In early May, President Obama released a long-anticipated hiring reform memorandum, replacing a requirement that federal job applicants respond to essay questions with a resume-based approach more in line with private sector practices. The memo also outlined new responsibilities for managers and supervisors, requiring them to get more involved in the hiring process.
The job of making sure the hiring reform effort and the Obama administration's other personnel priorities are implemented falls to the government's chief human capital officers.
"This is going to be proving time for the [Chief Human Capital Officers Council], for the CHCOs and for the Office of Personnel Management," says Max Stier, president of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. "They're going to be asked to change a broken system. That's a big demand, and how they respond to it is going to define their legacy."
But it's also a time of great opportunity. A new director of the CHCO Council hopes to galvanize its members to help address each other's problems. Experienced CHCOs have found new allies in their quest to shine a light on the needs of the human resources workforce. And new chiefs have found that with a little determination, they can get the resources they need, and by applying them right, can get more done than anyone thought possible. CHCOs are coming of age as a community at the precise moment their interests are converging with those of a young administration that's willing to back up some of its ambitions with resources.
In the June 15 issue of Government Executive, Alyssa Rosenberg outlines the issues chief human capital officers face.