Federal employees’ views about the office are changing, and agencies are ready to shift with them

Date: On Demand
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 
No Fee

Federal agencies had until mid-July to finalize their plans for bringing more employees back into the physical office and for reimagining telework policies and workplace flexibilities.

Those plans are still very much in flux and under development, and they’re changing as the pandemic continues to shift as well, forcing many agencies to reconsider their timelines for bringing employees back into the office.

“Our first priority has always been and will always be our employees’ safety,” said Bill Malyszka, deputy chief human capital officer for the National Science Foundation. “As we’re experiencing conditions with the delta variant and everything else, we’re reassessing our timeline. “Our fundamental guiding principles are still the same. We want to get to a future of work that includes a lot of flexibilities and options with attention to the mission of the agency.”

The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management predicted many agencies would evolve to a hybrid workforce, where some employees might work inside the physical workspace, while others are getting the job done from another location.

The prospect of a hybrid workforce poses new questions about how agencies recruit, onboard and engage both current employees and a crop of new hires.

Employees’ opinions about the office and long-held beliefs about how they work and collaborate with others have shifted as well.

Matt Bragstad, vice president and head of people, vision and strategy at Infor, said organizations need to adapt to those changing views – and be intentional about how they do so.

“Anybody who thinks that this is just going to happen accidentally or dynamically or organically, that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Some agencies are expanding their recruitment pools to include candidates who may work in a 100% virtual environment.

Paige Hinkle Bowles, FEMA’s chief component human capital officer, said she and her colleagues have learned more about what makes remote workers successful, and they’re prioritizing certain skills from their job candidates.

“In many ways there are some skills that our recruiters have always looked for but we’ve recognized that these also apply to increases in virtual work,” she said. “For example, we’ve always looked for things beyond the technical skills. “[For] someone coming out of school, we would look for [whether] they hold leadership roles in clubs or associations when they were in school. Do they hold a part-time job while also maintaining a high grade-point average? For some of our careerist candidates, we look at competencies like communication, delegation, collaboration, adaptability and tech-savviness, again all those types of things that we have always looked for above and beyond the technical skills. But we’re finding that these are the types of competencies that can also make someone effective in a virtual environment.”

Learning objectives:

  • Planning for the federal workforce of the future
  • Managing the balance of remote and in-person employees
  • Recruiting and onboarding new employees

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Panel of experts

  • Paige Hinkle-Bowles

    Chief Component Human Capital Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • Mary Lamary

    Chief Human Capital Officer, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  • Bill Malyszka

    Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer, National Science Foundation

  • Felecia Newman

    Chief Human Capital Officer, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Matt Bragstad

    Vice President, Head of People Vision and Strategy, Infor

  • Nicole Ogrysko

    Reporter, Federal News Network

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