The Federal HR Wiki

The In Focus mini-series examines more closely issues and topics of importance to federal agencies and contractors. Each month, Federal News Radio speaks with key stakeholders to better understand challenges and opportunities. This month focuses on Science and Technology in Government.

Ten thousand baby boomers are retiring every day.   NIH predicts that 39% of its staff is eligible to retire in 2017, and that will probably be spread out over 3-4 years. How do you transfer institutional knowledge? Include transparency?  Open source?   Kelley Smith and her team came up with a Federal HR Wiki; an inexpensive solution that other federal agencies can use.


JOHN  pix  FotoFlexer_PhotoJohn Gilroy, Host of Federal Tech Talk, Federal News Radio

John Gilroy has been a member of the Washington D.C. technology community for over twenty years. In 2007 he began weekly interviews on Federal News Radio called “Federal Tech Talk with John Gilroy.”   His 428 interviews provides the basis for profitable referral business. In 2009 he created a successful breakfast club of previous radio guests called The Technology Leadership Roundtable. He has been instrumental in two of his guests forming their own radio shows:  Derrick Dortch with “Fed Access” and Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm with “Women in Washington.”

In 2011 he began teaching a course in social media marketing at Georgetown University; in March of 2014, John won the Tropaia Award for Outstanding Faculty.  John conducts monthly corporate training for large companies on how to leverage social media to generate revenue.



kelley smith   nih   federal HR wiki project open sourceKelley Smith, Management Analyst in the Strategic Initiatives Group, National Institutes of Health

Kelley Smith is a Management Analyst in the Strategic Initiatives Group at the National Institutes of Health. Under the auspices of the HHS Secretary Ventures Fund, she is the Project Lead for the “Federal HR Wiki.”  Kelley has an M.B.A. in Healthcare Management from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Economics from Vanderbilt University.

10,000 boomers retire every day.  When NIH studied this trend, it saw that about 39% of existing staff would be eligible for retirement in 2017.  The estimate that this retirement transition will take place over the next three to four years.

The challenge is to make sure that institutional knowledge is transferred to next generation of NIH leaders.  Defining the challenge is the easy part; the hard part is funding to accomplish the task. Existing proprietary technology could be expensive to implement.  The Executive Office of the President is imploring federal IT professionals to use open source and collaborate – how is that applied?

Kelley is charged with evaluating an open source collaborative tool called a “wiki.” During the interview she discusses the low cost of the solution and how much of her investigation involves the cost of scaling and ease of use.

There is a lot of knowledge residing in existing employees.  This inexpensive initiative from NIH can help other agencies share informal and formal lessons that can benefit the next generation.