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    Hiring is one of a manager’s most important responsibilities. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to hire many people – at the junior, mid-career, and senior levels – and over time, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to find and hire top talent.

    The human resources team is a crucial partner and advisor for assisting with the technical aspects of hiring and to help make sure the process moves along smoothly. But every team is different, even within the same business, organization, or agency. And managers are best equipped to know what kind of distinctive skills and talents they need on their team.

    If managers work hand-in-hand with the HR team to identify the strategies that will help them identify and interview the best possible candidates, they can help achieve “hiring excellence.” Encouraging managers to be fully engaged rather than relying solely on HR to drive the process is key to OPM’s work to improving hiring throughout the Federal government.

    When I get to the interview stage, I take applicants out of their rehearsed comfort zones to get a real feel for who they are and how they would work with me on a daily basis. We all have our tried and true interview techniques and stories – our biggest weaknesses, what we bring to the office – and these are helpful. But more important for me is to find out who the applicant is. What is the individual’s passion, and how does that help us achieve our mission? Are they constantly curious and ready to learn? How do they navigate real-time problem-solving? Are they able to think outside the box? These qualities are important to me.

    One of my favorite interview questions to ask is, “What is the most important thing that you accomplished last week?” This question is valuable because it solicits both a tangible and unrehearsed answer, as well as a genuine insight into what the person values about their work. I also like to hear how the candidate did the work and who he or she brought in to help, because this says a lot about whether or not the candidate is a team player.

    Especially when hiring junior folks, I always look for how well the person took advantage of the opportunities available to them, no matter what the setting, whether the applicant came from the Ivy League or a community college, a small startup or one of the Fortune 500. I value that above most other qualities because it shows resourcefulness, willingness to grow, curiosity to learn, and a commitment to working hard in order to succeed.

    These qualities are important to me when I hire. And I encourage every manager throughout government to take some time to think about what they want in their next employee, both in technical skill and personality. Managers are the key to building hiring excellence across government. 

    Picture of several Federal Employees interviewing each other during a workshop.


    In 2010, the President laid down a challenge to his Administration: hire 100,000 people with disabilities into the Federal workforce within five years. This was one of the many ways the President has demonstrated his strong commitment to broadening career opportunities for people with disabilities, and I’m happy to report we are making steady progress toward meeting that important goal.

    With one year of data still to analyze, we are on track. From 2011 to 2014, the Federal government hired nearly 72,000 full-time permanent employees with disabilities. When we add in part-time permanent employees, the number is nearly 80,500. And, if we include temporary employees, the total is more than 115,000.

    OPM’s latest report on the employment of people with disabilities shows that at the end of fiscal year 2014, there were more people with disabilities working in the Federal government – by percentage share and by real numbers – than at any time since we started record-keeping 34 years ago. In the past year alone, the share of people with disabilities in the Federal workforce went from 12.8 percent to 13.6 percent. Of the new hires of people with disabilities, 16.4 percent were at the GS 14 and 15 levels.

    I’m proud of the work we have done with agencies across government to help make this happen. We are also looking to improve on these totals. We will share the data from fiscal year 2015 when it’s ready.

    Header:  OPM.GOV  Graphic with a green and blue background. Graphic is located at the lowest right corner of the image with  4 avatars, 3 blue ones connected to one big white avatar by a timeline. Headline: The President's Challenge, Hire 100,000 People with Disabilities in 5 years. Subhead: From 2011 to 2014, (followed by 3 separate boxes containing the following) 71,967, full-time permanent employees with disabilities. 80,469, full-time and part-time permanent employees with disabilities. 115,221m all permanent and temporary employees with disabilities. Subhead: Transforming Leadership, 16.4% of new hires of people with disabilities were GS-14s and GS-15s. Footer: OPM.GOV  

    This important story is about more than numbers. By demonstrating our commitment to providing equal employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities, we are also tapping into a talent pool that enriches the 2-million strong Federal workforce.

    In my view, we need people with disabilities in every agency and at every level of Federal service if the government is going to provide the excellent service that the American people expect and deserve. We cannot fulfill our mission without such diversity.

    As encouraging as the numbers are, our work is not done. We need to make sure that after we hire these accomplished and motivated employees, they have opportunities for advancement. We need to do more to provide them with training and mentoring. We need to focus on retaining them in Federal service.

    We’re holding leaders accountable. We’re working with agencies and affinity groups to build mentoring programs, because we know how important great mentors are to fostering confidence and success. And, we are committed to working with agencies in an effort to provide people with disabilities the reasonable accommodations they need to do their jobs.

    I want to thank the team at OPM and all those throughout the Federal service who have been working diligently to fulfill the President’s vision of a workforce that is a model employer for people with disabilities. We will continue to make this effort a priority as we sustain and improve on these results.


    Yesterday, we began mailing notification letters to the individuals whose personal information was stolen in a malicious cyber intrusion carried out against the Federal Government. Impacted individuals will be notified by OPM via U.S. Postal Service mail. Email will not be used.      

    The letters being mailed to those affected by this incident will describe the comprehensive suite of identity theft protection and credit monitoring services that will be provided for at least three years, at no cost, to impacted individuals and to their dependent minor children. An impacted individual is someone whose personal information, including Social Security Number, was stolen.

    As we have noted before, those impacted by this breach are already automatically covered by identity theft insurance and identity restoration services. However, the Federal Government is providing additional services that impacted individuals are encouraged to enroll in, free of charge.

    The notices will contain a personalized identification number (PIN) number which is necessary to enroll in the covered services. Please note that neither OPM, nor anyone acting on OPM’s behalf, will contact you to confirm any personal information. If you are contacted by anyone asking for your personal information in relation to compromised data or credit monitoring services, do not provide it.

    As you know, a very large number of people were impacted by this breach, and the nature of the information involved has national security implications as well. OPM and the Department of Defense have continued to analyze the impacted data to verify its quality and completeness, and in this process, we determined that approximately 5.6 million of the impacted individuals had their fingerprints stolen. If an individual’s fingerprints were taken, this will be noted in their letter. 

    While Federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited, an interagency working group with expertise in this area will review the potential ways adversaries could misuse fingerprint data now, and in the future. This group will also seek to develop potential ways to prevent such misuse. If in the future, new means are developed to misuse the fingerprint data, the government will provide additional information to individuals whose fingerprints may have been stolen in this breach.

    All of these factors make it important that we take the time necessary to make sure the notification process is carried out carefully. We’re committed to getting this right. What this means is that, while the notifications are beginning this week, it could take considerable time to deliver them all. 

    I understand that many of you are frustrated and concerned, and would like to receive this information soon. My personal data was also stolen in this breach, and I am eager to get my notification letter as soon as possible so that I can sign up for these services. However, given the sensitive nature of the database that was breached – and the sheer volume of people affected – we are all going to have to be patient throughout this notification process.

    In the meantime, please check OPM’s online cybersecurity resource center at www.opm.gov/cybersecurity for updates and additional information. This website has valuable suggestions about how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime, has answers to many frequently asked questions, and allows you to sign up for automatic updates. We are continually refreshing the site and will continue to do so as this process unfolds.

    OPM and our partners across government are working hard to protect the safety and security of the information of Federal employees, contractors and others who entrust their information to us.

    Together with our interagency partners, OPM is committed to delivering high quality identity protection services to the Federal community. We will continue to update you as this process continues. Thank you for your patience, your service to the American people, and your continuing support.

    Graphic along with blue background. Filling most the page is the OPM LOGO. Headline: GET PROTECTE. STAY INFORMED. Subhead: CYBERSECURITY RESOURCE CENTER.

    By Maureen Clark, MPH, Public Health Analyst, National Cancer Institute, PMF Class of 2015

    This is the time of year that I recall with chagrin how I got my start in the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) program. The applications were due, and I applied at the last minute, the day of the deadline. While I do not recommend that strategy, I do, without reservation, recommend the PMF program.

    The application period for this prestigious, competitive program for recent graduates of post-graduate programs is open now through October 13, 2015. If you’re just learning about the program or are on the fence about whether to apply, let me tell you more about my experience.

    After being selected as a PMF-STEM finalist -- a track focused on science, technology, engineering, and math -- I was selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NCI has been a perfect fit because of my educational background in public health, English, and pre-medical studies, as well as my passion for NCI’s mission: to conduct and support research, training, and programs aimed at reducing the cancer rate.

    The PMF program looks a little bit different at each agency. At NCI, PMFs typically complete four to six rotations across the organization. My first rotation was in one of NCI’s program offices, where I worked on strategic planning and the identification of scientific trends related to health communications research. And right now I am in NCI’s Office of Government and Congressional Relations, which serves as the liaison between Congress and NCI’s scientific staff. Each experience presents unique challenges, but all of the offices have treated me as a vital member of the team.

    PMFs are also required to complete 80 training hours per year over the course of the two-year program. I have participated in training specific to my current work, as well as a special session on leadership in the style of George Washington at his historic estate in Mount Vernon. I also had the chance to attend sessions on innovation, held at the White House, and on Congress, held on Capitol Hill. There are also extremely helpful informational interviews. During a typical session, I sit down with a colleague at NIH and ask as many questions as I can to learn about his or her career.

    The fellowship has provided me with an insider’s view of how the Federal Government operates. I’ve watched the budgeting process and have come to understand the priorities that shape NIH’s mission. And my external rotation -- one of the key features of the PMF program -- in the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Communications gave me a broad perspective on opportunities across government agencies.

    I still have another year left in the fellowship, but because of the experiences I’ve had, I have some ideas about what’s next for me. I’d like to continue to address health disparities, particularly as they relate to health literacy and health care access. I am going to use the health communications skills I have been able to develop. And I do hope that my next job will be in the Federal Government.

    I’m very glad that I made that last-minute decision to apply to the PMF program nearly two years ago. And I’m grateful for the training, networking, and career opportunities that I’ve had since then. I am most thankful for the chance to have a positive impact on the lives of people across the country.

    Visit www.pmf.gov for more information about the PMF program.

    - Photo of Maureen Clark a participant of the Presidential Management Fellowship Program.

    The results of the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) are in and they show that employees across the Federal Government are more engaged in their workplaces and more satisfied with their jobs than they were a year ago. While there is still plenty of room for improvement, there are signs that the Administration’s focus on employee engagement is beginning to pay dividends for the workforce, and ultimately for our customers, the American people.

    I’d like to share some highlights of the government-wide results as well as share an important update on how you can access some of the data. The employee engagement and global satisfaction results of this year’s FEVS can now be viewed by the public in visual formats on UnlockTalent.gov, OPM’s innovative digital dashboard. This tool, which allows customized views of the data, was previously available only to the leadership of Federal agencies.

    One highlight in the government-wide results that is especially meaningful for me and other leaders this year is a 1 percent increase in the employee engagement index score, to 64 percent from 63 percent in 2014. Although the change may appear to be small, it is in fact statistically significant, and many individual agencies experienced larger gains.

    The FEVS provides a powerful way for agency leaders to evaluate their engagement programs and office cultures. As leaders, we know that employee engagement drives performance and is closely tied to mission success in the Federal Government, which translates into better customer service for the American people.

    Agency leaders have actively responded to feedback from prior years’ surveys and those efforts are reflected in the results. Compared with 2014, more employees in 2015 perceive their agency conditions as conducive to employee engagement, which is defined as an employee’s sense of purpose, manifest in the level of dedication, persistence, and effort that he or she puts into the work and into the overall commitment to an agency and its mission.

    Internal engagement efforts are more likely to be successful when employee feedback is used to make workplace changes. That’s why these results are crucial. Agencies that experienced increases in employee engagement of 3 percentage points or more also saw an increase in employees’ confidence that the survey would be used to make the agency a better place to work.

    Another important index also increased by 1 percent government-wide: The global satisfaction score in 2015 was 60 percent, up from 59 percent in 2014. That score tells us that employees are more satisfied with their jobs, their pay, and their organizations and that they are more likely to recommend their agency to others.

    This year, 50 percent of the employees who were surveyed responded, for a total of 421,748 responses from 82 agencies. The response rate was 3 percentage points higher than last year’s 47 percent.  Overall, 75 percent of responses to the individual survey questions were more positive than they were last year.

    And the results underscore the dedication of Federal employees. The survey found that 90 percent or more of employees view their work as important, are willing to commit extra effort when necessary to get their jobs done, and consistently seek out ways to do their jobs better.

    Other trends remained strong in 2015: By and large, employees expressed that they  enjoy good relationships with their supervisors and are satisfied with telework and alternative work schedules. Areas where the results show we need improvement are: Adequately dealing with poor performers and recognizing differences in performance levels within work units.

    Employees’ ratings of senior agency leaders, which declined by 3 percentage points in the 2014 survey, rebounded somewhat in 2015 with a 1 percentage point increase. But it’s clear that we need to continue our focus on engagement and building confidence in our senior leadership.

    This is the second in a series of infographics highlighting results from the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).   The infographic positions the FEVS as a powerful tool for agencies and continues the metaphor of a classic wrench.   Title:  First Glance at Results 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey  Top Left Quadrant:  Decorative graphic composed of simplified, stylized versions of data visuals such as pie charts, line and bar graphs. This area also contains two government-wide data points from the 2015 results:  •	The Response Rate increased to 50% •	75% of responses more positive than last year  Top Right Quadrant: Two government-wide data points from the 2015 results:  •	Gov-wide Engagement increased to 64% •	Global Satisfaction increased to 60%  Bottom half of infographic introduces UnlockTalent.gov, the new online visualization tool for exploring FEVS data, with the following features and capabilities:  •	Now accessible to all Federal employees and the public •	Explore engagement and global satisfaction scores •	Review trends from 2010-2015  The primary visual in the bottom half is a combination padlock. Supporting visuals are small examples of chart and graph styles.   The bottom of the page contains the main URL and hashtag:   OPM.GOV/FEVS #FEVS 

    As of today, everyone can access the employee engagement and global satisfaction data with our visualization tool, UnlockTalent.gov, which tells the story with graphs, charts, and other visual means. It is a very helpful way to analyze the results agency by agency.

    Here are five things you’ll want to know to get started:

    Clicking on UnlockTalent.gov will take you directly to the data, no sign-in required.

    • Explore government-wide data, specifically response rates, employee engagement index, and global satisfaction scores.
    • Explore, by agency, the employee engagement index (including the supporting subfactors that create the index -- Leaders Lead, Supervisors, and Intrinsic Work Experience) and global satisfaction index scores.
    • See how agencies compare in these areas in 2015 as well as review their trends from 2010 to 2015.
    • Download the data into a spreadsheet.

    This tool has been an invaluable resource for leaders throughout the government, and I am pleased that it is now available for all to use. Every employee is a part of the change and we want to keep the momentum going. If we continue to work together, the progress will show in future surveys.

    Note to our readers: OPM will release the full 2015 FEVS government-wide report soon.


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