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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.
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.
We’ve just announced an exciting alliance between the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). UMUC will offer a 25 percent discount on out-of-state tuition rates on courses, certificates, and degree programs to all current Federal employees, spouses, and their legal dependents.
This alliance will increase all Federal employees’ access to high quality and affordable educational resources. One of my top priorities at OPM is to provide our Federal workforce – from resume to retirement – with the training and tools they need to provide excellent service to the American people and to progress and develop in their careers. This alliance will give us just such a tool.
The 25 percent discount will apply to all undergraduate programs and most graduate programs.
Anyone interested can begin to take advantage of this discounted tuition as early as the summer semester at UMUC. Registration for the first online summer session ends on May 14, 2014. UMUC offers two additional online summer sessions in June and July. So, make sure you visit UMUC for more information as well as the application and enrollment instructions.
Frequently asked questions about this exciting opportunity are available through the CHCO memo announcement.
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