University: Invest in feds

Federal agencies have to take seriously the competition they face from the private sector in hiring and keeping talented employees, according to a report from the George Washington University Center for Innovation in Public Service and BearingPoint, a management and technology consulting firm.

The report, titled "A Strategic Framework for Implementation of Human Capital Management in the Federal Government," offers recommendations to agency leaders.

“Our center’s report helps federal managers make sense of the human resource guidance coming from many government agencies,” said Kathryn Newcomer, director of GW’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration and of the Center for Innovation in Public Service. “If agencies want to become more flexible and effective, they will have to start investing more in their workforce. Our report provides direction and practical advice to government organizations to successfully develop their people.” Newcomer was also a principal investigator on the study.

Wendy Carr, managing director in charge of BearingPoint’s Human Capital Management practice, said the aging federal workforce and the government's outdated pay system also make it harder for agencies to draw talented new employees.

The framework laid out in the study "gives decision-makers the tools to be more effective mangers and build people-centric organizations that will improve the federal workforce over time," she said.

Researchers found four basic challenges almost all agency managers face:
  • They need to reorganize and manage employees as critical assets.
  • They should plan for and manage staffing and skills.
  • They must make a priority of workforce costs for sustained investment.
  • They have to keep communication flowing with employees.
The university will host a symposium Dec. 12 to discuss the study.

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