New Pathways, hiring toolkits coming for HR specialists this month

The Office of Personnel Management's tools and pilot programs to improve federal hiring and workforce engagement have improved in some areas but stalled in othe...

The Office of Personnel Management will release a series of tools later this month to help federal managers hire new talent.

As part of the agency’s Hiring Excellence Campaign,  OPM is on track to begin new workshops for managers and will publish a suite of Pathways tools, according to a fourth quarter update on and confirmed by an OPM spokesperson.

It will include a governmentwide Pathways guidebook and matrix, a training course for HR specialists and Pathways toolkit for managers, the update said.

More incremental changes to will also continue into fiscal 2016, according to the performance update.

OPM’s team is on track to add a guide for applicants and “resume mining enhancements” later this year. Members of OPM’s Innovation Lab alluded to some of these changes in December, when they described the addition of a skills aggregator, which would capture and keep track of the skills and certifications federal employees add to their resumes.

Progress is mixed on other tools designed to collect and disseminate information about workforce engagement.

OPM successfully posted the results of the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey on, the agency’s data visualization dashboard,  for the first time. New members to the Senior Executive Service have been gaining access to the UnlockTalent on a rolling, quarterly basis, the update said.

But OPM isn’t on track to build a capability that would allow agencies to add their own data to the dashboard. The deadline is in April.

GovConnect, a 18F-led program that helps agencies test and adopt new workforce approaches, will likely expand to more agencies this year. Multiple agencies will soon begin GovConnect pilots in different phases throughout 2016, the update indicated.

The 2017 deadline to launch GovConnect to all agencies, however, is at risk, the update said.

Transforming the SES, tracking engagement

OPM appears on track to lead several new initiatives related to the Senior Executive Service, as the agency is responsible for several of the new programs under President Barack Obama’s recent executive order on SES reform.

Initially, the agency was supposed to work with a group of pilot agencies to write a plan for implementing new SES recruitment, assessment and selection strategies by July 2015.

But OPM’s deadline has been pushed back to July 2016, seemingly to support the new SES reforms the President announced in December.

“OPM, in participating with OMB, is taking a new approach to a number of agencies that have volunteered to be initial implementers of SES initiatives will soon be announced through an executive order,” the update said.

To determine whether agencies are able to recruit and hire new talent, OPM tracks a few different indicators based on the results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and Chief Human Capital Officers Council.

But OPM did not meet any of its target goals in fiscal 2015.

For example, 59 percent of agency hiring managers said they were satisfied with the quality of their applicants in the final quarter of the year, compared with 61 percent during the previous quarter. OPM’s target is 70 percent.

And though hiring managers were more satisfied with the quality of Senior Executive Service applicants in the fourth quarter than the third, satisfaction scores dipped below OPM’s 60 percent baseline. Satisfaction topped 51 percent at the end of the year, far below OPM’s 70 percent target.

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