Informing government decision makers through research & industry insights.

How Can Agencies Better Conduct Workforce Planning?

Mark Lee

As agencies look to address workforce challenges posed by budget cuts, skills gaps, and Baby Boomer retirements, better data may be needed to assist managers and agency leadership tasked with short-term and long-term staffing decisions. To better understand how agencies are tracking employee data, Government Business Council (GBC) and Monster Government Solutions conducted a survey of over 1,100 federal employees and managers.

Released Monday at Excellence in Government 2014, the results may be surprising: only 27% of federal managers affirm that their agency has specific policies and procedures for workforce planning. Moreover, 70% of managers rely on informal methods when conducting workforce planning.

In light of these findings, GBC Manager of Research & Strategic Insights, Zoe Grotophorst, moderated a Breakout Session with Dr. Tim Lagan, an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with Monster Government Solutions who spent several years working at the Office of Personnel Management’s Competency Assessment Branch.

“Agencies are starting to shift from using KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) to competencies, which are much more broad and can entail several KSAs,” Dr. Lagan told the federal audience. “Competencies can allow agencies to conduct holistic assessments of what they really need to accomplish their mission. The survey results show that 90% of managers believe better information on competencies would be helpful toward conducting workforce planning,” he added.

Dr. Lagan went on to stress the importance of improving workforce planning processes in the federal government. “Workforce planning can help with succession planning by creating ‘talent pipelines’ that can fill mission-critical roles when needed. To achieve these benefits, federal agencies may consider appointing specific roles in government to champion and oversee the improvement of workforce planning policies,” he said.

To view the full results of “Planning for a Robust Federal Workforce,” a survey led by GBC and Monster Government Solutions, click here.

-Mark Lee, Research Analyst

For more from 2014 Excellence in Government, check out GBC’s EIG2014 recap series.

Photo by Mark Lee


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