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Posted by on Jul 22, 2017

Keep a Proactive HR Approach in the Face of Reform

Keep a Proactive HR Approach in the Face of Reform

A team discusses proactive solutions

It is a busy time to be a Federal HR professional. Budgets and staffs are shaking up—it’s an uncertain feeling throughout the workforce, but not one without opportunities.

On April 12, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum requiring agencies to submit, by the end of June, high-level Agency Reform Plans and identify ways to maximize employee performance.

With this deadline in the rearview mirror, agencies face tough choices about how best to accomplish strategic initiatives while supporting the administration’s goals of improving efficiency, eliminating redundant programs, and reducing the size of the Federal workforce.

For Federal HR professionals, the challenge is to assess and acquire talent, retain and develop top talent already on staff, and support professional growth for all, while recognizing that an overall reduction in the talent pool is on the horizon.

Though the OMB is still reviewing draft reform plans, agencies cannot afford to wait around for further direction.

There are plenty of options available to HR professionals to take ownership of the situation, and play the role of Federal HR business partner like never before:

Review vacant positions. In addition to keeping job descriptions current, a thorough review of openings ensures that the positions targeted are in alignment with current and future mission-critical needs.

Assess the proficiency levels of the current workforce. By creating or reviewing competency models for the organization, HR professionals can identify gaps in skills and experience needed for mission-critical programs. This also helps with intervention plans for developing proficiency with current employees.

Communicate with agency stakeholders about Performance Improvement Plans (PIP). With increased demands for accountability and transparency with employee performance, HR professionals need to ensure PIP data is up-to-date and communicated to agency leadership.

Regardless of what guidance comes from OMB this fall, agencies stand to benefit from taking a refreshed, proactive approach to workforce planning. With workforce reductions (aka reduction in workforce, or RIF) on the way, it becomes even more critical to retain and develop talented employees, and developing personnel from within ensures strategic initiatives are kept on track.

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