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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 15, 2004
Contact: Edmund Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Deputy Blair Highlights the Ways to Improve Federal Hiring

Federal Human Resources Professionals Challenged to Speed Hiring Process

Washington, D.C. - During his keynote address at conVurge's hrGOV 2004 Forum, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Deputy Director Dan G. Blair told the audience of Federal human resources specialists that they need to improve on the time they take to hire new talent. Blair, representing OPM Director Kay Coles James, also recognized and lauded the important work that HR professionals do, and he reminded them that they are on the "front lines, hiring those that help protect and support America's interests."

"Given the interest in and the importance of the work of government, we owe it to the American people to have hiring systems in place to ensure we have the right people on board doing the vital work of government," said Blair." Now the stakes are so much higher, and our mission in government is so much more critical."

Stressing the importance OPM places on federal personnel operations, Blair noted that getting the "right people in the right jobs at the right time" begins with agencies taking advantage of the flexibilities they have been given. He discussed OPM's new Veteran Invitational Program (VIP) to help transition America's soldiers, airmen and sailors from military service to the civil service. Blair stressed the importance of the federal government tapping into this valuable resource as, "America's veterans are committed to serving this nation, and they are extremely well trained."

Blair indicated that efforts to fix hiring have been a central priority at OPM and that much remains to be done across the government. We have made steady progress since then, particularly on the legislative front. First proposed by President George W. Bush in his "Freedom to Manage" initiative, a number of important new hiring flexibilities were enacted by the Congress as part of the Chief Human Capital Officers Act of 2002. These new authorities, coupled with those that have existed for some time, have the potential for dramatically improving our ability to hire a quality workforce."

Following-up on Director James' recent memo (see attached) on 10 actions agencies can take now to "speed up" the recruitment and hiring processes - such as recruiting veterans and holding job fairs on college campuses - Blair noted the need for performance measures.

"We all know what gets measured gets done, and you should apply this principle to the hiring process," said Blair. "Tell your HR staff right now to begin tracking "time to hire," especially for mission-critical jobs -- from the time a vacancy is identified to when it is actually filled -- and have them report it to you and your senior leadership team."

In closing, Blair said: "America needs you. The talent we attract and recruit to do America's business is up to you. You have the authority and the flexibility to bring to Federal service the best and brightest America has to offer. Now, you must have the desire and dedication to get that job done."

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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