Bill would boost federal manager training

Lawmakers on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require agencies to provide regular training to federal managers.

The bipartisan bill would require federal supervisors to receive training within one year of becoming a manager, and once every three years after that. Training topics include developing and discussing goals and objectives with employees; mentoring; managing poor performers; and understanding collective bargaining rights.

The legislation also directs the Office of Personnel Management to develop required competencies for managers that agencies would use to assess individual performance. In addition, agencies would have to create a mentoring program for new supervisors to use to learn from experienced managers.

The Federal Managers Association and the Professional Managers Association praised the bill. "Managerial prowess is not inherent, and independent research has concluded that arming federal managers and supervisors with the skills needed to promote employee accountability, engagement and teamwork leads to improved agency performance," said FMA National President Patricia Niehaus.

The bill's sponsor is Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs federal workforce subcommittee. He was joined on the House side by three Northern Virginia representatives -- Democrats Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran, and Republican Frank Wolf.

"Improving training for federal supervisors," Wolf said, "will create a better work environment for all federal employees, increase employee performance and productivity, and lead to a more effective federal government."

The bill would expand on supervisor training requirements in the 2004 Federal Workforce Flexibility Act, which directs agencies to devise manager training programs.

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