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Workforce Planning and Analysis


While almost every agency reports engaging in workforce planning activities, the rigor, depth, and breadth of reported activities varies among CFO Act agencies. Overall, agencies are aware of the importance of enterprise-wide workforce planning, and most felt the OPM-issued Workforce Planning Guide to support these efforts was useful. Many would like additional support from OPM in the form of automated tools and guidance on short- and long-range planning. During the FY2023 HCRs, we observed an increased understanding of the critical importance that workforce planning serves for effective human capital management. We also observed increased attention on workforce planning as an essential programmatic activity - as opposed to a collateral duty or “nice-to-have but not required” effort.

We are beginning to see the strategic use of Human Capital Operating Plans (HCOPs), and efforts are being made to continue, and in some cases, restart HRStat quarterly data-driven reviews. Agencies recognize the usefulness of data visualization in HRStat data-driven reviews and in continuous improvement efforts. When agencies use the HCOP and HRStat strategically, it facilitates the accomplishment of human capital goals and strategic objectives.


Enterprise-wide workforce planning is more difficult in decentralized agencies with multiple components. Common workforce planning or succession planning barriers reported include: (1) lack of staff with the right skill sets/expertise in workforce planning, and (2) lack of structure, coordination, or clarity around roles and responsibilities across levels of the organization (HQ or CHCO office versus offices/divisions).

Lack of tools, funding, consistent methodology, and/or guidance to embed workforce planning into business processes at those different levels is an issue. Some agencies lack clear plans to evaluate their strategies, monitor progress, and ensure their targets and milestones are met. However, agencies can utilize the tools, resources, guides, and frameworks OPM provides to support the development of these plans. Additionally, agencies noted that ensuring the onboarding experience is consistent among employees, particularly in large agencies with dispersed workforces when the agency has limited technology, is an ongoing challenge.

Agency Requests for OPM

Agencies made several requests of OPM for support with workforce planning efforts. Some requests include: (a) more assistance to hiring managers on job analysis and classification, (b) a Hiring Manager Guide, and (c) additional automated workforce planning tools. In recent months, OPM issued general and technical competences for certain fields such as AI (“The AI in Government Act of 2020 – Artificial Intelligence Competencies” in July 2023), and have issued position coding guidance and competency models for fields like Program and Project Management (August 2023) and Program Evaluation (November 2023).

OPM has made great strides in providing agencies access to data, through the development of Time to Hire (T2H) and attrition dashboards. However, agencies are interested in OPM providing greater analysis on these data sets and recommendations or benchmarks. One recommendation was to create a government wide student intern announcement to allow for sharing certificates and assessment tools to streamline hiring of interns. Multiple agencies also asked for additional training and tools for HR Specialists and managers on effective workforce planning and analysis. Overall, agencies welcome greater guidance on mentorships, competency assessments, and how to use hiring flexibilities.


Currently, OPM is reinvigorating efforts in workforce planning technical assistance, including launching a “Future of the Workforce Team.” The first phase includes OPM’s launch of the Workforce Planning Guide and a follow-up introductory webinar, along with analysis of information collected from the HCRs and feedback from the introductory webinar to identify initial agency challenge areas (for example, leadership buy-in, data analysis, and working with multiple components). 

The Future of the Workforce Team will focus their second phase on application of workforce planning to address agency challenge areas. This will include exploring strategies to increase support for agency workforce planning needs, providing direct technical assistance to agencies in response to their requests, and establishing a workforce planning community of practice. This community will give agencies additional opportunities to share leading practices, tools, and techniques and to explore the future vision for workforce planning. 

Early Career Talent


All agencies understand the benefit and importance of utilizing internships and other early career talent programs as a way to bring in different perspectives, while creating a stream of talented and diverse employees with new skill sets. Agencies are increasingly interested  in using early career talent programs to help open paths to employment and opportunities for all. Moreover, agencies are also shifting from unpaid to paid programs as well as reconsidering compensation practices that provide for fair and  equal opportunity. Agencies provided positive feedback to OPM regarding its actions to increase early career talent. These actions included the issuance of the OPM/OMB joint guidance on promoting Internships, Fellowships and other Early Career Programs to help agencies efforts to increase their use of these programs, as well as OPM’s proposed revisions to the Pathways regulations (further discussed below).


Growing early career talent across government is a challenge especially when agencies have been impacted by staff losses over the last three years. Agencies would like to broaden the knowledge and expertise of their workforce, but must balance this with more immediate mission goals. This impacts the ability to bring on early career talent. Many agencies utilize workforce planning to allocate mission critical positions to  early career talent, but often first recruit for more senior level staff who can “hit the ground running.” The current Pathways Program has created some difficulties for agencies and lacks flexibility to allow for targeted recruitment. Agencies also faced challenges with funding, mentoring interns, and tracking unpaid interns. In August 2023, OPM published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would update the Pathways regulations in order to better enable the Federal government to compete with other sectors for early career talent. This is the first update to the regulation since they were issued in 2012, and the updates reflect the changing skills and interests of the early career workforce, and lessons learned since the Pathways regulations were issued. Questions also arose on how to identify ways to implement registered and certified Apprenticeship Programs to create opportunities for those accepted into a rigorous apprenticeship program, but unable to afford post-secondary education.

Agency Requests of OPM

The Department of Labor requested to explore with OPM, proposed regulatory changes to the Pathways Programs and identifying ways to include registered and certified Apprenticeship Programs to create opportunities for those who are accepted into a strenuous apprenticeship program but may not be able to afford to go to a post-secondary school. 

The Department of Treasury requested a list of promising practices to increase early career talent as well as to partner with OPM to create cohorts for interns to assist in establishing relationships with peers. 

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) asked for OPM to assist with gathering leading practices to centralize funding and hiring for early career talent, particularly for large geographically dispersed agencies. 

Lastly, the VA and other agencies inquired about OPM pursuing a legislative fix to increase the hiring caps for the College Graduate and Post Secondary hiring authorities.

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