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    employee engagement

    As I celebrate my one-year anniversary as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, I have reflected on OPM’s accomplishments over the past few months. I think about how honored I am to be a part of a team that has done so much for the American people. And today I hosted a digital town hall to talk about how OPM will continue to move America’s Workforce forward in the coming years.

    As Director, I have met so many Federal employees from across the country. Their wisdom and their suggestions have enlightened me and guided me. Their feedback and input inspired us to create a new initiative that focuses on how we can recruit, develop, and engage a diverse workforce for today and for the future. I’m calling this initiative REDI, which stands for Recruitment, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion.

    When it comes to recruitment, REDI will help us hire more people like the guests I highlighted at today’s town hall. Gioia Massa, whom I met at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, is living her childhood dream of growing plants in space. Miriam Martin, whom I visited with at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, is a woman veteran who wants to use her military logistics skills in Federal service. And Matthew Gonzales, a young man I met in Los Angeles who works on satellite communications for the Air Force. There are many Gioias, Miriams, and Matthews, driven by innovation and imagination, who want to be a part of the Federal family. REDI will help hiring managers bring such talented people into their agencies.

    With the REDI initiative, we are also rethinking how we better recruit and communicate with job-seekers. And as our workforce ages, we need to focus on recruiting more young people. The millennial generation wants to work at places where they can innovate and make their marks. We are increasingly using social media to reach them, and that outreach will continue to grow in the coming months. We also must create the right pipelines for people to come into government. That’s why we are enhancing Pathways, OPM’s programs for student interns, recent graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows. Pathways participants get a taste of government service through fulfilling experiences that include training and real-work exposure. And then maybe, they will join the next wave of Federal employees.

    I will be talking more about our efforts in the coming weeks and months and I look forward to sharing them in more detail with you. This past year has taught me that Federal employees are constantly looking for better ways to do their jobs better and to serve the American people. I know that REDI will help them do that.

    So thank you to my Federal family for an incredibly rewarding first year. Thank you for all you do each and every day to serve America. Going forward together, we will continue to show every American that they are served by a mission-driven, talented, and model Federal workforce.


    As we begin this year’s Labor Day celebration, I want to take a minute to thank each and every member of our Federal family for your hard work and for the excellent service you provide the American people. One way for us to honor your efforts is to make sure you have the flexibilities you need to help balance your life at work and at home.

    From the moment he took office, President Obama has promoted and supported the kind of flexible benefits that will help us recruit, empower and retain a world class Federal workforce. During the historic White House summit on Working Families on June 23, the President signed a memorandum outlining his vision for such a workplace culture.

    OPM recently issued guidance to Federal agencies to make sure that we deliver on the President’s vision.

    Workplace flexibilities go beyond the traditional annual leave, sick leave and family and medical leave. Working with their supervisors, Federal employees have the right to request alternative work schedules, job-sharing, telework, part-time work and leave transfer programs.

    Our memorandum reminds agencies that they “must not create arbitrary and unnecessary barriers” that would keep employees from asking to take advantage of workplace flexibilities. And I will be asking agencies to report to me about what best practices they are using to create a culture and workplace environment that supports the use of these programs. I also want agencies to report any barriers that may unnecessarily restrict the use of these flexibilities so we can work together to remove obstacles.

    The bottom line is, I don’t want Federal employees to worry about retaliation when they seek work schedule flexibilities. And we want to make sure agencies have the procedures and policies in place to create a culture that allows employees to feel comfortable making requests.

    We talk a lot here about employee morale and how to best create a workplace where employees feel engaged and appreciated. What better way for us to show our appreciation for the incredible work our 2 million-strong, talented workforce does than to be sensitive to the tug employees often feel between their desire to do their jobs and the need to take care of a family situation or emergency.

    What’s more, these flexibilities are not just good for employees. I know that if you believe, when a family emergency comes up, that your manager will bend over backwards to accommodate you, you will go the extra mile when a critical situation arises at work.

    We are one Federal family. We need to look out for each other, help each other and trust each other to do the best for the American people we serve.

    Enjoy your well-deserved Labor Day holiday!


    OPM has released a new data tool to the agencies called UnlockTalent.gov. I am excited about this powerful new interactive dashboard because I think it will help Federal leaders foster a culture of excellence and high performance at each and every agency.

    With UnlockTalent.gov, agency leaders can take advantage of the valuable information from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and other HR resources, including Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) data. It will help them better understand the data and it will give them the extra support they need to create the most effective engagement programs for their employees.

    The dashboard is exciting for another reason. It is one of the many ways we are working to meet the President’s Second Term Management Agenda goal of creating a culture of excellence and engagement, leading to higher performance.

    There are some great features available as a part of the dashboard that makes it particularly helpful and unique. It is customized to each individual agency’s data with personalized pages. And when users sign in, they have access to five separate tabs: Agency Overview, HR Core Metrics, Employee Engagement, Global Satisfaction, and Community of Practice. Each tab offers a different type of data analysis or set of resources. The Community of Practice serves as a hub for agencies to explore best practices from the Federal Government and elsewhere. The combination of data and resources is a powerful way for agency leaders to be able to think about their engagement programs and office cultures.

    We didn’t create this tool alone. OPM teamed up with 14 Federal agencies and the Office of Management and Budget so that the dashboard would be designed based on real input from potential users. We’ll also continue to improve it by gathering user feedback and applying it to updates that will add information and features in the coming months.

    I am very proud of the team here at OPM and our government partners for this great product. It is proof of what innovation and teamwork can create and it’s happening all across government. I look forward to hearing from agency leaders about how UnlockTalent.gov is helping them bolster their efforts to engage our talented Federal workforce.


    From Katherine Archuleta, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Jonathan McBride, Director of the Presidential Personnel Office

    Through his Management Agenda, President Obama is committed to delivering a smarter, more innovative and more accountable government for the American people.

    We have had the honor to take a leading role with the “People and Culture” portion of the agenda - a portion we believe is the cornerstone of the agenda. Why? Because an engaged, innovative, and productive Federal workforce is the key to everything we do in service to America. And last week, we released our detailed Agency Priority Goal action plan on how we plan to improve the Federal workforce both for today and for tomorrow.

    Within this action plan, we are taking a three-pronged approach to make sure the Federal government successfully unlocks the talent of the workforce we have today and builds the workforce we need for the future. Through these efforts, we believe we will be able to create a culture of excellence and engagement that will foster higher performance; an exemplary Federal management team, starting with the Senior Executive Service; and innovative recruiting tools that allow agencies to attract the best talent from every segment of society.

    We’d like to describe for you these important elements of the People and Culture pillar.

    Driving Employee Engagement: We need to draw on the varied talent, expertise and experience of our great workforce, and to do that, we need to give our employees some new tools:

    • We will use the valuable responses to our Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) to provide agencies with more than 13,000 individual unit-level reports. FEVS data will start to be available in August, a month earlier than usual. Along with the reports, agencies will have a new interactive dashboard allowing them to mine the data for insights into better engagement strategies and learn best practices for driving specific outcomes from best-in-class managers.
    • With the launch of GovConnect, we are encouraging agencies to let employees step out of their usual roles and responsibilities to collaborate on innovative solutions to longstanding problems.

    Building a World-Class Management Team: Starting with the Senior Executive Service, we will position our management team to provide the highest level of leadership within and across Departments and Agencies.

    • We will work with Department and Agencies to implement an improved cross-Government SES onboarding model, developed by the President’s Leadership Workshop and a number of career SES, to help Senior Executives “hit the ground running,” and will commit to and prioritize continual SES development to give them the leadership tools they need throughout their service.
    • OPM will work with Agencies to improve and streamline their processes for recruiting and hiring SES to increase our ability to attract and hire world-class talent from all segments of society.         

    Finding the Best Talent: Working with stakeholders, OPM is meeting with agency and department heads and untying the “knots” getting in their way of recruiting the talent they need.

    • We are focusing on improving the quality and diversity of our hires and increasing the involvement of hiring managers to complement the previous emphasis to reduce the time to hire. 
    • We are working with our partners in the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council and with Diversity and Inclusion Directors to find the best recruitment and outreach strategies and to fully utilize existing hiring flexibilities and approaches. And we’ll become a full player in today’s digital employment marketplace by expanding our use of social media.
    • OPM is identifying ways to better use data that tracks hiring needs and applicant flow to drive recruitment strategies and measure success.         

    These initiatives of the People and Culture pillar were developed over the past year by some of the most senior officials in government through the President’s Management Council along with staff from all agencies. 

    We want to thank our teams at OPM and the Presidential Personnel Office as well as our agency partners, the CHCO council, the President’s Leadership Workshop, and the Office of Management and Budget for what we know will be their tireless efforts to implement this ambitious action plan.  Furthermore, we invite your feedback as we move forward given this will be a living agenda. I know that together, we will make sure that the Federal government is a model for the 21st Century.


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