statutory rights of management, union and employees to topics like conditions of employment, formal discussions, and unfair labor practices this seminar seeks to be more pragmatic than legalistic.

Most clients have Robbie present Understanding Federal Labor Relations to audiences from both sides of the table – something he’s been doing since the late 1980s. GPS also has off-the-shelf seminars that cover the particulars of labor management partnerships/forums and interest-based bargaining. Robbie ensures that folks have fun while learning how labor law looks at ground level. If it’s your agency invested in training that brings union and management closer together, consider GPS.

Difficult Employees

Dealing with Performance and Conduct Issues is a two-day seminar which focuses on just 5-10% of a Federal agency’s workforce.  It offers supervisors, managers and union officials a look behind the HR curtain – showing how such problems can be successfully addressed.  This class moves from the traditional approaches involving reprimands, suspensions, and performance improvement plans to more modern methods like mediation, written requirements, and durable agreements.

Robbie Kunreuther had the unpleasant task of firing civil service employees whose performance or behavior couldn’t be corrected.  He understands why managers would rather avoid such traumatic decisions and how employees should be accountable for their own employment success or failure.  Dealing with Performance and Conduct Issues focuses on correcting the problem in the most practical time frame with the least amount of documentation.

Because these cases are so likely to result in litigation, the class covers how cases are won and lost when challenged.  Robbie represented the government before the Merit Systems Protection Board, labor arbitrators and the EEOC.  He explodes common myths, focuses on the possible, and explodes common myths – while focusing on a competent, hard-working majority that needs to be relieved of workplace distractions.

For agencies located in North America, Dealing with Performance and Conduct Issues costs $8,000 (inclusive of materials and expenses) for a group of up to 30 participants.  Classes in Hawaii and Guam cost $8,800.  This seminar results in huge cost savings if just 1-2 people attending leave with a plan they had never believed possible before coming.  Call or e-mail Robbie for a course agenda and other details.

Performance Appraisals

Performance Appraisal is the subject most supervisors, managers, and HR Specialists avoid like plague.  It seems as if all about forms, time frames, and limiting high ratings.  Meanwhile, supervisors have to manage a conversation which centers on judging people’s value and talent.  Government Personnel Services’ seminar Making Sense of Federal Performance Appraisals takes an approach to performance appraisals agencies won’t find elsewhere.  Robbie focuses on using “critical elements” and “performance standards” as a personalized way of communicating expectations of excellence and improvement.

Typically, appraisals focus on weasel-worded generics.  Expectations are couched in terms that mean little and influence no one.  GPS shows supervisors and managers how they can tailor performance elements and standards to individuals in ways that encourage them to new and better work habits.  Robbie believes that mediocre employees need to see and understand what they must do to become better, better to become best, and best to be challenged for years ahead.  In this way, the time devoted to appraisals will be considered and investment.

The Code of Federal Regulations tells agencies that, “…performance standard may include, but is not limited to, quality, quantity, timeliness, and manner of performance.”  GPS has found over decades that developing appraisal criteria using “manner of performance” as a guide can result in clearer communication, expectations that mean something, and (most of all) better individual performance in the coming year.

Feel free to contact Robbie for more information about the seminar Making Sense of Federal Performance Appraisals.  This seminar is taught in a 2 or 3-day format.  You can also request a course agenda and/or read some of his many articles on the subject by scanning the “Published Materials” page on this site.  No other training on evaluations is like it and none offer specific, step-by-step approaches to writing sensible appraisal criteria.