Catching the wave of public service spirit

The next administration has an opportunity to attract new employees because of a renewed interest in government, said Jim McDermott, chief human capital officer at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“They should make use of the current public service spirit,” he said, adding that the enthusiasm is not confined to recent college graduates.

The NRC is encouraging the call to public service as it ramps up the number of employees in anticipation of increased nuclear energy use. McDermott said that in addition to agency human resources professionals, senior managers have undertaken efforts to help attract recent graduates.
“They want to develop people,” he said. “They see the HR professional as a business imperative and much more as enablers now than as just enforcers of personnel regulations.”

Executives will need to continue to focus on bringing effective managers into government as more managers become eligible to retire, said Keith Nelson, chief human capital officer at the Housing and Urban Development Department.

HUD has started to focus interest on hiring MBA graduates at HUD and encouraging them to work toward becoming managers and supervisors, he said. Government has historically attracted public policy and law graduates; now agencies are trying to bring in business school and information sciences graduates.

“Our experience is, when we knock on the doors of business schools, the interest is incredible,” he said. “They’ve been waiting for us. They didn’t realize that we were interested.”

When HUD posted its latest advertisement nationwide, the department received 700 applications for 13 slots. HUD is concentrating on speeding up the hiring process as much as it can, Nelson said.

The Office of Personnel Management is leading an initiative to streamline hiring. In the meantime, after HUD hires new employees and establishes their starting dates with the goal of getting them computer access, completing their security background checks and issuing official badges in their first day or two of employment, Nelson said.

“We’re focused on getting them to work as soon as possible,” he said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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