Transition Watch: Human resources officers face familiar, new challenges

Recruiting, hiring and retaining a diverse and skilled workforce will remain a priority for chief human capital officers during the next administration, the CHCO Council chairman said in a report released Dec. 19.

CHCOs will face several growing challenges, added Michael Hager, CHCO Council chairman and acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, in the council’s fiscal 2008 annual report to Congress. For example, agencies will need to better integrate a blended workforce of federal employees and contractors in addition to supporting more interagency and public/private efforts, Hager said. The report doubles as a transition guide for President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, Hager said.

Another challenge is building and sustaining federal employee leadership, he said. The CHCO Council and OPM must develop strategies to recruit and retain the next generation of federal employees by giving them opportunities to initiate organizational change, learn on the job, earn performance-based rewards and advance their careers, Hager said.

In the report to Congress, Hager said the CHCO Council can help agencies by:
  • Developing metrics to measure human capital success.
  • Transforming the federal human resource profession to be a strategic partner.
  • Highlighting the flexibilities agencies can use to hire the best candidates.
During 2008, the council's Hiring and Succession Planning Subcommittee partnered with OPM to develop and test a framework and guidance for improving the federal hiring process. The “End-to-End Hiring Roadmap” gives step-by-step instructions on effectively and timely hiring employees, Hager said.

“The collaborative partnership between OPM and federal agencies on a governmentwide reform initiative of the magnitude of the ‘End-to-End Hiring Roadmap’ should serve as a model for the CHCO Council under the leadership and direction of the next administration,” Hager said.

Agencies also can share their human resources success stories with others through the CHCO Council, he said. For example, the Justice Department CHCO shared its efforts in creating an enterprise human capital management plan that all Justice agencies have agreed to use, he said. The CHCO Council issued a collection of successful human resources practices earlier in the year and sponsored training sessions that highlight innovative approaches, such as National Defense University’s sharing of best practices using virtual world Second Life, the report states.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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