All I want for Christmas… is to see the federal acquisition workforce get everything they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. According to the Washington Post, 34% of the overall acquisition workforce has less than 5 years of experience. (Ten years ago that number was only 6%).
We all know that the acquisition profession relies heavily on experience-based learning. Expertise is traditionally gained from on-the-job, hands-on experiences and formal or informal mentorship. However, the workforce reductions and gap in hiring during the 1990s - along with increased employee mobility - has left the government with relatively low numbers of mid-level acquisition professionals in the workforce today. Thus, those new to the acquisition career field often are left to learn and make mistakes on their own with often limited access to more senior staff.
This is such an important profession – and one that can make a significant impact if allowed and empowered to do so. We need to make sure we’re doing all we can to support every member of this workforce.
I’ve been part of a number of conversations and brainstorming sessions with representatives from across government over the past few months regarding what can be done to help this group be more effective and give them the learning and productivity resources they need to do their jobs.
Based on these ideas, my organization will be rolling out more resources in this area in the coming year. I’d welcome your thoughts and ideas as we move forward.
So all I want for Christmas is to see the federal acquisition workforce get everything they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively…. and maybe a new TV.
Have a great holiday
Thanks for your post - agree that workforce experience is an issue but I am frustrated many people admire the issue and aren't taking tangible steps to address it. Most workplaces don't need more to do their jobs - in fact I contend part of the main issue is that for that last several years many organizations have had more resources than they have ever had or needed, which lets us spend our way out of problems, hire our way out of doing real talent management and workforce growth, and ignore the steps needed to recruit, train, and retain top talent. At US Special Operations Command we have a dedicated acquisition team - we have had an aggressive program to attack these issues and won top DoD acquisition workforce development awards two years in a row - these internal training programs, real-time human capital tracking systems, programs to recruit new talent or retrain wounded warriors into acquisition positions, non-traditional training programs (eg Khan Academy), etc. I'd be happy to share ideas, collaborate, or hear what other ideas people have. The biggest difference for us I believe from traditional federal acquisition organizations, is a comfort with risk management and piloting new ways of doing things without being in a constant no-fail environment....my motto for our pilot programs is to fail faster so we can learn more quickly. Thanks