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Posted by on Jul 31, 2014

Start With Goals: Optimizing Talent in the Federal Workforce

Football in goalWith constantly changing technology to keep up with, demands for efficiency and a shortage of millenials entering their ranks, Federal leaders are under more pressure than ever to recruit and retain new talent, and get more from existing employees.

The need to optimize talent in the workforce is evident. How do you begin to assess the critical skills gaps in your workforce, and align professional development and training to agency missions and goals? And once you have a vision of what your future workforce should look like, how can you make it happen? 

My colleagues and I recommend a strategic approach in our upcoming book from Management Concepts Press, Optimizing Talent in the Federal Workforce. Here’s an excerpt:

The first step is to analyze the agency’s strategic and performance goals and determine where training could enhance the achievement of those goals. A gap analysis will identify competency discrepancies that hamper achievement of the future desired state. Some key questions to ask are:

  • To reach each goal, what competencies must the current or future workforce members possess?
  • What benchmarks can be used to create innovative approaches to reaching this goal?
  • Are there competency gaps that must be addressed to meet this goal?
  • Could training help reduce other HR problems, such as high staff turnover? (OPM, 2000)

The next step is to develop alternative strategies to close the identified gaps using both training and non-training solutions. If the conclusion of the analysis is that training solutions are necessary, then a cost-benefit analysis will be required for justification of a training program. Key questions to ask are as follows:

  • Could training address the competency gaps?
  • Are non-training strategies needed to support the training intervention?
  • What types of training should be provided (e.g., classroom, distance learning, electronic performance support, on-the-job training)?
  • Do the anticipated benefits from training outweigh the projected costs? (OPM, 2000a)

Excerpted with permission from Optimizing Talent in the Federal Workforce by William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR, CPLP Fellow; Aileen G. Zaballero, M.S.,CPLP; Jong Gyu Park, MBA. © 2014 by Management Concepts Press. All rights reserved. www.managementconcepts.com

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