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Federal Government Talent Acquisition — Streamlining the Process

Like many (some would say most or all) aspects of the United States Federal government, human capital management can prove to be more complex and more difficult to change for an agency than that of the private sector. Budget constraints, ingrained and inflexible procedures, limited staffing, complicated application processes, government regulations and hiring requirements, and more all lead to a system or systems that can be seemingly difficult or impossible to change and improve. Numerous manual or outdated systems are in place and, while inefficient, seemingly work well enough for all concerned parties to get by.

A smarter, cheaper more efficient way of doing things may very well exist — but if you’re buried under the reality and pressures of getting your job done today, how can you even think about taking the time to move toward a better solution? The status quo might not be perfect, but it gets the job done. To initiate a project that brings a modern solution to your agency is seemingly fraught with risk, and at the very least, takes time from getting your job done today.

It would seem you can’t get there from here.

But the reality is you can. What’s more, the risk of not doing anything — keeping the status quo — is actually riskier than most imagine and over time may be the riskiest “move” of all.

The Risk of the Status Quo

What if you do nothing?

What if you just carry on as you are?

Well, here is just some of what you’re faced with:

  • A diminished, unpredictable and inflexible budget environment that may impede you from doing your job
  • Declining Federal employee engagement, leading to poor morale or employees leaving
  • Hiring process difficulties
  • Inadequate workforce data and analytical tools
  • A difficult-to-manage HR infrastucture.

Or to word it a little more callously — no money, no excitement, no help…but plenty of headaches.

There is a way out.

Talent Acquisition — A Way Forward

Today, cost-effective cloud-based talent acquisition and recruiting systems exist. Moreover, while the areas of talent management and talent acquisition are “hot,” it’s also true that actually deploying and implementing these systems can be difficult in an agency environment. Typical systems are inflexible and cumbersome, and are unable to accommodate the unique workflow processes that are common in the hiring discipline of Federal agencies.

However, that is changing, and the fact is there are talent acquisition systems that are able to meet the unique challenges of the Federal workforce hiring process. Of all the requirements for such a system, two areas are of utmost importance: Configurability and Analytics.

For Federal Agencies that are recognizing that the status quo is unacceptable in the long run and will only lead to a deterioration of service in handling its hiring needs, close scrutiny should be given to such systems. When moving through the RFP process, an emphasis should be placed on a system’s configurability. Without that, chances of long term success are jeopardized and costs are likely to escalate quickly, and on short notice.

In this era of big data and analytics, human capital management is destined to be a key area to benefit. In field after field, going on just your “gut” alone is not acceptable. In the best scenario, a sophisticated talent management system can drill into your talent management data to help make better, analytics-based hiring decisions. It can give your organization the power to analyze your recruitment function in depth, translating raw data into real insights and action. The solution captures data from across the recruitment cycle, instantly producing meaningful information and reports to guide your decision-making.

The good news?

These systems exist today, and are readily accessible and deployable.

You can get from Point A to Point B. From a disconnected, reactionary set of talent acquisition processes to a streamlined, proactive and strategic process — automated and data-driven.

There is a way forward for Federal government talent acquisition into the 21st century.

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