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About Us / Strategic Plan / Goal 1: Position the federal government as a model employer

Goal 1: Position the federal government as a model employer

Position the federal government as a model employer, improving the government-wide satisfaction index score by 4 points.

Overview

In its central role leading federal agencies and the workforce in people management policies and programs, OPM serves more than 2.1 million civilian workers spanning the entire United States and beyond. OPM has an opportunity to position the federal government — the nation's largest employer — as a model that sets an example for other private and public sector employers in America and around the world.

OPM strives for the federal government to be a model employer where every federal job provides fair pay and benefits that reflect the diverse needs of the workforce. As a model employer, the federal government will recruit from all segments of society to attract a workforce that draws from the diversity of the American people.

Towards this effort, OPM will improve the federal hiring process and develop innovative assessments so that federal agencies can hire the talent needed to confront the challenges they face. OPM will also invest in developing and retaining talent so that the agency's commitment to recruiting, assessing, and hiring top talent pays off for years to come. Likewise, OPM will adapt to emerging trends by advancing workplace flexibilities and developmental opportunities to help the federal government lead employers nationwide in leveraging lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to make permanent improvements in the way employees work.

This is a historic moment for the nation and for the federal workforce, with a rapidly modernizing world navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, and the nation grappling with the urgent call to advance equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity across society. In this environment, OPM has a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact. No employer can match the federal government when it comes to public service and mission. OPM will continue to emphasize the unique opportunities that federal service offers to the workforce to make an impact on most important issues facing the country.

Achieve a federal workforce that is drawn from the diversity of America, exhibited at all levels of government, by supporting agencies in fostering diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible workplaces. By FY 2026, increase a government-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility index score by 6 percentage points.

Overview

The federal government has an opportunity to set the standard for how an employer fosters a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible workforce.

Many underserved communities remain under-represented in the federal workforce, especially in positions of leadership. In June 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14035 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. The Order establishes a government-wide initiative, led by OPM and OMB, to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all parts of the federal workforce.

Strategies

  • Review policies and practices to eliminate potential barriers to equity, and develop plans to eliminate those within OPM's authority, in each of the following workforce functions: recruitment; hiring; promotion; retention; professional evaluations and rewards; professional development programs; the availability of mentoring programs or sponsorship initiatives, employee resource group and affinity group programs; temporary employee details and assignments
  • Track demographic data and leverage expertise to look deeply at diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across grade/pay levels and the employee lifecycle to the extent permitted by law
  • Improve outreach and recruitment from historically underserved communities by promoting partnerships, paid internships, fellowships, and apprenticeships
  • Utilize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility assessment tool to evaluate agency recruitment, hiring, promotion, retention, professional development, pay equity, reasonable accommodations access, and training policies and practices for fairness and impartiality across all pay levels
  • Assess potential barriers to access and advance employment opportunities (to include SES) and equity for employees with disabilities and develop plans to eliminate those barriers
  • Assess potential barriers to employment for LGBTQ+ employees, including non-binary gender marker options in federal hiring, employment, personnel vetting, and benefits enrollment paperwork and develop plans to eliminate any barriers identified and advance equities across the employment lifecycle
  • Review job classification pay-setting regulations and guidance and draft proposals to promote pay equity across all levels of government

Performance Measures

  • Government-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility index score

Contributing Organizations

  • ODEIA, ES, HCDMM, HI, OCFO, OPM HR, and SuitEA

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 1. How can OPM effectively promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) through workforce policies and programs?

Develop a government-wide vision and strategy and implement policies and initiatives that embrace the future of work and position the federal government as a model employer with respect to hiring, talent development, competitive pay, benefits, and workplace flexibilities.

Overview

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has had the opportunity to use lessons learned to determine how work will be performed moving forward and set the standard for how workplace flexibilities can be a strategic asset to help recruit, retain, and support employees in new ways, all while finding new and innovative ways for the government to deliver on its mission.

In its 2021 report to Congress, NAPA concluded that "meeting the needs of a 21st century workforce will require reinvigorated focus on strategic human capital management and performance".[1] NAPA also suggested that OPM take the lead for federal civilian human capital through its policies, guidance, and programs.

Strategies

  • Support agencies by providing human capital tools, guidance, and services as they transition to the post-reentry work environment
  • Create a vision and strategy for how the federal government can be a model employer with respect to hiring, talent development, competitive pay, benefits, and workplace flexibilities in the years to come, in alignment with the President's Management Agenda
  • Develop and advance human capital policies to support the longer-term future of work
  • Execute on the government-wide vision and strategy through supporting agencies on human capital issues to prepare them for the future of work

Performance Measures

  • Percent of CHCOs who report they have the necessary guidance and resources from OPM to inform their future of work planning
  • Percent of CHCOs who report they find the services from OPM to inform their future of work planning helpful

Contributing Organizations

  • CHCOC, CLIA, ES, HCDMM, HRS, MSAC, OC, OCIO, and ODEIA

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 2. What strategies and approaches are needed to position the federal government for the post-pandemic work environment and the future of work?
  • Question 3. How do telework, remote work, and hybrid environments affect agencies, employees, and customers? What strategies are effective for optimizing telework, remote work, and hybrid environments?
  • Question 4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current federal classification and pay systems? How could classification and pay be improved?
  • Question 5. How can OPM design employee benefits and compensation to better meet the needs of federal employees?
  • Question 6. Do government-wide performance management regulations and guidance meet the needs of managers and employees? What strategies are effective in improving performance management?

Build the skills of the federal workforce through hiring and training. By FY 2026, increase the government-wide percentage of respondents who agree that their work unit has the job-relevant knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish organizational goals by 4 points.

Overview

In a rapidly modernizing world, OPM has an opportunity to rebuild and empower the federal workforce for success. Since 2001, GAO has included strategic human capital management on its High-Risk List for the federal government. According to GAO, mission-critical skill gaps in the federal government pose a high risk to the nation because they impede the government from cost effectively serving the public and achieving results.[2] Relatedly, NAPA recommended OPM strengthen the federal human capital workforce by upgrading the human capital competency model, instituting a certificate program for credentialing staff and expanding trainings with a focus on customer service and problem solving.[3]

Strategies

  • Modernize the federal workforce competency model
  • Strengthen the federal human resource, acquisitions, and cybersecurity workforce
  • Facilitate recruiting and hiring of diverse, early career talent by implementing recently enacted statutory changes applicable to early career talent, modernizing the Pathways program, and designing innovative paid internship programs
  • Launch a new initiative to promote innovation in federal talent across government by creating a new process to identify and develop, select, high-impact talent projects
  • Implement improvements to the competitive hiring process, including adoption of new selection rules (for example, the "rule of many")
  • Expand training offerings for human capital professionals and leaders focused on customer service and problem solving
  • Drive improvements to assessments used for federal hiring by establishing government-wide hiring assessment line of business and agency talent teams
  • Leverage Competency Exploration for Development and Readiness tool to conduct government-wide skill gaps analysis across multiple high-risk functions and develop resources to address identified skill gaps
  • Create a talent surge playbook to support agencies to acquire the skillsets needed to achieve their missions
  • Support agencies in advancing the implementation of skills-based hiring approaches to fill priority positions

Performance Measures

  • Percent of respondents who agree that their work units have the job-relevant knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish organizational goals
  • Average score for hiring manager satisfaction that applicants to human resources, acquisitions, and cybersecurity positions are referred in a timely manner with the necessary skills to perform the job
  • Percent of vacancies using alternative assessments to replace or augment the self-report occupational questionnaire

Contributing Organizations

  • ES, HRS, MSAC, and OPM HR

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 7. What challenges or barriers exist in the hiring process? What are effective actions to address these challenges or barriers?
  • Question 8. What strategies are effective in encouraging adoption of rigorous hiring assessments within all pay systems?
  • Question 9. What strategies are effective for increasing and maintaining the capacity of the federal workforce to meet critical agency needs?

Champion the federal workforce by engaging and recognizing federal employees and elevating their work. By FY 2026, increase the number of social media engagements on recognition-focused content by 15 percent.

Overview

As the federal government's response to recent challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic have shown, federal workers across the country and world play a pivotal role in responding to the complex challenges facing the nation. As a part of their efforts, many federal workers at agencies large and small have been met with increased challenges as a part of their daily work. According to the 2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, 48 percent of federal workers reported that work demands had increased somewhat or greatly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, only 59 percent of federal workers agreed that they were satisfied with the recognition they receive for doing a good job.[4]

Coupled with the impact of now-revoked Executive Orders and perceived attacks on the integrity of the civil service, some OPM stakeholders have also expressed concerns in interviews about the potential long-term effects these trends have taken on federal employees across government. For these stakeholders, there exists a perception that such trends may negatively impact the morale and, in turn, the performance of segments of the federal workforce. By virtue of its position as the leader in federal human capital management, OPM has an opportunity to lead the effort to champion and tell the story of the federal workforce to strengthen the morale of the federal workforce and recognize their service to the public.

Strategies

  • Share leading practices related to engagement and recognition across federal agencies through CHCOs, Federal Executive Boards, the White House, and other stakeholders with shared missions
  • Increase attention to programs that regularly spotlight workers and union members at OPM and across the federal government throughout the year, culminating with Public Service Recognition Week
  • Create an OPM-led interagency working group focused on recognizing and elevating the federal workforce

Performance Measure

  • Number of social media engagements on recognition-focused content

Contributing Organizations

  • OC, ES, OPM HR, CHCOC, and OPM HR

Footnote 1

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 2

Government Accountability Office (2021). HIGH-RISK SERIES: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas (GAO-21-119SP). March 2021.

Footnote 3

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 4

U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey 2020 Governmentwide Management Report.