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Posted by on May 12, 2015

Recruiting the Next Generation of Feds

Recruiting the Next Generation of Feds

MillennialsOver the past several weeks, we’ve heard from a number of Federal leaders through our sponsored “Ask the CHCO” series on Federal News Radio about the work going on to recruit, retain, and engage Federal workers. CHCOs from USAID, FLRA, and HHS have shared best practices and initiatives to improve the Federal employment experience. Much attention is being paid to retaining and engaging Federal workers, as shortages in mission critical skills suggest that a renewed focus on attracting high performing, highly skilled individual to Federal service is needed. Fortunately, it won’t take major reforms to the Federal hiring process to begin the process of attracting high performers, particularly Millennials, to the Federal government. Here are a few easy steps you can take to begin building a pipeline of promising future employees:

  1. Emphasize the value of public service: For Public Service Recognition Week, Mika Cross and Dr. David A. Bray shared their perspectives on what attracted them to Federal employment. One common theme in their stories was the importance of public service as a motivator for joining the Federal government and their specific agencies. The desire to connect with a larger mission and contribute to the public good is a strong motivator for Millennials, and for many workers in other generations. If you can make the connection between a particular job opportunity and the mission of your agency (like through an Employee Value Proposition), you’ll attract candidates who share the agency’s values and are drawn to contribute to the work of the agency.
  2. Emphasize job mobility: According to Forbes, 91% of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. Unlike private industry where moving to a new job often requires leaving an organization and seeking new employment, the ability to move between divisions, departments, or even agencies is a natural part of Federal employment. Consider taking time to develop career paths and maps that include links to service in other agencies as part of the development path to demonstrate to new Federal employees their ability to move across the government as they build their Federal careers.
  3. Put organizational values front and center, and live by them: According to a PwC survey, 59% of Millennials will deliberately seek out employers whose social responsibility values match their own. If you want your agency to rise to the top of the list for Federal job seekers, it’s important that you make the agency’s values are a primary part of your messaging and your employer brand. But, be aware that the values you promote can’t just be a marketing pitch. Transparency and consistency are priorities for many younger workers, and they’ll quickly spot a mismatch between words and actions.

As of the 4th quarter of 2014, the share of the Federal workforce under 30 was around 8%, despite the fact that in 2015, this demographic will become the majority in the U.S. workforce. As OPM works on major initiatives to diversify and build the Federal workforce, individual agencies can, and should, take steps of their own to improve their talent pipeline and attract the next generation of Federal workers.


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