But HR could hold the keys to the government’s daunting workforce challenges — doing more with less, hiring the right people for the right positions etc.
The Partnership for Public Service’s 7 ways to make gov’t HR better:
- Good HR management is a management responsibility. HR staff members are there to provide advice and support, but each individual manager must play an active role as well. This includes being available to work closely with HR staff to discuss succession planning, recruiting, assessment strategies, employee development needs and performance management. HR staff cannot know what your needs are unless you invite them to the management table.
- When hiring entry-level HR staff, federal hiring officials need to target highly capable individuals with an interest in the field. Long gone are the days, if they ever existed, when “anyone can do HR.” We especially need individuals with exceptional analytical and communication skills. Managers outside the HR function should support efforts to invest in attracting and hiring great HR talent.
- Even great talent must be nurtured and given an opportunity to grow, develop and mature. Federal leaders and managers can help develop highly competent HR professionals by supporting training and development programs. One particularly useful is by providing developmental details into line positions outside of HR to help them better understand the business of the organization. Individual HR staff members should be encouraged to take charge of their own career development and supported when they do.
- OPM and the CHCO Council recently launched an excellent online HR career development center called HR University. HR staff should be encouraged to use the website and given time to take advantage of the resources provided on that site.
- When a human resources staff member does a particularly good job, make sure that the work is recognized and rewarded. At a minimum, let their supervisor know. Conversely, when you do not receive the appropriate level of service, make sure you have that conversation as well. Try to reach agreement with your HR office on reasonable standards and expectations on both their part and yours, and then hold each other accountable for living up to those standards.
- Sometimes even highly competent HR staff members are frustrated by outdated or dysfunctional HR systems, policies and procedures. Federal leaders should work together to support modernization of those systems. This may involve working across agency lines, for example, to adopt more standardized HR information technology systems to share training opportunities, or even to develop proposed changes to outdated HR laws and regulations.
Don’t miss our interview with HR specialist Liz Ryan: Why HR Matters