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58% of Feds Say Their Agency Isn't Formally Tracking Their Competencies

May 9, 2014 - The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has long recommended that agencies improve how they track and monitor employees to allow for better strategic workforce planning. Over the past five years, GAO auditors have urged multiple agencies within the Department of Homeland Security to establish formalized mechanisms for collecting employee skills, knowledge, and abilities, arguing that such data might help agency leadership with their ability to make staffing decisions and conduct long-term planning.

Yet, when it comes to gathering data on employee competencies -- defined by the Office of Personnel Management as “knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully” -- many agencies are lagging behind in processes for information collection and utilization. 

Government Business Council (GBC) and Monster Government Solutions recently undertook a survey of federal leaders to better assess how agencies may or may not be employing data on employee competencies for a wide range of workforce-related activities, such as performance management, recruitment and hiring, training, individual professional development, and long-term strategic planning.

The survey of over 1,100 federal employees reveals that when it comes to collecting data on workers, more than one-third (34%) of respondents say their agency does not gather the competencies of employees at all. Another 24% say that their agency only collects information informally, such as through conversations with managers. Meanwhile, 11% primarily rely on paper resumes and documents for data, which may only provide a snapshot in time of an employee’s skills and abilities.

Creating formalized reporting and updating processes for competencies could help both macro- and micro-level workforce decisions in federal government organizations, but where do agencies begin? To answer this question and more, join GBC and Monster Government Solutions at Excellence in Government on May 12. 

We’ll be releasing the full survey results and discussing implications with Dr. Tim Lagan, an industrial/organizational psychologist who specializes in government issues. Register here

- Mark Lee, Research Analyst


This post is written by Government Business Council; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Government Executive Media Group's editorial staff. For more information, see our advertising guidelines.