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The President's May 11, 2010 memorandum , Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process, is Phase I of the Administration's comprehensive initiative to address major, long-standing impediments to recruiting and hiring the best and the brightest into the Federal civilian workforce. The memorandum is based on issues that agencies have brought to the attention of OPM, and the outcome of this initiative is to support agency efforts to build the workforce needed to achieve their mission and strategic goals.The Presidential memorandum launches the Administration's flagship personnel policy reform initiative. It builds on the collaboration between OPM and agencies to streamline the hiring process and recruite top talent, especially for mission-critical jobs.
The President's initiative provides for a vigorous Government wide recruiting effort, makes it easier for Americans to apply for Federal jobs, raises the bar on candidate quality, and provides a commonsense approach to the overall hiring process. These steps are taken with rigorous adherence to, and respect for, the merit system principles upon which the civil service is grounded.
Implementation of this initiative will not succeed in each agency without strong leadership from the top. Institutional inertia has stifled previous reform efforts. The President's initiative sets a new course with clear objectives and detailed guidance, followed by continuous two-way communication between agencies and OPM, supporting one another, each step along the way.
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Workforce planning is a major component of strategic human capital management. It is defined as the systematic process for identifying and addressing the gaps between the workforce of today and the human capital needs of tomorrow. Workforce planning is also an essential tool for aligning human resource requirements through prioritization and shaping of mission related workforce requirements and associated budgetary considerations so organizations can effectively and efficiently meet their strategic objectives. The workforce planning process is a continuous, cyclical process that must begin well before the budget implementation cycle.
The process of workforce planning includes three basic steps:
Effective workforce planning enables an organization to:
The development of practical workforce strategies include strategic recruitment, retention, and shaping that requires the participation of executive leadership, management, employees, financial management, information technology, acquisition, and human resources. A comprehensive workforce planning process will also have a communication plan and change management mechanisms in place to allow agency personnel to adjust recruiting and retention strategies relative to possible changes in mission and/or resourcing.
The workforce planning process is designed for execution in sequence as each step informs the next. For practical purposes it is necessary to begin some steps prior to completion of the next step, and to align execution of steps with the budget planning and execution timeline. It is not a stand alone component and it must be done correctly up front if the other four components of the hiring process are to be effective. Once the workforce planning phase is complete, it must be effectively managed as it will impact the subsequent related hiring components.
Workforce planning is also an essential tool for aligning human resource requirements through prioritization and shaping of mission related workforce requirements and associated budgetary considerations so organizations can effectively and efficiently meet their strategic objectives.
Workforce planning is an essential piece of the hiring process. But it is not a stand alone component and it must be done correctly up front if the other four components of the hiring process are to be effective. Once the workforce planning phase is complete, it must be effectively managed as it will impact the subsequent related hiring components.
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There are several assumptions workforce planners must make when undertaking the elements involved in workforce planning. These include that the:
There are several challenges workforce planners will face when undertaking the elements involved in workforce planning. These will often include:
It is essential that workforce planners develop metrics in the beginning of the workforce process to determine the progress being made toward a particular goal. There are several metrics workforce planners can use to measure the success of their workforce planning efforts. These include:
The recruitment process is one of the activities that can have a critical impact on an organization's performance. The purpose of effective recruiting is to attract strong applicants prepared to perform successfully on the job.
Recruitment is an on-going process requiring attention and resources, even at times when the agency is not "actively" seeking to fill jobs. Recruitment strategies should be directly informed by workforce planning in order to target anticipated talent requirements. Posting a job opportunity announcement is not a substitute for the more focused targeted recruiting that agencies need to undertake to fill positions with highly qualified applicants. It is essential that agencies use all of the tools available to ensure a sufficient pool of qualified and diverse applicants.
Passive recruitment strategies have proven ineffective in attracting the best qualified and most diverse pool of candidates. Agencies with a proactive recruitment model focused/targeted on building talent pipelines, cultivating and maintaining partnerships, monitoring recruiting activities and sharing accountability will be more successful in securing top talent.
Effective recruitment in high-performing organizations occurs when management owns the process and human capital efforts are tied to the agency's mission and program goals. The agency's recruiting and workforce planning efforts must be based on the understanding of the talent challenges, hiring needs, required skills and competencies and a comprehensive, well integrated strategic human capital plan. Hiring priorities and overall recruitment strategies must be carefully analyzed, outlined, well developed, and approved in the workforce planning process.
Recruitment budgets in most agencies have remained steady or decreased. Agencies must ensure their recruitment teams have the necessary training, tools and support to maintain or increase the quality of hires while working within the constraints of limited resources. Important to developing a solid, efficient recruiting plan after first identifying, validating, and prioritizing workforce requirements is to determine where the highest payoff can be realized and targeting those areas/institutions first. Developing employment branding and identifying strategic recruitment activities in the up-front phase of the workforce planning process will better position agencies to achieve greater results recruiting high quality hires.
To assess and improve the way the Federal Government attracts the right talent, agencies should solicit feedback from new hires with no prior civil service experience to assess the reasons why they chose to work for the agency and their job search and hiring experience.
In addition to the above assumptions, recruiters also assume that the recruitment will be conducted in compliance with statutes and regulations, and accord with the "Pledge to Applicants."
Recruiters can also assume the recruitment will receive strong commitment and support from senior-level officials and managers in the recruiting process at all levels.
Finally, recruiters can assume that the:
There are several challenges recruiters will face when undertaking the elements involved in recruitment. These will often include:
There are several metrics which can be used to measure the success of this component. The following measures are the essential metrics that agencies need to report on in order to meet the requirements of their annual Human Capital Management Report (HCMR). These include:
The third component of the E2E Roadmap is the Hiring Process.
The hiring process begins well before a job ever materializes. It effectively incorporates the full E2E experience, including numerous elements associated with Workforce Planning, Recruitment, Security and Suitability and Orientation. The success of the hiring process is dependent on the effectiveness and efficiency of the workforce planning and recruitment components. By ensuring position descriptions are systematically reviewed for currency and relevance to ever-changing mission requirements, managers can proactively plan for vacancies and potential shifts in the composition of their workforce.
Effectively attracting and evaluating candidates drives many of the components within the hiring process. It is imperative that management coordinate and openly communicate with the Human Resources Office and vice-versa. Decisions such as the use of various hiring flexibilities, ranking procedures, and assessment instruments should be discussed well in advanced of any job as part of an overall hiring strategy. Sound job analysis is imperative and establishes the foundation of any hiring effort.
The variety of application procedures and automated staffing tools used throughout Government significantly challenges developing a standard hiring process. However, even under these current conditions progress can be made. The hiring process consists of some very definitive steps based on legal and regulatory requirements and based on clearly described merit principles. With advanced planning, as well as the effective use of technology and communication tools, considerable improvement can be achieved.
There are several assumptions to be considered by those involved in carrying out the hiring roadmap. These assumptions are:
There are several challenges facing those involved in the Hiring Process when undertaking this component. These challenges include the:
There are several metrics which can be used to measure the success of this component. The following measures are the essential metrics that agencies need to report on in order to meet the requirements of their annual Human Capital Management Report (HCMR):
The fourth component of the E2E Roadmap is Security and Suitability.
The Federal Investigative Services Division (FISD) is responsible for providing investigative products and services for over 100 Federal agencies to use as the basis for security clearance or suitability decisions as required by Executive Orders and other rules and regulations.
Over 90% of the Government’s background investigations are provided by OPM. Suitability is the process by which the character and conduct of applicants and employees are assessed to assure that their Federal employment will protect the integrity and promote the efficiency of the Federal service.
The security clearance process includes investigating and adjudicating the background of applicants and employees to determine their eligibility for access to classified information, as appropriate.
There are assumptions that must be made when undertaking the tasks involved in the Security and Suitability process. These include the assumptions that:
One challenge recruiters will face when undertaking the tasks involved in the Security and Suitability process, is that current, on-going reform efforts to align investigative and adjudicative processes may require adjustments to the investigation types associated with particular position designations.
Align submission process to allow for the submission timeliness to be reduced to 14 days or less with less than 5% rejection rate.
Align adjudication process to allow for timeliness to 90% within 20 days.
There are a few metrics managers and the Human Resources Office can use to measure the success of the Security and Suitability process. These include:
The fifth and final component of the E2E Roadmap is Orientation. Orientation is the agency's effort to acculturate a new employee into the organization.
As with any new relationship, how the agency treats a new employee during the first interactions leaves a lasting impression. The Orientation Process is a method of integrating and educating new Federal employees into the civil service; their specific organization; its mission, culture, structure, systems, and resources; their duties and responsibilities; and the pay and benefits aspects of Federal employment. Its purpose is to minimize the amount of time it takes a new employee to be a full contributor to the agency and to maximize the likelihood that the new employee will fit well.
Specifically, orientation should ensure new employees are a part of the organization, that they conduct themselves appropriately, and that they understand the mission, vision and goals of the organization. It should also provide knowledge, skills, and information the employees need or will to perform their jobs effectively.
Orientation is an on-going process which starts before an employee ever comes on board and lasts up to one year from their start date. It is designed to anticipate the needs and concerns of new employees as well as provide vital information to directly accelerate employee productivity. The process involves a series of developmental and acculturating activities that are planned in advance of the employee coming on-board and then delivered at stages matching employees’ information and skills gaps.
The orientation process benefits both the organization and the individual. By providing new employees with detailed information about the organization and their jobs, they will be able to work independently and contribute to their organization in a shorter time period. They will also gain insight into what makes organizational systems more effective and efficient.
An effective orientation process assures new employees they made the right career choice in joining the organization, they will experience greater job satisfaction, and they will receive the necessary foundation to progress in their careers. Employees will have a sense of belonging and a clear understanding of how their jobs impact the organization. A good orientation process is designed to show immediate dividends because employees are highly engaged from the start of their employment and therefore retention rates for new hires should increase.
There are several assumptions that must be made when undertaking the elements involved in the Orientation process. These assumptions include:
Agencies may face a few challenges with their orientation process, including available resources and other outside factors such as employee availability, supplies, work station, IT support and limited managerial, executive, and supervisory involvement in the process.
There are several metrics which can be used to measure the success of this component. The following measures are suggested metrics that agencies should track to measure the success of their orientation process.
Over the past year, OPM's number one goal has been to provide agencies a full range of support to help them meet the President's ambitious recruitment and hiring reform objectives.
Examples of the support OPM has provided to that end include; a collaborative network/community of practice ( MAX),* targeted agency support, mobile assistance teams (MATs), communication and training, including, bite-size "awareness" training, seminars, "do-it-yourself" training material, and frequently asked questions.
In addition to drawing on OPM for help, agencies should continue to use their previously identified SWAT team members to implement hiring reforms. These teams have already done excellent diagnostic work around hiring reform and are a ready-made resource to drive further progress.
* MAX access requires a .gov or .mil email account.
Manager Satisfaction Survey provides valuable information to your agency that will be used to make process improvements to the hiring process. If you are a manager or supervisor responsible for hiring, we need to hear from you. The data that you provide is instrumental in not only determining hiring reform success for your agency, but also government wide success. All Federal managers are encouraged to complete the Manager Satisfaction Survey for each hire. The survey takes less than five minutes to complete and gives you an opportunity to provide feedback directly to your agency's decision makers.