Weakness in the private-sector economy has let the Pentagon spend fewer dollars on recruiting efforts over the past several years. It still beat its targets for both the quantity and quality of new enlistees and officers it brings into its ranks. But officials believe things could get more difficult.
The Office of Personnel Management is helping agencies come up with ways to recruit new federal hires from the pipeline of national-service programs, such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. In July, President Barack Obama called for expanding national volunteer opportunities by finding ways to connect the broad network of national and community-service organizations with federal agencies and their missions. As part of that effort, OPM was tasked with coming up with recruiting strategies agencies can use to recruit new hires with past experience in national-service programs.
As with overall federal-employee satisfaction scores, the Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework Index trended downward in 2012. Habitual high-scorers, such as NASA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, continued to sit atop the list. But the report also singled out the Office of Management and Budget and for its notable improvements.
Budget constraints are top of mind for agency chief human capital officers. And with good reason. CHCOs say they are feeling the effects of the budget crunch, particularly in recruiting, retaining and training employees, according to a Federal News Radio survey. Eugene Hubbard, head of the National Science Foundation’s Office of Information and Resource Management, told Federal News Radio the budget squeeze and shrinking workforces mean agency employees are doing more with less to keep pace with the mission.
All four active services and the six reserve components met or exceeded their recruiting goals through the third quarter of fiscal 2012, according to recently released Defense Department data.
Efficient recruitment and hiring practices might seem like a hard get at a high-security agency like NSA. But Kathy Hutson, the director of human resources at the National Security Agency, says the hiring protocols at her agency today demostrate all the reforms the Office of Personnel Management is recommending for the rest of government.
The Pathways Program aims to help federal agencies compete with other sectors that recruit and hire interns and recent graduates. The program targets current students, recent graduates and professionals interested in becoming federal managers.
John Palguta, the vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service, joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris to discuss what the plan means for federal employees.
OPM Director John Berry believes a perception that poorly-performing federal employees are not held accountable is driving animosity toward government. He hopes to finish a strategy for better accountability by the end of 2011. Berry is a 2011 Causey Award winner.
The federal government in 2010 added more than 31,000 employees from minority groups, according to the Office of Personnel Management.