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HR tops GAO High Risk List – What’s the Relationship to Budget Cuts, Sequester?

For the 12th year in a row human resources issues have topped the Government Accountability Office’s High Risk List. (You can find our conversation with the GAO here.)

But really how can agencies improve hiring and retention with hiring and pay freezes plus budgets cuts and the threat of sequesters?

Tom Fox is the Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that having human capital issues on the high risk list is a double edge sword.

“There is no sign of human capital issues getting off the high risk list. It is paramount that with sequestration and budget cuts that at the very least leaders at all levels need to take a serious look at how they will recruit, hire, retain and maintain their key talent moving forward,” said Fox.

How to Guide for Getting Off the High Risk List:

  1. Clear and demonstrated top leadership commitment to resolve the issue across government and within the agency.
  2. Capacity to do something about the problem.
  3. Create a very specific corrective action plan.
  4. The ability to monitor what is happening.
  5. Actual demonstrated progress.

“OPM Director John Berry has made some progress on critical issues. But this can’t be a one man show, it will require senior leaders within individual agencies with line responsibilities to take these issues seriously,” said Fox.

Sequester Impact

“So the Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much. But if there is one common thread it’s the fact that no matter what happens the government will have to get better at managing attrition as a way of re-shaping the federal government. The question becomes how are you going to do that effectively? The key will be to manage the knowledge transfer between the seasoned feds and the up and comers,” said Fox.

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