OPM, agencies urged to cooperate to speed hiring

Collaboration between the Office of Personnel Management and agencies' chief human capital officers is vital to improving the federal hiring process, according to a General Accounting Office official.

An OPM report issued Friday cited agencies' rare use of new personnel flexibilities, such as category rating and direct hire authority, as the cause for slow progress. However, a new GAO survey of chief human capital officers reported that a lack of OPM guidance is one of the biggest barriers.

Whether flaws in the federal hiring process continue due to a lack of agency implementation or a lack of OPM training, only improved communication between the top personnel officers and OPM will solve the problems, according to Chris Mihm, managing director of strategic issues at GAO.

"This isn't an issue where we need to point fingers," Mihm said. "There is plenty for everyone to do."

Marcia Marsh, the vice president for agency partnerships at the Partnership for Public Service, stressed the need for agencies to take the initiative and use the flexibilities. "They say they're waiting for guidance from OPM, but then why aren't managers and leaders banging on the table and calling up Director James and asking to have a conversation about how to use them?" Marsh asked.

Mihm sees the Chief Human Capital Officer Council as a possible forum for discussing barriers and solutions.

"The beauty of the CHCO council is that it can be a real partner in identifying needed improvements, the course that can be taken and coming up with solutions," Mihm said. "There's an incredible opportunity here."

Chad Bungard, deputy staff director and senior counsel for the House Government Reform subcommittee on civil service and agency organization, said that Chairwoman Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., is committed to fixing the process and getting past the blame game. On Monday, the panel held a hearing on the issue.

"You have the GAO report saying that OPM is not giving agencies guidelines, and OPM is putting it out on the agencies," Bungard said. "So we're going to have a follow-up hearing with GAO and OPM and agencies on the panel. We're going to do it, and we're going to do it soon."

OPM Deputy Director Dan Blair believes that his agency has sufficiently guided other departments in implementing hiring flexibilities.

"We've briefed, instructed, and informed the CHCOs since their inaugural meeting," he said. "We can offer everything in the world, but agencies need to have the wherewithal to take advantage of it. We can't do it for them."

The date of the follow-up hearing has not been determined. A Chief Human Capital Officer Academy meeting next week will also address hiring flexibilities.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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