Critical Read

Can better personnel management smooth presidential transitions?

Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

WHAT: "Managing the Government's Executive Talent" by Douglas Brook and Maureen Hartney of Duke University.

WHY: When the next U.S. President takes office in January 2017, he or she will inherit a sprawling and complex bureaucracy that will need an injection of talent at the highest levels. How can a new administration, potentially one with top leaders and advisers new to federal service in the executive branch, hit the ground running?

The Ready to Govern project, a collaboration between the Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for the Business of Government, has been bringing together experienced leaders and federal stakeholders to answer that key question.

A new report by Douglas Brook and Maureen Hartney of Duke University recommends creating a chief talent officer to support opportunities to take an enterprisewide and strategic view of the government's needs, improve opportunities for rotations and in-service training for the Senior Executive Service, and make sure that key agency roles are retained (CIOs and other executives) until replacements are found.

Additionally, the authors suggest recruiting for C-suite jobs across agencies and using experts in IT, human resources, finance and other functional areas to identify leading candidates for CIO, chief financial officer, chief human capital officer and other top jobs.

The report also offers a plan for reclassifying the top level of federal managers as the Executive Service Corps, which would include political appointees in management roles and a top tier of SES leaders charged with administering high-impact programs.

VERBATIM: "New models for recruiting, hiring, training and developing top leadership talent are needed to meet the technologically empowered future workforce. To begin, there are existing authorities, powers and practices that enable early innovation in talent management. The new administration should leverage these authorities to seek early successes in that area."

Read the full report.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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