Good government comes from good people. Plain and simple. You can’t accomplish anything in government, let alone make it more effective, unless you have the right people in the right jobs. This makes sense, but then why doesn’t the government focus on hiring? Why are Chief Human Capital Officers routinely excluded from a leadership seat?
The Partnership for Public Service has looked at some of these issues in their new report, “Federal CHCO Roadmap.” Tim McManus is the Vice President for Education and Outreach at the PPS. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program, that in order for the CHCO to be an advocate for the federal workforce, they first have to be enabled to succeed by agency leadership.
“This reports is not simple about the role of the CHCO, but also for aspiring HR leaders, the report provides them a roadmap on what they need to be thinking about as they are progressing through the ranks. The report is also new insights for those seasoned in government to look at how they can best collaborate with their CHCO to get the talent that you need to achieve your agency’s mission. What strikes me about this roadmap is the introduction itself which talks about good financial systems, technology infrastructure, policy; all necessary components of an effective government. None of that works without the right people, in the right jobs with the right leadership, that’s what this roadmap tries to do. It lays out the roles and responsibilities of the CHCO,” said McManus.
Have CHCO’s been relegated in the past?
“You asked earlier if CHCO’s are strategic and advocates for the workforce. I said by and large the answer is yes, but oftentimes they are relegated, that is part of the challenge here. The top of house leadership at an agency needs to see CHCO’s as top advisors. If they don’t, it is really hard to advocate. You can’t advocate from the bottom of the hill. If you look at the evolution of the C-Suite within government, you see more Chief Information Officers having a seat directly at the table about broader conversations about mission and how the agency actually moves forward. Chief acquisition officers are not playing that role too. Sometimes the CHCOs are still relegated to doing the backroom HR functions. That is not solely on the CHCO’s shoulders to break that cycle, it is on leadership as a whole to say the CHCO needs to be here,” said McManus.
Hiring is more than picking the candidate with the highest GPA?
“Hiring is not simply an HR function. Hiring is not about the GPA or the academic degree, it may actually be about another set of skills. How do we as an agency work collectively to achieve these new hires? I think those are the questions that are not being asked right now. A CHCO can shout out what needs to be done, but if they are shouting to a bunch of folks who are not wanting to engage in a proactive and collaborative way, that is where the trainwreck begins to happen,” said McManus.
Why do this report?
“Agencies are investing a lot of time and money to make sure that the infrastructures and the policies are implemented effectively. Sometimes talent takes a back seat to that. This report is a reminder that all the great work that is being done is done by people. The people is what makes an agency runs most effectively. This report is about showcasing how the people pieces ties into mission delivery,” said McManus.
Hope for change?
“Budgets are more certain, so much of the uncertainty that agencies have faced over the past few years has diminished. That gives CHCOs and leaders to take a step back and figure out what agency’s need to move forward,” said McManus.