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Leadership

At the Office of Personnel Management, every day we work to support the President’s Management Agenda’s goal to recruit, hire, and retain a world-class workforce. We develop human resources policies for everything from benefits to employee engagement to performance management to diversity and inclusion. And we believe strongly that the policy decisions we make must be grounded in research.

Connecting research to policy is so important to us that it’s a goal in OPM’s Strategic Plan. This week, OPM partnered with American University to host its first research summit. We brought together researchers and policy experts from 20 Federal agencies, 19 colleges and universities, and partners from industry and the non-profit sector. We focused on six specific human capital policy areas: work/life issues; benefits; performance management; diversity and inclusion; leadership; and employee engagement.

Our goal was to determine the current state of research in each of these areas.

At this summit, we wanted to determine where there are gaps in the research we need to make the best informed decisions about human resources policies for Federal employees. We looked at the challenges to closing those research gaps and what research we need to best inform our policy decisions over the next several years.

This summit will lead to enhanced collaborations. OPM already works with researchers around the country as they look at human resources issues in depth. We provide researchers will access to selected OPM data. For example, by accessing the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey data, which contains insights on employee engagement, productivity, innovation, and other employee concerns, researchers have written at least 60 academic papers in recent years.

We must plan and make policy for the Federal workforce of the future. The way we all work is constantly changing. Employees are teleworking more. Workspaces are becoming more open and collaborative. We are asking employees to be more innovative and to think out of the box.

By making sure that our human resources policies are informed by the most rigorous and up-to-date research, OPM can better design more effective human resources policies and help the Federal Government move to the forefront as an employer of choice.

The ultimate goal of this summit and of the work of OPM’s Office of Planning and Policy Analysis is to use these collaborations to help us establish a research agenda for Federal human resources management that will shape human capital policy for years to come.


One of the things I love most about my job as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management is the variety and complexity of the work we do to serve the American people.

I have the opportunity to work with brilliant people every day, teams and individuals tasked with solving some of our country’s greatest challenges. I’ve also learned that the process we use to get results – and the way all the steps in that process fit together just right – can be nearly as rewarding as the results themselves.

Let me explain this in another way. I love to cook, especially when it involves a complex recipe. Mixing many ingredients and flavors together in just the right way to make something new and delicious is incredibly satisfying to me.

Once my dish is cooked, I also love the presentation of the food. It may sound a little odd, but I always watch my guests take their first bite. If they talk through it, I feel like I’ve failed. But when they don’t say anything at all, and I see an expression of enjoyment appear on their faces, that’s when I feel I’ve done my work well.

Success in the workplace and success in the kitchen are a lot alike. Cooking is about the preparation, the presentation, and the first bite. These same steps can apply when we think about our jobs. How do we prepare? How do we present our work? What happens when our customers take their first bite? Is it satisfying? How can we improve the recipe?

Here’s an example of what I mean. At OPM last year, we wanted to give Federal employees more educational opportunities. The process began in the OPM kitchen: We knew employees were craving new training and advancement opportunities. We spent time preparing the recipe: We found a college willing to partner with us that offered a variety of programs and online degree options for Federal employees across the country – the University of Maryland University College. Once the partnership was fully cooked, we presented it to Federal employees, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. As a result, we are exploring the possibility of additional partnerships like the one with UMUC.

I love seeing my team prepare, present, and learn from the experience. In doing so, together we can serve the American people one great recipe after another.

Director Archuleta in green dress surrounded by high school students in cooking jackets. All in kitchen.


I like to think that our Federal workforce leaders know how much we all appreciate and respect the hard work they do each and every day. But yesterday, I had the honor of hosting an event where I joined the President in making clear just how much we value the efforts of all our senior leaders.

More than 3,000 senior leaders came together to share success stories and to listen to administration leaders and the President thank them for a job well done.

As the President said, circumstances such as sequestration, pay freezes, and a shutdown have made the jobs of our senior executives even more challenging than usual. Throughout these difficulties, these leaders have persevered and excelled. Through their leadership, our 2-million strong Federal workforce makes sure that each day in America, 30,000 airplanes land on time, children have clean water to drink, and millions more Americans have quality, affordable health coverage for themselves and their loved ones.

As I said on Tuesday, it is fitting that the symbol of the Senior Executive Service is a keystone, which is the stone that holds all the other pieces of an arch in place. These talented, committed, and dedicated leaders are the keystone of America’s workforce.

Tuesday’s event also gave all of us an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to building and leading an engaged, inclusive, innovative, and diverse Federal workforce. We celebrated our successes and were inspired to continue the important work of providing excellent service to the American people each and every day.

As the Federal workforce prepares to share this holiday season with friends and family, I hope you will take a moment to let your colleagues know how much you value your Federal family. I know I am grateful for the talent, the commitment, and the dedication of the women and men of the Office of Personnel Management. I am honored to be your senior leader.


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.


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