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What Skills Do Future Feds Need? Win Free Tickets For Your Answer!

Government is certainly changing but getting the job done can’t change. Human Capital and getting good people into government is becoming increasingly more important and hard at the same time. Never fear though GovLoop wants to help you out with FREE tickets to an awesome conference: FPMI’s Annual Human Capital Management Conference & Expo.

Just giver you best answer the following question for a chance at a free ticket:

What does the Federal employee of the future need to possess in order to be successful in their positions?

Well, you can share your thoughts with fellow GovLoopers and give us what you think is the best answer to that question and win a FREE registration valued at $1,799 to FPMI’s Annual Human Capital Management Conference & Expo in Tucson, AZ, June 13-16, 2011. To find out more about this Federal-centric Conference focused on uniting the four, unique worlds of Federal HR, ER, LR and EEO in one mega-conference, please go to www.fpmiconferences.com.

The GovLoop staff will be picking the best answer and awarding the free ticket on May 31st. So send us your thoughts on what KSA’s or attributes or skills are a must for future FEDS.

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Mark Hammer

I’ve been asked this very question before, on the Job Analysis listserv, about 10 years ago. My answer then, is my answer now: explanatory skill.

Transparency is not achieved by sending someone an e-mail, nor by simply telling them stuff. Transparency is achieved when the recipient of the information comprehends deeply enough that they could turn around and explain it to a 3rd party in their own words, without misconstruing anything. That is true whether one is a communications officer explaining things to the broader pubic, a manager explaining things to staff, a regulatory officer explaining a regulation or protocol to an internal or external client, a co-worker explaining things to colleagues, or explaining something to a citizen when they are at a service counter.

Collaboration and innovation doesn’t happen just by chucking a bunch of people together. It happens when people working together understand each others’ thinking and common goals. To do that, they need to be able to explain what they are thinking or envisioning, and possibly how they think they can get there.

In a nation with an increasingly diverse demographic composition, whether linguistic, ethnic, religious, or some other basis, it becomes ever more incumbent on those who work in the public interest to be able to communicate to all segments of the population, and be able to convey, in terms the recipient needs to hear, what the dickens is going on.

DO NOT confuse this with “writing skill” or “communications skills”. People who possess explanatory skill certainly possess those things, but people described as posessing writing or communication skill do not always demonstrate skill in explanation.

Our schools rarely teach it. We tend not to mention it by name. We almost never assess for it directly, when hiring. Yet so much depends on it, and we would be so much better off it were more abundant.

Allison Merkley

Future employees need to possess the ability to manage change effectively. In an ever changing environment, many people try to find ways to do the same things they have always done however this is not necessarily the best way to handle the changing needs of an organization, team, or mission. As the world dynamics continue to speed up, I think it is crucial that the government find new ways of becoming flexible and ready to respond to new issues: whether its tornados in Joplin or poltical climate changes in the Middle East.

In order to be successful, Federal employees need to be able to assess the changes around them and how they can alter their processes, policies, or structure in order to better serve its country and citizens.


To me, future Feds need to be able to bring 3 major things to the workforce:

1) The ability to communicate effectively – To me this is the most important skill that a person needs to have. The majority of the problems we face today comes from a lack of communication to be able to get on the same page. Everyone we come across communicates differently, and a person has to know how to communicate with them all. This goes for leaders, managers, and non-supervisory employees.

2) Not really a skill, but a future Fed needs to have personality – No one really likes the employee who is hot one minute and cold the next, because they create barriers in between themselves. A person with a good personality is easier to approach and talk to, which leads to better communication, which can lead to more efficient productivity

3) Knowledge of the subject – Technology and the way that the we conduct our business is changing everyday, and an employee needs to have knowledge of their job. As the ways of the world changes, an employee who really understands the work that they are hired to do will be able to adapt a little more easier, and be able to transition better into the new thing a lot better. We definitely live in a society where we need to be efficient.

Derrick G. Silas, Sr.

Creativity with a futurist’s mindset will be the driving force for future employees, which will make them successful in their positions. With budget cuts, downsizing, and outsourcing of many functions, it will be pertinent to get employees that are creative.

It will be a necessity for new employees to have the ability to creatively and successfully manage the budget, crowdsource ideas, communicate effectively using social media and interpersonally, innovate technology, and use problems to create opportunities to strengthen and improve the entity where they are employed.

Having access to a mind that continuously “designs,” will keep the entity on the forefront at all times!

Carol Davison

The Federal servant of the future will be a person of integrity that demonstrates a corporate sense of responsibility and commitment to serving the taxpaying customer as well as the political savvy necessary to lead an increasingly demanding electorate’s involvement in federal processes. Also necessary will be the ability to manage resources in a manner that instills public trust and accomplish the organization’s mission.

Sara Jackets

In order to be a successful Government Employee, the Federal Employee of the Future needs to be accountable and hold others accountable. The new generation of Government employees is not satisfied with “because we’ve always done it that way.” The Federal Employee of the Future should be accountable to their actions and be able to hold others responsible at any level of supervision without worry of being reprimanded. When this shift can be made, the overall appearance of the Government Worker will be dramatically changed!

Margaret Schneider Ross

Future Feds will need to integrate knowledge management into their everyday work. We will depend more and more on informal, social, and just in time learning, so we will need to know how to be in the know.

We will need to be able to contribute, search, tag, and categorize the data and information we create, use, modify, etc. We’ll need to find information that helps us to avoid reinventing wheels, cross-fertilize our ideas, identify trends and best practices. We will need to know how to use knowledge workers and librarians of various strains to access current information and classify information for future use. Those who succeed in integrating these practices will, I believe, be far more productive as individuals and empower greater government-wide efficiency with our tax dollars.

The implications:

  • Position Descriptions will need to change. Skills, abilities and job functions that used to be relegated to IT and Support Staff will become part of how we work.
  • We’ll need to be fluent in the various types of software where information is stored and mined: wikis, social networks, discussion boards, crowdsourcing tools, and various databases.
  • We’ll need to have standard practices to assess the validity and quality of data we find/create on the web when using these tools
Dean Turner

A bit of Sheldon (Big Bang), a bit of Barney (How I met your mum), a bit of Penny (BB)

Sheldon’s – security in knowing and understanding his field of expertise
Barney – high order communicator across large range of recipients
Penny – empathy toward the deliverer of the complaint or issue

The future government employee will be an active participant in the discussions around how we are governed as they are citizens too. The key skill set therefore will be separation of professional work responsibilities and personal contributions to the future society!

Lora Allen

Many skills are needed and better thought in building diverse teams.

I have devoted my time in various ways to recruit, develop, and retain many federal public servants and leaders. The ones that can manage up and sideways are the ones who accomplish the mission and get bottom-line results. These are some of my observations of their behaviors and skill sets. It really boils down to their attitude which is driven by mission and values.

  • Successful future feds that show up with 200% enthusiasm. It’s not the pay check, but the mission to serve the public. Their commitment is priceless (can’t be bribed), and they refuse to shutdown in very challenging, unfair situations. They find ways to maneuver and stay positive remaining focus on the mission and bigger picture;
  • They don’t accept no and take calculated risks while balancing short-term and long-term goals;
  • Also, they know their customers and engage them in the process;
  • They embrace new technology and management theories;
  • They value continuous learning and application — future feds embrace a new career model of living out their fullest potential by mainly developing their strengths, but they understand their blind spots and purposely attract talent opposite of them to build a diverse team. It’s about the team and their network power!;
  • They are a self-managed in a complex world. They understand power is their network. It’s not what they know, but how they can collaborate and engage others;
  • Excel at change management — they understand how to follow through managing their energy to create small wins to gain momentum for larger changes; and also
  • They know when to quit and move on to something better. When future feds don’t gain traction, they simply stop wasting their time and energy to move on to a new strategy or a greater mission (why it’s so hard to retain them!). They understand they can’t help others who won’t help themselves; and finally
  • They probably listen to effective government leaders like Thad Allen. This is my personal favorite Thad Allen interview.
Teresa Jenkins

I didn’t get the free ticket but I was at the FPMI conference last week. Great conference. Look for the 2012 conference in Washington, DC and plan to be there. Share information and learn what other agencies are doing to make your jobs easier. Plus, the presenters were amazing – so much information to gain including a presentation from Steve Ressler, GovLoop!! FPMI gets the importance of social networking!!