Resources for Hiring and Retaining the Best Talent for Federal Agencies
The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing challenges in federal hiring. With lengthy applications, extensive interview processes, background checks, and a lack of data-driven hiring practices, federal agencies struggle to attract top talent to fill mission-critical roles and continue the important work of serving the American people.
The Biden-Harris administration has released the Management Agenda Vision, encompassing three objectives: to hire and retain a diverse array of federal workers, enhance the ability of these employees to best serve the public, and improve the overall management of the federal government.
The first strategy — hiring and retaining workers — comes at a time of seismic shifts in the overall workforce. The “Great Resignation,” also referred to as the “Great Reshuffle,” has seen millions of Americans leaving their jobs at record numbers month over month. The pandemic, combined with shifting workplace desires of workers under 40, has fueled changes not only in family dynamics as workers struggle to balance childcare and schooling with careers but have caused a huge shift towards employees pursuing flexible work environments that heavily value work-life balance.
The complex nature of getting hired into federal service drives potential employees — particularly young people — into other sectors, making new strategies to improve hiring processes even more important. The combined effects of the difficulty in getting talented workers in the doors of the federal government and retaining them in jobs that require a great deal of commitment threaten to fuel the existing hiring crisis faced by agencies across the federal government. According to the Management Agenda Vision, “Less than 7% of the federal workforce is under the age of 30, and 28% of federal employees are eligible to retire in the next five years.” Until workforce issues are addressed, it will be impossible for agencies to have the capacity to serve the public and dedicate themselves to improving practices in other areas.
Rebuilding the Federal Workforce
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has released the Talent Surge Playbook, providing a roadmap that can help achieve the workforce goals set out in the Management Vision. The playbook details four focus areas: planning, recruitment, assessment, and hiring. Together these tactics offer a cohesive approach to make it easier for agencies to hire and easier for job seekers to become successful federal employees.
Though it may require a great deal of time spent upfront, deeply engaging in these four strategies can provide a huge payoff as better practices lead to better and more diverse hires. Human resources professionals should partner with hiring managers to create detailed workforce plans that address skills gaps and balance agency needs with flexible, supportive work environments for staff. This partnership should extend to creating comprehensive and creative outreach plans to enhance recruitment, develop assessment tools to review applications, identify the best candidates, and utilize hiring authorities to finalize job offers that will seal the deal for the most talented candidates. With consistent review, hiring data from past positions can inform practices for future hiring.
As positions are filled, agencies can more meaningfully engage in the next steps of the Management Agenda Vision. When the best staff is in place, federal agencies will be better able to serve the public to the highest standard. This will enable management to focus on enhancing other areas while creating staffing pipelines to higher-level positions — ensuring succession planning is in place for the future.
Finding the best staff isn’t easy, so we’ve got you covered. Management Concepts offers hiring training courses for federal professionals so your organization can find the help it needs. Check out our HR & hiring training programs and our HR Certificate Programs today!