Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Are Government Workers Learning Anything?

ARCHIVES

The impending perfect storm of federal retirements, hiring freezes, and sequestration is giving government executives a lot to manage.  No other position in the federal government is poised so perfectly to take on these challenges as the chief learning officers (CLO) within each agency.

“We are at an inflection point right now within the federal government,” Tom Fox, the Vice President of Learning and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service told the Government Business Council (GBC). “The government needs to fundamentally change because we don’t have the resources we had in the past. The chief learning officers are right in the middle of that inflection point. They can help empower their employees for the changes [ahead].”  

Before the CLO position was created, agencies would go out and purchase the training and learning vehicles they needed for their staff without any single strategic vision. The lack of coordination often led to program duplication, which sucked needed funding out of shrinking budgets. Not only that, but lack of clear goals left agencies without a single vision of future workforce and learning needs.

Any solution to the challenges ahead will need to start with CLOs preparing the federal workforce with the tools they need to adapt. The Government Business Council, the research arm of the Government Executive, was compelled to contribute to the conversation around this unique challenge and completed an extensive study on the character of chief learning officers in the federal government. According to the study of over 400 federal managers, 32 percent of them indicated that their agency does not even have a CLO. Of the agencies that do have a CLO, only 30 percent reported that their CLO encourages a culture of learning.

Creating a strategic vision for learning is one of the essential responsibilities of the CLO and being associated with that vision is tantamount to that cause. Ensuring that federal employees associate the learning culture with an overall strategic vision will not only propel more staff members to get involved in learning, but will ensure that employees associate learning and training as an essential part of achieving his or her mission. A new breed of CLOs are doing just that.

Thom Terwilliger, CLO for FDIC Corporate University, is rounding out a 5 year action plan to enhance the FDIC’s leadership and development courses. “We have 18 months left [in our plan]…and we now have 5 core courses for leadership development and they start with new employees and go up to the executive level,” said Terwilliger. “Additionally, we have rolled out on average 30 to 35 electives to expand opportunities for learning.” Indeed, the new breed of CLOs are making learning and training a strategic goal across departments and agencies and are working to ensure that the vision is widely shared.

Learn more about chief learning officers in the federal government by reading GBC’s report. Also, come join the conversation on how to create a culture of learning at your agency by joining the Government Business Council at an event on Thursday, Dec. 13

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dana Grinshpan is the Research Manager for the Government Business Council (GBC), the research division of Government Executive, where she specializes in primary research development and survey instrument creation. Prior to joining GBC, she worked for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), assisting in the research and writing of work on South Asian regional cooperation. She has a Master of Arts in international security and political economics from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude from Ohio State University where she holds a B.A. in international studies with a minor in Arabic.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.