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Posted by on Sep 25, 2014

It’s Time for Your Fiscal New Year’s Resolutions

new-years-resolutionThe tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back more than 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians who made promises to earn favor of the gods and start the new year off right. Today, most New Year’s resolutions represent a chance for individuals to set goals, establish their focus for the coming year, and chart a course to self-improvement and success for the next 365 days.

With the end of the Federal Government’s Fiscal Year upon us, I thought it might be a great time to think about another set of New Year’s resolutions — resolutions focused on improving the performance of your Federal Agency in Fiscal Year 2015.

Here are a few hints to help you focus your thinking around performance when crafting resolutions for the New Fiscal Year:

  • Use available data to identify areas in need of improvement
    Most Federal agencies have a great deal of data that could inform decisions on investments for professional development. Whether it’s the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) or enrollment data from the agency’s learning management system, take a look at trends in satisfaction, engagement, or participation as indicators of areas in need of improvement.
  • Align with your agency’s strategic plan
    Thanks to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), all agencies have a set of identified strategic objectives and initiatives. Those things represent the priorities for the agency and provide a roadmap for any performance improvement investment. Review your agency goals and objectives for FY 2015 on your agency website or at and think critically about how your resolution aligns with your agencies’ strategic plan and priorities.
  • Examine the composition of the workforce
    Much has been written about the number of Federal employees who are, or will soon become retirement eligible. With a renewed focus on implementing phased retirement, now is a good time to take a look at the potential critical competency gaps your agency may face if individuals begin to retire. Use what you know about mission critical job functions to build a progressive succession planning and workforce development strategy that you can begin implementing in the coming FY.
  • Review data on existing programs
    OPM requires organizations to collect participant evaluation data on training courses and programs. Review the feedback you are getting from agency personnel on the quality of the training they receive and how relevant the training is to their job requirements. Look for common themes and suggested areas of improvement that can be addressed by refreshing and expanding the development opportunities your agency offers.

The close of the fiscal year is a busy time with the last minute push to obligate expiring funds, planning for the new fiscal year, and continuing to provide high quality services to constituents. But, don’t forget to make time to do something new and different in the next year.  So, what will you resolve to do in the new Fiscal Year to improve employee and organization performance?

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