Trump administration outlines roadmap to modernizing federal workforce

Performance management is a serious focus for all agencies during the next two years.

The Trump administration is beginning to outline its plan to modernize the federal workforce in more detail.

The Office of Personnel Management, Office of Management and Budget, and Defense Department will specifically lead the charge to improve employees performance management and engagement, re-skill and re-deploy human capital resources and develop a simple and strategic hiring plan, according to the most recent update on

The Obama administration launched to keep track of its progress on cross-agency priority goals, but the quarterly updates stopped as the Trump administration spent its first year developing a new President’s Management Agenda.

The administration has a busy agenda for the federal workforce over the next two years, according to a 2018 first quarter update.

All agencies will work with OPM and OMB to identify the lowest 20 percent of major components and bureaus on the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, and they’ll receive clear standard operating procedures for communicating the survey data across organizations by the end of this fiscal year.

A General Services Administration-led “tiger team” will assess five low-performing work units.

OPM, meanwhile, will identify best practices and incentives to reward top performing employees, the performance update said.

By the start of next fiscal year, OPM and DoD should have identified the “most promising policies and procedures” to address poor performance, while all agencies should be identifying unnecessary and non-statutory steps in their disciplinary processes, the update said.

Next year, the administration plans to pilot a “parachute team” to help agencies resolve performance management challenges, as departments boost training opportunities for their managers to make sure they’re up to speed on dealing with employee misconduct.

Not surprisingly, the administration will also devote its attention to simplifying its hiring process.

By the third quarter of this year, OPM is supposed to demonstrate the initial capability for an “automated hiring adviser” for managers, the update said.

OPM and DoD will examine the myriad agencies’ demonstration pilots and alternative personnel systems by the end of the year, while OPM reviews new options for hiring members to the Senior Executive Service.

OPM will also spend much of the next two years strengthening government’s corps of human resources professionals. For example, the administration has charged OPM to appoint a specific person to lead a governmentwide HR workforce development initiative.

The need is clear, because a majority of agencies — 17 out of 24 major departments — were less satisfied with their ability to hire people with the right skills in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to the most recent results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

Most of the dissatisfied agencies saw a 1-to-3 percent dip in satisfaction, but others experienced a more drastic drop. Satisfaction among employees at the Education Department, for example, fell 9 percent between 2017 and 2016, according to the survey.

“Reskilling” is becoming an increasingly popular buzz word from OPM this year, and it’s a key component of the administration’s workforce priorities.

OMB and its Office of Federal Procurement Policy will first find three areas in the federal workforce “most suited” for automation and develop pilot programs to show cost savings. Both offices will also develop a reskilling plan for federal employees most impacted by automation.

OPM in its Quadrennial Workforce Priorities report said automation will certainly play a role in federal jobs, but its impacts won’t be immediate.

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