OPM: Calling all SES hopefuls

Agency seeks to expand feds’ enrollment in executive leadership training program

EPA addresses employee succession at all levels

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency like to say they prepare employees for leadership from the time they walk in the door until the day they retire.

Through a series of internship programs and midlevel leadership initiatives, EPA officials try to give all employees opportunities
to develop skills that will let them advance through the ranks, said Luis Luna, EPA’s
chief human capital officer and assistant administrator of administration and resources management.

EPA recruits potential employees through an intern program in which they hire workers for two years and rotate them four or five times within the agency to give them a variety of experiences.

The agency also has a management training program for General Schedule 13 to 15 employees and a Senior Executive Service rotation program. “Every six years, we ask SESers to try different things,” Luna said. “We talk to them and make matches with other EPA offices so they get a variety of experiences.”

Luna said EPA also encourages the use of classroom training and shorter rotational assignments for mid-tier employees.

— Jason Miller

Editor's note:This story was updated at 12:12 9.m. Oct. 2. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.


The Environmental Protection Agency’s Luis Luna used a baseball analogy to describe the challenge facing the Senior Executive Service (SES) governmentwide. “We want to have bench depth as people retire so we have others ready to move in.”

Luna, EPA’s chief human capital officer and assistant administrator of administration and resources management, said the federal government lacks that bench depth. With 90 percent of its senior managers becoming eligible to retire in the next nine years, the government must do something, he said.

One step the government has taken is to update its newest executive leadership training program. The Office of Personnel Management, with assistance from the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, is trying to address SES succession planning through its updated candidate development program. The program’s second session begins this fall.

“We are trying to broaden the pools of executives from different skill groups,” said Bob Danbeck, senior adviser to OPM Director Linda Springer.

OPM introduced the SES development program in 2005. “We took the idea to the CHCO Council, and they thought it was a good one. The goal is make sure we are ahead of the curve and have qualified people for those positions.”

The yearlong program, which had 12 graduates in 2006, offers executive training sessions at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Va., and rotational assignments within students’ own agencies, Danbeck said.

“At end of the program, OPM will qualify them as SES-ready,” Danbeck said. “The idea [of the program] is for executive managers to understand how government works and what is expected of them, including how to run an organization, mentor employees and face the myriad of challenges every manager faces.”

Many agencies run their own SES training programs, Danbeck said, but the purpose of the OPM/CHCO Council initiative is to ensure that executive training is always available to SES hopefuls.

For example, EPA enrolled 51 employees through its own SES training program in 2002, but it hasn’t run a program since, Luna said.
“Asking OPM to run the program makes sense, and it is more cost-effective,” Luna said. “We like the notion of regularity and predictability because we can make sure those who want to take the training have all the prerequisite classes already done before the SES program starts.”

Tom Fox, director of the Annenberg Leadership Institute at the Partnership for Public Service, said agencies began developing their own courses 15 to 20 years ago, when most officials thought that was the best approach. But a governmentwide SES training program will improve government as a whole, Fox said.

“It will address the growing leadership gap and improve collaboration,” Fox said. “It creates a mind-set of collaboration for the next generation of SESers.”

Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, said OPM’s program will especially benefit small agencies that don’t have the resources to develop their own executive development programs. But she said executive training is only part of the answer.

“We need to keep SES positions sufficiently attractive,” Bonosaro said. “With what is happening with SES pay for performance, a lot of GS-14 and -15s, who should be looking to move up, are saying they will not get locality pay. It is not clear if they will get pay adjustments, so they are not excited about moving up.”

NEXT STORY: SEC case proves merit pay is hard

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.