By Matej Kastelic /

Employee Engagement and Professional Development Top Management Agenda Progress Report

Officials say they also have made progress on streamlining federal hiring.

The Trump administration said in a report last week that it has been hard at work in recent months laying the groundwork for several priorities of the president’s management agenda, including promoting employee engagement, reskilling workers and improving the federal hiring process.

In a quarterly update on the “Workforce for the 21st Century” cross-agency priority goals for President Trump’s management agenda, officials from the Office of Personnel Management, the Defense Department, and the Office of Management and Budget touted a number of planning efforts that will bear fruit in the coming fiscal year.

In the area of making it easier for agencies to hire new employees, the administration said it has identified an official to be responsible for workforce development across government, as well as studied past efforts to revamp hiring and compensation in the federal sector.

“[We] completed examination of federal demonstration projects and alternative personnel systems best practices, and found that only one past project in the last 30 years was aimed at hiring processes, although many used compensation to improve recruitment and retention,” the administration wrote.

Officials said they are prepared to respond swiftly to the results of this year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which is expected to be released later this fall. According to the report, every agency will be expected to respond to engagement results quickly to improve performance next year.

“Six weeks after the FEVS ‘all indices/all levels report’ is released, each agency will provide OPM with a list of the identified work units by component/bureau,” the administration wrote. “In addition, each agency will provide a brief overview of the approach the agency and each component/bureau will take to reach the 20 percent improvement within 60 days after the first submission.”

Additionally, a so-called Tiger Team of White House Leadership Development Fellows worked with “low-performing” workplaces, based on last year’s results, to improve employee engagement. That effort included meetings with all levels of agencies, conducting focus group sessions and developing processes to help managers develop best practices based on FEVS data.

Work has also begun to prepare for an ambitious “reskilling” effort, designed to allow federal employees in jobs that could be at least partially automated in the future to develop new skills and move into new positions. Still in the early phases, officials said they have designed a survey that will be sent to various C-level executives at federal agencies to solicit information about existing professional development and “career pathing” tools, with an eye to finding best practices and innovative techniques to ensure federal employees have the skills needed by agencies going forward.

“The survey results will be used to develop a path forward to pilot and expand development of advanced technologies to enable a changing and increasingly mobile federal workforce to shape their careers and meet the predicted agency skills needs of the future,” the report said.