In what appears to be a never-ending effort to help agencies understand the federal hiring process, the Office of Personnel Management came out on Tuesday with new resources designed to support a “talent surge” within government.
“Important work needs to be done across the federal government so that we have a workforce in place to cope with the present moment,” OPM Director Kiran Ahuja wrote in a new memo. to those responsible for human capital. “We know we need to be strategic in building long term, assessing the federal government‘s needs for the future. This will require a commitment from agency leaders to develop short, medium and long term strategic workforce plans. OPM is ready to work with our partner agencies to develop these plans. “
The new resources are supposed to help agencies increase recruitment and fill key positions needed to implement the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which President Joe Biden enacted last month.
The OPM is part of a new task force created by the Biden administration to help the government implement the new infrastructure law.
But OPM said many agencies already had significant recruitment needs before the bipartisan infrastructure law became a new mission requirement. The agency has spoken with the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the IRS about their various recruiting efforts, an OPM official told Federal News Network.
To guide them, OPM on Tuesday published a list of hiring agencies that agencies have to recruit talent. Agencies have dozens of ways – at least over 100 – to hire new employees. But with so many options, many federal organizations often stick to the handful of authorities they already know.
OPM’s new resource is not an exhaustive list of all, but it is meant to serve as a guide to help agencies identify federal hiring authorities that might be of assistance during this time.
The agency has also published what it calls a “guide to rebuilding the federal workforce.”
“Over the past few years, many federal agencies have lost highly skilled workers in a variety of mission critical areas, making it more difficult for the federal government to accomplish its mission,” the manual read. “These workers include, among others, scientists, climate professionals, mine inspectors, civil rights lawyers, housing professionals, and staff with expertise in acquisitions, human capital and cybersecurity.”
The handbook urges agencies to develop workforce and succession plans and work with colleges, universities and other institutions to attract students, graduates and others as part of a comprehensive recruitment program.
And he recommends that agencies involve federal hiring officials more in the hiring process, an issue that has long frustrated human capital managers and other human resources experts. The OPM urged federal hiring officials to work more closely with agency human resources experts to identify specific job requirements, write accurate job descriptions and advertisements, and find the right competency-based assessments to select. and monitor candidates.
The manual also encourages agencies to use some of the federal OPM hiring authorities finalized earlier this year as tools to recruit new talent.
The OPM, for example, signed a new policy allowing agencies to rehire former federal employees in positions above their departure from government. Another new policy has made it easier for agencies to recruit and hire student interns in limited-term or temporary positions, while a third regulation allows agencies to appoint qualified and eligible university graduates without competition. permanent careers.
A fourth regulation, which the OPM finalized in September, gives agencies the green light to hire military spouses on a non-competitive basis in certain positions.
In addition, the OPM recommended that agencies create and publish their own “brands” that describe the work and mission in which new hires could participate, and urged executives to promote the compensation and compensation program of the company. government.
Agencies are also expected to announce workplace flexibilities, including telecommuting and remote working, which many organizations are embracing and favoring, OPM said.
The new OPM manual is largely free of the technical jargon that HR experts might be accustomed to from old federal recruiting tools, and the manual does not announce any new policy. But OPM said it designed the playbook for a wider audience, given the focus on the federal workforce and its challenges.
“There are a lot of people in the agencies who are very interested in the workforce right now,” said the OPM official. “It’s not just the HR teams or the CHCOS. [We’re seeing] a lot of interest from agency management and hiring managers.