OPM cites progress with strategy to add flexibility to federal hiring

Agency counts on innovative strategy to attract employees to public service

OPM’s Career Patterns Guide

Related Links

The Office of Personnel Management is putting a great deal of stock in its alternative career patterns initiative as a way of attracting new workers to government service and competing with the private sector for qualified employees.

“The talent pool is much smaller than the demand,” said Linda Springer, OPM’s director. “The government’s position is not unique, she said. “Every company around the world is going to be in the same situation.”

Speaking at the recent Federal Financial Management Conference
in Washington, D.C., Springer said OPM is working through the federal Chief Human Capital Officers Council to advance the alternative career patterns approach to hiring. Springer is chairwoman of the CHCO Council’s executive committee.

OPM is requiring executive agencies to integrate alternative
career patterns into their hiring practices by Oct. 1. The strategy recognizes the emergence of new work patterns, such as telework and flexible work schedules.

“The idea of looking at career patterns is a new concept” developed by OPM, said Janet Barnes, the agency’s chief information officer. For example, Barnes said, retirees from the private sector might work for the government in specialized positions for several months.
OPM’s Career Patterns Guide illustrates the concept with these scenarios:

  • Midcareer technology experts spend a few years on a groundbreaking federal project before rotating back out to work in the private or non-profit sector.
  •  Benefits adjudicators review cases and work from home at any hour of the day or night.
It’s a question of taking reaching different potential employees and “matching up work characteristics with the available pool of talent,” said Barnes, who was a panelist at a recent Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) luncheon.

For the strategy to be successful, federal agencies will have to do market research “in much greater depth and around specific career patterns,” Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, told the AFFIRM audience.

“Most agencies approach recruiting talent as a passive experience,” Stier said. “They post a job on the Web, and
typically they post it in language that is not all that attractive. That’s not enough.”

OPM launched the initiative last June. It asked agencies to perform inventories of job titles by Jan. 1 and link occupations with characteristics such as flexible work arrangements. 

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group