OPM unveils plan to innovate the federal workforce

Leading the charge for the “People and Culture” pillar of the President’s Management Agenda, the Office of Personnel Management last week introduced its three-prong approach for creating a stronger, more engaged and more innovative federal workforce.

Key to OPM’s plan, explained Director Katherine Archuleta in a blog post, is focusing both on the workforce of today and tomorrow.

“Within this action plan, we are taking a three-pronged approach to make sure the Federal government successfully unlocks the talent of the workforce we have today and builds the workforce we need for the future,” Archuleta wrote. “Through these efforts, we believe we will be able to create a culture of excellence and engagement that will foster higher performance; an exemplary federal management team, starting with the Senior Executive Service; and innovative recruiting tools that allow agencies to attract the best talent from every segment of society.”

And many of the top-level elements of the “People and Culture” goals rely on IT to strengthen operations and management practices governmentwide.


Immediately, OPM aims to prompt increased engagement of the current federal workforce with electronic employee viewpoint surveys. Instead of using the resulting data for its own purposes, Archuleta said  OPM will give other agencies access to it in an interactive dashboard “to mine the data for insights into better engagement strategies and learn best practices for driving specific outcomes from best-in-class managers.”

OPM recently launched GovConnect, a worker exchange program, according to a progress update on Pilot programs within the Transportation Department, the Energy Department, the Social Security Administration and OPM will “allow [OPM] to test, scale and adopt new approaches to deploying talent within and across agencies, with a goal of supporting a more mobile, agile, innovative, skilled, and engaged Federal workforce,” the report said.

Leadership is another aspect important to unlocking OPM’s ideal workforce. Beginning with the senior executive service, the program will attempt to streamline management practices among agencies and offer data-gathering and analysis tools to make the recruiting and hiring process stronger. According to the report, “CIO and senior IT positions and other SES positions [are] identified as top strategic positions” in the hiring process.

And that’s perhaps the most important aspect of the workforce plan: hiring in the future. Federal agencies continue to struggle to attract the next generation of workers, unable to match many of the incentives offered in the private sector. Archuleta touched upon her desire to attract more millennials recently in another post.

“It’s no secret that we need more millennials in the Federal government,” she said. “Currently only 7% of the workforce is under the age of 30. And this sought-after demographic is a constant topic of the national conversation – their habits, their vices, their skills.”


To overcome that barrier, OPM plans to implement a more innovative, technological and efficient federal hiring toolkit. Not only will the agency better track what’s working and not working during the hiring process and use that data to make informed process changes, but it also plans to “become a full player in today’s digital employment marketplace by expanding our use of social media.”

Many of these modern workforce upgrades are underway and planned to be completed later this year or in early 2015. For instance, the interactive dashboard to increase employee engagement should be done sometime this month, and the federal hiring toolkit is slated to go live in early 2015.

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