New OPM survey heralds rethink of federal job design

employee data (kentoh/ 

The Office of Personnel Management is launching a survey to gather information on what skills and abilities are needed for workers and managers to perform effectively across important federal occupations.

The new program, called the Federal Workforce Competency Initiative, will offer new data to OPM to use in job design, recruitment, performance management and training. It builds on existing OPM efforts, known as the Multipurpose Occupational Systems Analysis Inventory-Close-ended, or MOSAIC. The survey-based program, which is also meant to identify these "critical competencies," started in the 1990s.

The new project is "an opportunity for OPM to work together with agencies to identify the competencies most important for success," OPM Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan said in a statement. "It will contribute critical data needed to continue building the foundation for effective human capital management across the federal government."

The personnel office will be able to use it in policy-making for things like classifications and qualifications, McGettigan wrote in a memo sent to agency heads.

The office is launching the first phase of the project via a survey to random employees and supervisors in a large swatch of occupational roles. This initial rollout is aimed at polishing general competencies that are included in many government jobs.

Other iterations of the initiative will focus on defining the skills and knowledge base needed for more technical competencies among certain types of jobs, she wrote.

The first survey will be open for about three weeks. McGettigan encouraged agency heads to likewise encourage their employees to take the survey if they receive it. Having OPM centralize this work means that agencies won't have to do their own studies, she wrote.

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.


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