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Our Director Director's Blog

It’s always exciting when the great work by our OPM team gets recognized. Our Human Resource Solutions division – the group that provides high quality human capital services, support, and training for so many of our Federal partners – and our Senior Executive Services and Performance Management division – the group that manages the overall Federal executive personnel program – were recently singled out by four organizations for their outstanding efforts.

HRS’ USA Performance Team received two accolades at the Nextgov Bold Awards, which are given to individuals who conceive of and implement bold ideas for using technology to improve the way government serves the public. HRS was cited for its work creating the first government-wide software service performance management system -- USA Performance. The team also received the People’s Choice Award, after receiving the most votes on Nextgov’s online poll.

The USA Performance Team lead, Rebecca Ayers, was recognized by another organization, Federal Computer Week. She and her team provide training to Federal employees on work-life and telework issues. Federal Computer Week named her a Rising Star for 2014, describing her as a Federal IT employee making a difference.

OPM’s Center for Leadership Development, which provides training to senior executives across government, took first place for the public sector from ELearning! Magazine as its Top Learning Organization. The magazine recognized CLD’s outstanding efforts training Federal leaders in critical professional skills that keep them competitive and productive. The center’s programs are designed to help leaders drive organizational excellence, and they are known around the country for their outstanding quality in preparing leaders for global challenges. CLD’s fantastic work deserves the great recognition it received.

Our Senior Executive Services and Performance Management division was recognized for an online leadership course titled “Executive Excellence and Wellness through Strategic Leadership,” which was created in partnership with OPM contractor PowerTrain, Inc. It won two Bronze-level Horizon Interactive Awards in the categories of Websites-Training/E-Learning and Websites-Government Agency. The Horizon Interactive Awards program, which recognizes excellence in interactive media, based its awards on originality and creativity, strong graphic design, appearance and user experience, technical sophistication and effectiveness in communicating a message and producing solutions. The course is housed on HRU.gov and is one of the top-10 highest rated courses by the site’s users.

I am so very proud of our OPM team members. They are a perfect example of what our employees accomplish every day. Together, we are innovating, leading, and serving the American people.

 


As I work with the President to build a world-class Federal management team, I have launched an important series of meetings that we are calling Thought Leader Talks.

The three-part series is bringing together inspired and innovative leaders from a wide array of sectors -- government, business, good government groups, academia, and global organizations -- to discuss the future of executive leadership. These discussions will give us an opportunity to leverage our combined expertise to advance senior leadership for the Federal government. We will work together to not only address the challenges we are currently facing, but also to share best practices from our individual worlds.

During our inaugural session on September 12, we discussed the future of leadership. Specifically, we explored the qualities successful leaders need and ways to succeed in tight fiscal times. We also discussed the difficulties of engaging multiple generations of employees.

The meeting quickly zeroed in on millennials. They are the future of the Federal workforce and of the leadership of that workforce. We addressed our responsibility to recruit them to public service and to prepare them to take over for the current generation. We know from studies that these young people are driven by a desire to make a difference in the world. They want to help people and bring change in the policy areas they care about. In short, they are perfect for public service. Now we need to tackle the challenges of bringing them on board.

At our meetings in October and November, we will address two additional topics: ways to develop leaders using simulations of actual workplace situations and the future of assessment and performance. Both discussions are vital to understanding how we develop the strongest leadership teams possible, which is a key priority for the President and for me.

I am thrilled that these meetings are bringing together a diverse and talented group of leaders to tackle such an important topic. Regardless of our missions, we all face many of the same complex challenges. We all have a need for excellence in leadership. Together, we will continue to combine our unique expertise, experiences, and perspectives to move us toward a future that raises the bar for leaders, for the Federal workforce, and for executive performance across the nation.


Until October 15, we are celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Latino community has given us so many traditions, so much culture and history, and also countless achievements, particularly when it comes to serving our great country. As the first Latina Director of the Office of Personnel Management, I see it as my mission to continue this tradition of service and to carry on a proud legacy.

So for me, Hispanic Heritage Month is about honoring the Latino government leaders who have come before me. I stand on the shoulders of the first Latino Cabinet member, Lauro Cavazos and Antonia Cello Novella, the first Hispanic U.S. Surgeon General (and the first woman to hold that position). I also have the honor of standing on the shoulders of my friends and mentors, including Federico Pena, who was Secretary of two departments – Transportation and Energy; of Henry Cisneros, the first Latino HUD Secretary, of Ken Salazar who led the Interior Department and of Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy. And of course, I am lucky enough to stand on the shoulders of Hilda Solis, the first Latina to head the Department of Labor and my boss when I served as her chief of staff.

These fine leaders made it possible for me to lead OPM, for Secretary Perez to be leading the Department of Labor, for Secretary Castro to be heading HUD, and for Maria Contreras-Sweet to be the Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

What once we thought was the impossible is now the routine. There is never going to be a time in Federal leadership when Latinos are not going to be represented.
But we need to work to not only continue this progress, but also to make sure Latinos, and people from every underrepresented community, are present at every decision-making table. It is crucial that we have diversity at every level of Federal service.

As OPM Director, this is one of my most important goals. And one of the best ways to ensure that the Federal workforce better reflects the people it serves is for us to transform the way the government recruits and attracts the next generation of Federal employees.

To better attract Latinos to government, I’ve been working with OPM’s Hispanic Council on Federal Employment. The council is focusing on two areas, the Senior Executive Service and recruitment, especially at colleges and universities.

I have been to 11 colleges and universities around the country, including seven Hispanic- serving Institutions. We are working with these colleges and universities to help them match their curriculums to the needs of our 21st Century Federal workforce.

OPM is also enhancing the tools we are using to attract a diverse Federal workforce, particularly when it comes to Millennials. I know that Latinos, especially the young, are heavy users of social media. So we are going to them on the platforms they use instead of waiting for them to come to us. We’re also putting job descriptions in plain language and using humor and graphics to make sure the outreach is friendly, appropriate, and well received.

We still have a lot to do and we’re working our hardest to ensure that every community is represented in government. So, as we continue to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s honor together the accomplishments of those who have paved the way for the Latino community. And let’s make sure to pay it forward by working to ensure we recruit the next generation of Latino leaders for the Federal government.
 

 

 


As we launch the 2014 Combined Federal Campaign, I’m excited to let you know about a new feature this year that will make it possible for all Federal employees to give to the causes and charities you care about, regardless of where these organizations are located.

Year after year, Federal employees have been incredibly generous in giving to the CFC. Since the first campaign was conducted in 1964, Federal employees have contributed more than $7 billion to the charities of their choice.  Last year alone, more than 800,000 Federal employees donated about $209 million. This force for good has made a real impact on so many lives.  

This year marks the launch of “universal giving” in the CFC.  This means that you are no longer limited to donating to the charities listed on your local CFC Charity List.   You can now choose from more than 24,000 participating charities throughout the United States and overseas. Each of these organizations has been vetted by Federal employees, so you can be confident that they meet the CFC eligibility requirements and public accountability standards.  

The CFC has simplified things by adding an online search function to its website. You can search using a charity’s five-digit CFC code, its name, keywords, taxonomy code, or all of the these elements. You can even limit the administrative and fundraising rates of the charities you view.  

I am particularly excited about Universal Giving because it will allow me the opportunity to support charities in my hometown in Colorado that have assisted my family and neighbors over the years. 

This addition will also allow military service members and civilian employees whose jobs take them overseas or to various stations around the country to donate to their hometown CFC charities or to any CFC cause in the nation that they choose. 

Please take a moment to search for your favorite charities or the causes you care about.  I hope that as you have in the past, you will consider joining me and our colleagues in supporting the nonprofit community through the CFC, the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. You CAN make a difference!


I’m happy to report that today OPM issued a regulation that gives us another way to honor our fallen Federal employees by providing their loved ones with an American flag to pay tribute to their service and to their ultimate sacrifice.

I know that many agencies and Federal employees have supported the creation of the Flag Recognition Benefit for Fallen Federal Civilian Employees, which provides this tangible symbol of our appreciation and respect for their loved one’s service and dedication.

Thursday is a National Day of Service and Remembrance. We will pause to recall the sacrifices of the Americans we lost on September 11, 2001. I hope we also take a moment to honor the sacrifices of the members of our Federal family who gave their lives on that tragic day. And we must remember that Federal employees throughout the nation and the world have lost their lives while serving the American public.

I encourage loved ones who would like to receive a flag to contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the employee worked. The benefit applies only to employees who died on or after December 20, 2011, when the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011 took effect. The law authorizes an agency to provide only a single flag on behalf of a deceased Federal civilian employee as a way to express the nation’s deepest sympathy and gratitude.

The final regulations describe the eligibility requirements and explain the procedures for requesting a flag. OPM has also prepared a guidance document that will be sent to agencies immediately.

So I hope all Federal employees will review the details of this benefit. If you know of a loved one who bravely served for our country and has passed away, please contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the deceased Federal employee worked.

And as always, thank you to all of our Federal employees for the work you do for the American people each and every day.

Image of The American Flag with Text overlay that says 'Announcing the Flag Recognition Benefit for Fallen Federal Employees' 


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