At the federal government, we are heading into the retirement tsunami that has been long-discussed. As baby boomers are beginning to retire, government needs to continue to spend energy increasing recruitment of millennials in government and fostering ways to keep Gen X and Y in public service. There’s been some great progress in the technology sector with the creation of agencies like USDS and 18F, but we need to expand the scope and size to have a larger impact
Here are five ideas to do just that.
- Double-down on Pathways – A lot of work was done to create the legal basis for the Pathways programs from strengthening the PMF program to student hiring. Now it is time to double-down on that hiring authority. The PMF program should look to double in size from 600 to 1,200 finalists in the next two years. Continue to diversify the program to fill critical needs in acquisition, budget, as well as program analysts. Additionally, OPM should work more to educate agencies on the value of the program.
- Create a “Detail/Rotation” part of USAJOBS – Most of government employees I talk to are looking for new ways to grow their skills and experiences. Details and rotations are a great way for individuals to grow their skill set and agencies are able to get additional quick resources (and home agencies get advanced employees). It’s difficult to find these details across government – simple change is to create a dedicated section of USAJOBS.
- Crystalize Student Loan programs – The government has the greatest recruiting tool in its arsenal but doesn’t use it well. The ability for agencies to pay down student loans and student loan forgiveness is a huge recruitment tool. However, it is currently too confusing and most individuals don’t truly know what it means to them personally.
- Invest in Proven Programs – there are already a great number of programs for rising leaders. It’s easy to think we need to create a new program when better support for existing programs goes along way. If agencies supported the NextGen Training Summit, there could be 2500+ instead of 700+ energized leaders. Support existing young professional groups at agencies with resources (time and money). Expand the scope of training offerings including mentorship and leadership programs.
- Be Proud of Public Service – the simplest way to increase morale and keep people staying in public service is continue to tell stories of how we serve our citizens. It’s too easy to get caught up in the daily grind or the grandiose mission statements that don’t feel real. Start a story bank and share stories each week of how each agency and division is helping citizens.
I’m looking forward to see how the next administrations focus on improving talent in government.