By Michael Rhoads, April 11, 2022

OPM has released its Strategic Plan for FYs 2022-2026. To put this report together, OPM did its homework.

The OPM Strategic Plan for 2022-2026 represents 132 reports and studies reviewed, interviewing 30 internal stakeholders and 58 external stakeholders over 36 organizations. The plan is divided into the four Goals OPM would like to accomplish during that period. OPM wants to position the Federal Government as a model employer, transform OPM’s organizational capacity, provide greater customer satisfaction for OPM’s customers (that’s you!), and provide data-driven solutions that help with your agency’s mission.

The objectives, which expand on each goal, reflect the Biden Administration’s goals of increasing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). I found the strategies outlined in Goal 1’s objectives to be applicable to any agency, and a good reminder of best practices for everyone as many agencies transition back into the physical workspace.

Goal 1: Position the Federal Government as a model employer. To improve the Federal government’s workforce and become a more model employer, OPM looks to draw on the diversity of all communities around the United States. “As a model employer, the Federal Government will recruit from all segments of society to attract a workforce that draws from the diversity of the American people.”

Strategies for implementation for Objective 1.1 – DEIA. OPM encourages a top-to-bottom review of policies and practices to eliminate barriers to equity by tracking demographic data and leveraging expertise to examine DEIA at all levels of grade and pay. To attract new talent from a more diverse population, use partnerships, paid internships, fellowships, and apprenticeships to reach out to historically underserved communities. Use DEIA as a tool to assess agency recruitment, hiring, promotion, retention, professional development, pay equity, reasonable accommodations access, and training policies and practices for fairness and impartiality across all pay levels.  Assess barriers which deny employment opportunities, including at the SES level, to the LGBTQ+ community and to people with disabilities, and develop plans to eliminate those barriers. Promote pay equity at all levels of Government by reviewing job classifications.

FELTG’s DEIA courses are designed to meet the Presidentially-mandated training for all agency employees from front-line supervisors to SES professionals.

Strategies for implementation for Objective 1.2 – Future of Work/Model Employer. OPM seeks to support agencies by providing human capital tools, guidance, and services as each agency returns employees to the physical workplace. In alignment with the President’s Management Agenda,  OPM will, “create a vision and strategy for how the Federal Government can be a model employer with respect to hiring, talent development, competitive pay, benefits, and workplace flexibilities…, and develop and advance human capital policies to support the longer-term future of work.”  Be sure to register for Emerging Issues in Federal Employment Law April 26-29, and see where the future of work is really headed.

Strategies for implementation of Objective 1.3 – Building Skills through Training. No organization, private or public, can hope to succeed without focused, high-impact training. OPM seeks to strengthen Federal HR by recruiting diverse, early-career talent, modernize the Pathways program, and design paid internships.  Paid internships also loop back to Objective 1.1, since unpaid internships or similar programs designed to learn new skills, are a barrier to most low-income workers and students. OPM also encourages agencies to launch initiatives to “identify and develop, select, high-impact talent projects.”

Agencies should improve the competitive hiring process with new selection rules and focus on customer service and problem solving in training opportunities for human capital professionals.

To provide agencies with access to more tools, OPM will improve assessments for hiring with a government-wide hiring assessment line of business and agency talent teams.  All of FELTG’s webinars and Virtual Training Institute courses are designed with your agency’s mission in mind, and will help expand your employee’s skills and work IQ.

Strategies for implementation of Objective 1.4 – Employee recognition. As luck would have it, yours is not the only agency in the Federal government.  OPM encourages agencies to, “share leading practices related to engagement and recognition across Federal agencies through Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs), Federal Executive Boards, the White House, and other stakeholders with shared missions.”

Agencies should also, “increase attention to programs that regularly spotlight workers and union members at OPM and across the Federal Government throughout the year, culminating with Public Service Recognition Week,” which is May 1-7, 2022 this year. [As a side note, I’d love to hear what your agency will do this year to honor our public servants.  Feel free to send me an email, [email protected].]

In the introduction to the Strategic Plan, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said it best.  “We will promote a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible Federal workforce based on merit; develop a strategic vision for the Federal Government to prepare for the future of work; support Federal agencies to attract early career talent; and equip current and future Federal workers with the ability to build new skills over time to adapt to a rapidly changing world.”

At FELTG, we strive day in, day out to train federal workers to adapt to a rapidly changing work environment, and offer courses to promote the ideals of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. Stay safe, and remember, we’re all in this together.  [email protected]

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