Insights Gained from Today's Talent Management Approaches for the Workforce of the Future

Today’s Talent Management Approaches for the Workforce of the Future participants from left to right, Steve Maier, Pamela H. Richards, Dr. Joyce Renee Evans, Debbie Eshelman, Harvey Johnson, and Michael Rigas.

This week, Management Concepts had the honor of co-sponsoring Today’s Talent Management Approaches for the Workforce of the Future, hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) where a panel of Federal workforce experts shared their experiences and insights on ways to recruit, engage, and retain talented people for public service. After the initial introductions, Debbie Eshelman, Managing Director of Management Concepts, facilitated the panel discussion. Highlights include:

Recruiting and Retaining Employees

The panelists were first asked to speak about: recruiting and retaining underrepresented groups, recommendations for qualified candidates without prior Federal service to be selected, rules for candidates with questionable backgrounds, hiring reforms underway, and opportunities for applicants without college degrees.

Dr. Joyce Renee Evans, Lead Investigations Case Analyst Trainer, National Background Investigations Bureau, Office of Personnel Management, spoke about the ongoing program that assists candidates with resume preparation, advises them to be knowledgeable about what the agency they are applying to does, and what the job entails.

She also reported that her group holds mock interviews to help candidates confidently convey what they have to offer. She encourages promoting from within and sharing stories that demonstrate the hard work it takes to achieve professional goals.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Strategies

The next discussion was concerned with strategies to ensure diversity, inclusion, ways to help staff of color feel appreciated and included, and the absence of older workers on innovation teams.

Harvey Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Resolution Management and Acting Executive Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Veterans Affairs related that if everyone you hire is just like you, your team will not achieve the same level of success that they can with an eclectic group.


Modernizing the Workforce

Reflecting on the President’s Management Agenda directive to align staff skills with the evolving mission needs of the modern workforce, the panelists were asked to share their thoughts on best practices for modernizing the workforce, most valued training in the future, strategies to ease integration of new methodologies, and how automation may affect the Federal workforce.

Michael Rigas, Deputy Director, Office of Personnel Management, remarked that people like change as long as it’s 70% the same. We need to frame and reframe initiatives so that change is not seen as a loss, but instead as an opportunity for growth. He spoke about a recent study that found the demand for management leadership skills is increasing while demand for data processing skills is decreasing. He went on to say that in order to build the workforce of the future, we need to have a lifelong commitment to learning.

Dr. Joyce Renee Evans When there are significant differences between the learning behaviors of younger and older employees, it can be advantageous to offer extended training to ensure that training objectives are achieved for all participants.

Harvey Johnson recommends that we do not focus solely on operations but strive to spend at least 30% of our time looking forward. He has found metacognition and think-tank sessions to be potent tools.

Employee Engagement

The final topic of discussion for the panel dealt with keeping all employees engaged, and ways to effectively engage millennials.

Pamela H. Richards, Investigative Research Analyst, Forensic Audit and Investigative Services, Government Accountability Office, and DC Metro Regional Manager of Federally Employed Women (FEW) suggested that we think about where your (or your employees’) passions lie. When an employee has passion and feels that the work they do is making a difference, they will be much more productive.

To address engagement on a larger scale, Richards recommends having town halls at every level of the organization to demonstrate that the agency’s core values are embraced universally.

Michael Rigas related that there might be 1001 ways to motivate employees, but only one of them is through pay. Holding town halls, spend time with your people, and considering their suggestions shows them that you care.

Harvey Johnson reminded us that storytelling is a powerful tool; we remember stories best. Working on our emotional intelligence helps us convey empathy and compassion.

Fair and Open Competition for Federal Jobs

Following the conclusion of the panel discussion, Stephanie Grosser, Bureaucracy Hacker, US Digital Service, Office of Management and Budget, presented a special session on The Promise of Fair and Open Competition for Federal Jobs where she shared the results of a game-changing pilot program for hiring Federal Government employees.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s participated in a piloted hiring process that consisted of:

  • comprehensive job analysis workshop
  • job announcement
  • resume review
  • phone assessment interviews
  • certificate issued to qualified candidates
  • final selection

Now that the pilot has produced astounding results, the next step is for each of the Chief Financial Officer Council Agencies to have an opportunity to attend a presentation about the pilot, ask questions, and provide feedback.

Today’s Talent Management Approaches for the Workforce of the Future was an amazing success with 90 in-person registrants, 180 live stream attendees, and 240+ post-event viewers so far. Management Concepts would like to thank all our speakers for sharing their experience and wisdom and thanks to Blacks in Government (BIG), Young Government Leaders (YGL), and the Senior Executives Association (SEA)
for helping to make this happen. And of course, thanks to people like you for taking the time to consider how to improve our workforce.

Written by:
Natalie Komitsky
Human Capital & Human Resources
Media Type:

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