Report: New Urgency for Building Pipeline of Future Leaders

Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock.com

The expected retirement of two-thirds of the Senior Executive Service in the next five years makes urgent the task of building a federal leadership pipeline, says a study set for release on Tuesday.

Prevention of an agency brain drain will require formal training programs, on-the-job experience and “opportunities to learn from coaches, mentors and peers,” said a study titled “Building the Leadership Bench” by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm.

Enriching the pipeline of rising leaders will also require agencies, working through what is a highly a decentralized process, to seek outside talent from other agencies and the nonprofit and private sectors, though the bulk of leaders will come from inside government, the study found. “Data from the first three quarters of fiscal 2012 show that about three of four new SES members were hired from within the agency subcomponent in which they were already working,” the report said. Twenty of 28 agencies hire fewer than 10 percent of their SES members from outside the federal government, it said.

“There needs to be a very deliberate focus on what that the pipeline looks like, not agency by agency, but holistically across government,” Max Stier, president and CEO of the partnership, told Government Executive, noting that 900 of the 7,000 SES members turn over every year. “There is a lot of opportunity to improve the development process of who those people are and to grow and develop them as an enterprise asset. But it requires strategic planning and growing the right talent earlier than is typically done.”

One underutilized training tool, the report suggested, is the Candidate Development Programs, which have graduated 1,117, with the most participation by the Treasury and Homeland Security departments.

Overall, the agencies with the most promising programs to “build the bench” are the Defense Department, Government Accountability Office, Internal Revenue Service, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Veterans Affairs Department, the study said.

The IRS, for example, has a formal review process for managers and prospective managers that allows for collection of data on rising leaders, which can be used to counsel aspiring leaders on their strengths and weaknesses.

The report recommended a more centralized approach to recruiting leaders, with new effort from the Office of Management and Budget, the President’s Management Council and the Office of Personnel Management. OPM, for example, could create a central resume bank of aspiring and current SES members, the report said. Congress should assure funding for leadership development and the president should “convene the SES as a community to show the administration’s support for senior leaders and inspire those in the pipeline.”

The report provides agency-by-agency retirement data.

(Image via Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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