Human Capital Management Priorities for Federal Agencies


If there’s one thing that will undoubtedly define this year, it will be the Presidential election. And while the world waits with bated breath to see who wins the presidential election in November, government agencies must try to keep their focus on mission success. So how will they achieve that goal? The 2016 Human Capital Management Report for Government highlights

Identify and Develop New Talent

The Silver Tsunami has left the government with a depleted workforce. It comes as no surprise, then, that 55% of human capital managers rated “recruiting people with the right skills” as their number one priority. As for the second priority, 51% of human capital managers are focused on identifying and closing skills gaps. These findings indicate that organizations understand they need to recruit younger talent – but not lose out on having critical skill sets – and to replenish the agency with qualified and passionate employees.

Dr. Karlease Kelly, Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Human Resources Management, noted that while the Department has started making gains, as have others across the spectrum of government, they’re not going to rest. “We want to build on our progress and the positive momentum we have achieved to continue our successes by emphasizing performance management, work-life balance, employee development and communication.”

Invest in New Programs

Agencies are not only recognizing the need to replace the hard-earned knowledge and industry insights of retirees, but also to protect key staff for leadership and succession initiatives. Survey respondents have said they are actively investing in programs for: training and development for all staff (68%), recruiting people with the right skills for the job (66%), and identifying/retaining top performers (58%).

Despite constraints, the Internal Revenue Service has made it a priority to make sure it has the right talent with the right skillsets in place, especially with a maturing workforce. “At the IRS, we have maintained a steadfast commitment to continue to train all of our managers, whether they’re at the frontline or further up in terms of executive development…we really have begun to foster at all levels of the organization a much greater awareness of the direction that we want to move in and the themes around that. Our number one priority is to listen to our employees, hear their ideas, and do everything we can to increase communication throughout the organization both up and down,” said Dan Riordan, Human Capital Officer for the Internal Revenue Service.

Recruiting Millennials

As older workers continue to retire, human capital managers are left to face a humbling reality: millennials typically don’t view the government as an avenue for career growth.[2] Since 44% of survey respondents don’t have a strategy to recruit them, it might seem that the feeling is mutual. However, some best practices that are changing the tide have begun to present themselves.

Among organizations that actively engage millennials, social media is the most-used strategy, with an increase in usage to 76% from 60% in 2015. Due to millennials’ attachment to mobile devices in their job searching (80% expect it to be an easy process[3]), being able to reach out to them with career information and industry news – all to get them excited about a public sector career – has become easier than in prior generations.

Internships have proven to be another successful way for the public sector to recruit younger talent. In fact, 62% of agencies offer internships. They provide a tremendous opportunity by allowing organizations to engage with millennials and show them firsthand the benefits of working for a government agency. Millennials are very tech-savvy, and often apply to jobs through various mobile devices – one candidate used his mobile phone for 90% of his applications[4]) so make sure your career and application pages are mobile-friendly.

The HCMG report identified finding new talent, engaging millennials, and investing in workforce training initiatives as the three biggest priorities for rebuilding the post-Boomer public sector workforce. To discover more insights from this report, click here.

[1] Nurturing Leaders in a Diverse and Engaged Workforce: The 2016 Human Capital Management Report

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/08/24/millennials-working-in-government-are-at-their-lowest-levels-in-five-yearsnew-report-finds/

[3] http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239400

[4] http://www.npr.org/2015/12/08/458889853/mobile-recruiting-is-the-new-way-to-reach-job-seekers

Jim Gill is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply