Time for Action: Exploring the Latest Workforce Updates in the President’s Management Agenda
December 7, 2023 / #Unstuck Government, #Open Government, #Workforce Management
For years, the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) has served as a sort of “roadmap” to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal agencies. The PMA outlines key priorities and initiatives aimed at driving improvements across various facets of government operations. The government workforce is obviously a critical component, since it plays the leading role in government operations. Yet, over two-thirds of the areas the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has flagged as high-risk are still plagued by pervasive human capital management challenges. For the latest updates in the workforce portion of the PMA to solve them, much more action — rather than just planning — will need to occur. Here are the latest updates and why acting on them is so important to the future of good governance.
Modernizing Hiring and Recruitment
One of the central goals of the PMA’s workforce component is to streamline hiring and recruitment processes. Recent updates have emphasized using technology, data analytics, and innovative practices to attract top talent to government positions. The idea is to reduce bureaucratic roadblocks and expedite onboarding. Yet, for this to succeed agencies must actually invest in and deploy these technologies. To be effective, dedicated funding beyond the president’s management agenda and OPM’s base budget are needed.
Reskilling and Upskilling Initiatives
In response to the rapidly evolving technological landscape, the PMA has introduced reskilling and upskilling programs for federal workforce. These programs provide training and development opportunities for existing employees so they can keep skills current and even learn new ones. By equipping employees with the skills necessary to adapt to emerging technologies agencies can address talent shortages while ensuring an overall more capable and effective federal workforce.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts
The PMA has also placed a strong emphasis on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the federal workforce. Recent updates have outlined strategies to ensure that government agencies are representative of the diverse population they serve. This includes efforts to eliminate bias in hiring and promotion processes while creating inclusive work environments. Promoting an equitable and inclusive workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it also brings fresh thinking from employees who may not otherwise have chosen a career in government. As agencies struggle to address human capital gaps, a strong focus on DEI is one of the most effective ways to meet the challenge.
Remote Work Policies
As it did in almost every other sector, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work in the federal government. The PMA has recognized the potential benefits of remote work for attracting and retaining talent and recent updates have included policies and guidelines to support remote work arrangements while ensuring they’re effective and secure. After President Biden ended the COVID-19 public health emergency, OPM announced a concurrent ending of the use of maximum telework as part of the federal government’s operating status. Now, each agency provides its own guidance to employees on remote, in-person, or hybrid work policies.
Yet, it’s clear that if the federal government wants to better compete with the private sector for employees, some kind of compromise or hybrid approach to remote work will be needed. In addition to attracting new workers, flexibility on remote work provides adaptability so that the government can operate seamlessly during the next emergency. Technology will play a key role. The PMA emphases the need for technology to attract top talent and agencies should likewise utilize technology for hybrid work, which achieves both resilience and recruiting goals at the same time.
Better Government Starts Here
The latest updates in the workforce portion of the President’s Management Agenda represent a critical step towards addressing pervasive human capital management challenges in the federal government. These changes aim to improve efficiency, enhance talent acquisition, promote diversity and inclusion, and create a more adaptable workforce. But even the best plan is still only a plan. Acting on the plan, including providing actual dollars, and prioritizing results, will make the PMA the first step toward more effective and efficient government.
Russell Miller is Director of Implementation for Government Workforce Management, at OPEXUS. He has extensive experience providing implementation support for the HR Product Suite at OPEXUS. His expertise helps ensure products are delivered on time and on budget. He is passionate about using technology to improve the day-to-day functionality across government HR processes. In his free time, Russ enjoys Boston’s sport events, boating, and spending time with his family.