NAPA eyes HR reform

A National Academy of Public Administration panel believes that the federal government needs a new human resources system if agencies are to harness the full power of information technology to deliver services.

Myra Shiplett, director of NAPA's Center for Human Resources Management, said the panel will publicly release this week its final report and recommendations on IT compensation strategies and how the government can best compete for IT talent.

Shiplett previewed some of the panel's findings Aug. 29 at the Office of Personnel Management's Strategic Compensation Conference 2001. These include: finding a "market solution" for solving the federal IT workforce crisis by using innovative programs such as pay-banding and special salary rates; beefing up training programs; and awarding bonuses.

In addition, the panel concluded that "IT professionals want to earn promotions and pay increases based on performance," Shiplett said. Agencies should also offer a balanced work/life program and invest the time and resources needed to implement change.

Government needs a new approach to hiring IT workers, Shiplett said, particularly since it will need to increase its IT workforce by 20 percent during the next seven years. Now, there are two vacant positions for every qualified candidate.

Fortunately, the workforce "is finally being recognized as a contributor to effective government at every level," Shiplett said, adding that IT is the other "compelling force."

Fred Thompson, a member of the CIO Council's IT Workforce Committee, said the NAPA panel will describe how its recommendations would be articulated in a new human resources system.

"It's a challenge to work within our current structure," Thompson said.

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