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Human Capital Management Hiring Reform

 

Overview

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.

Workforce Planning

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:

  1. Aligning the current and future human capital needs to the agencies strategic (mission) requirements,
  2. Determining the number, skills, and proficiency level of required employees and where and when these employees will be required, and
  3. Identifying actions that must be taken to attract, develop, and retain the number and types of employees the agency will require - based on hard to find, hard to fill, hard to keep aspects of geographic location and any special skill requirement associated with the valid workload and associated position.

Effective workforce planning enables an organization to:

  1. Link workforce requirements directly to the agency's mission and strategic and annual business plans,
  2. Develop a comprehensive picture of where gaps exist between competencies the workforce currently possesses and future competency requirements,
  3. Identify and implement gap reduction strategies,
  4. Make decisions about how to structure the organization and deploy the workforce, and
  5. Identify and overcome internal and external barriers to accomplishing strategic workforce goals.

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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Assumptions

There are several assumptions workforce planners must make when undertaking the elements involved in workforce planning. These include that the:

  • Workforce planning process is viewed as the keystone to an effective and efficient recruiting, hiring and retention program;
  • Workforce planning is an ongoing process tied to budgetary decision making;
  • Agency has a current Strategic Plan and current Strategic Human Capital Plan;
  • Agency has dedicated workforce planners who are trained and competent at workforce analysis;
  • Workforce planning is being conducted in concert with other agency staff functions such as budgeting, human resources, operations, logistics, facilities, and IT;
  • Current workforce competencies were validated. If the competencies are not validated, additional time will be needed to adequately develop, assess, and validate the competency model; and
  • Time needed to accomplish workforce planning elements will vary from agency to agency due to the:
    • Level of executive interest and the message portrayed to agency and workgroup;
    • Level of expertise in the area of workforce planning;
    • Available, accurate, timely data, and;
    • Size of agency.

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Challenges

There are several challenges workforce planners will face when undertaking the elements involved in workforce planning. These will often include:

  • A lack of role clarity for HR and the line management in terms of workforce planning tasks and responsibilities.
  • The prior use of inadequate analysis tools or systems; and
  • A lack of workforce planning competencies and expertise.

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Metrics

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 percentage of managers reporting they have the information needed to make effective decisions regarding staffing requirements; and
  • Annual staffing projection including the number and required competencies achieved within five percent of workforce plan goals (Source: Annual Human Capital Management Report and Systems, Standards and Metrics, Mission Critical Occupation Resource Chart).

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Recruitment

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.

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Assumptions

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.

  • Based on merit principles;
  • A critical management function; and
  • An ongoing process requiring constant management and adjustments based on changes in the organization's mission or resources.

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:

  • Agency's human capital initiatives include strategies to attract, recruit, develop, and retain a diverse workforce;
  • Workforce Plan was developed and up-front planning activities were conducted;
  • Agency promotes their mission and career opportunities to potential applicants at all times, not just when filling jobs; and
  • Full-time Equivalent (FTE) allocations and recruitment initiatives are aligned with the agency's strategic priorities and performance budget, and are funded within existing budgetary guidelines.

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Challenges

There are several challenges recruiters will face when undertaking the elements involved in recruitment. These will often include:

  • Resource constraints for recruiting activities (e.g., staff);
  • Talent shortages in the job market and increased competition across Federal agencies for highly-qualified talent;
  • Shortages of highly-skilled human resource practitioners;
  • Existing technology/automation not always being used effectively, especially for tracking and reporting; and
  • Inattention to the recruiting process optimization due to lack of planning, staff, training, and resources.

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Metrics

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 percent of applicants reporting hearing about the job from agency recruitment efforts (sources include the applicant survey (USAJOBS and/or agency survey)); and
  • The percent of new employees reporting hearing about the job from agency recruitment efforts (source: agency’s New Hire Survey).

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Hiring

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.

Assumptions

There are several assumptions to be considered by those involved in carrying out the hiring roadmap. These assumptions are:

  • The Federal Government’s “Pledge to Applicants” is applied;
  • The Hiring Process is designed for filling positions with new hires from outside the Federal Government into the competitive service under the agency’s delegated examining authority (5 USC 1104(a)(2). It was not designed for filling positions under merit promotion procedures;
  • The Workforce Planning and recruitment processes are completed – in other words, positions are developed, validated, approved for resourcing, classified, position descriptions are established; and the appropriate assessment tools are developed prior to initiating the request for personnel action;
  • Merit Systems principles are maintained;
  • Veteran's preference requirements are followed;
  • The Hiring Process is designed for filling positions with open and close dates other than an open continuous announcement;
  • The Hiring Flexibilities, such as Direct-Hire Authority, are outside of this process; and
  • An automated staffing system is in place and operational.

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Challenges

There are several challenges facing those involved in the Hiring Process when undertaking this component. These challenges include the:

  • Availability of trained human resources staff to conduct the various steps of the hiring process;
  • Availability of managers dedicated to engage in the hiring process beginning with reviewing the workforce planning requirements and staffing and recruiting plans in order to select the individuals best suited for the position; and
  • Obtaining buy-in on the revised hiring procedures from all stakeholders including management officials, human capital practitioners, employees, and the like.

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Metrics

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 percent of employees hired within 80 days as described in the Hiring Process Component of the E2E Model (source: Hiring Timeline Data);
  • The percent of applicants who were able to obtain information on the current status of their application (source: New Hire Survey);
  • The percent of new employees reporting regular communications throughout the entire process (re: expectations for the hiring process) (source: New Hire Survey);
  • The percent of managers reporting that they were referred applicants with the talent needed to perform the job (source: CHCO Manager Survey); and
  • The percent of new hires reporting satisfaction with the hiring process (source: New Hire Survey).

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Resources

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Security and Suitability

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.


Assumptions

There are assumptions that must be made when undertaking the tasks involved in the Security and Suitability process. These include the assumptions that:

  • This process is for covered positions in the competitive service (as defined in 5CFR731) and career SES appointments;
  • In response to significant security clearance timeliness concerns, Congress called for improvements and established specific timeliness goals for initial clearance decisions as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA). Since the enactment of IRTPA, average timeliness for 90% of all initial clearance determinations reported has been substantially improved, from 265 days (in 2005) to 96 days (4th Quarter, Fiscal Year (FY) 2008. This time includes the initatiation time, measuring from the date the Applicant; certified the Standard Form to the date OPM : FISD received acceptable case papers; the investigation time; and the agency adjudication time.
  • Additionally, a Joint Security and Suitability Reform Team has been formed and tasked with the transformation of the Security and Suitability process for making hiring and clearing determiniations. This transformation will change many aspects of the current process.
  • The proposed Position Designation System will include a tool to assist in simplifying the current process of position designation.
  • Alignment of suitability and security investigations into tiers – resulting in future changes to the types of investigations available.
  • Agencies will reduce the timeframe for submission of the investigative package through increased use of e-QIP to submit investigations.
  • Moving to receiving investigations results electronically at the adjudicating/security office where practical.
  • Emphasis on agency reporting adjudication decisions back to OPM.

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Challenges

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.

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Metrics

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:

  • Compliance with Metrics defined by the Joint Security and Suitability Reform Team’s Suitability and Security Clearance Performance Accountability Council (PAC) Achievement of e-Clearance milestones set by the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Fully implement 95 -100% eQIP usage where practical.
  • Submission Timeliness reduced to 14 days or less with less than 5% rejection rate.
  • Adjudication timeliness to 90% within 20 days.

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Resources

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Orientation

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.


Assumptions

There are several assumptions that must be made when undertaking the elements involved in the Orientation process. These assumptions include:

  • Orientation is an ongoing process, not a one-day program;
  • Senior-level officials and managers representing other parts of the agency are involved in the orientation process;
  • The immediate supervisor takes the lead in orienting new employees;
  • Information and activities are delivered at relevant and opportune stages of a new employee’s first year;
  • The orientation process utilizes a wide range of training delivery methods such as lectures, on-the-job training, technology-based training, site visits, and rotations; and
  • Activities of the orientation process are open to existing employees, where appropriate.

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Challenges

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.

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Metrics

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.

  • Percent of employees reporting satisfaction with the orientation process; and
  • Percent of increase in retention rates: 1 year and 2 year.

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Resources

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Reference Materials

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.

Elimination of Written Essays (KSAs)

Guidance

Tools

Resume & Cover Letter

Guidance

Training

Category Rating

Guidance

Manager Accountability and Involvement

Guidance

Tools

  • Chief Human Capital Officers Manager Satisfaction Survey

    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.

Quality and Speed of Hiring

Guidance

Presentations

Archive Presentations

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