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Information Sought on the ‘Future of Work’ for Feds 

The topics of inquiry align with the president’s management agenda. 

Senior executives across the federal government are seeking information on how workforce policies can be amended to accommodate the “rapidly changing” technology, talent and work environment dynamics. 

The General Services Administration issued a request for information initially on December 16 seeking feedback from consulting firms, universities, associations, nonprofits, private sector companies, and other relevant groups and recently extended the deadline for response from January 27 to February 15. This is “not for a direct procurement,” but rather a “true civic opportunity” that may lead to future benefits down the line, said the request. 

“The way we work is rapidly changing,” between technology, artificial intelligence, competition for talent and the need to reskill the workforce, and now the coronavirus pandemic has shown that remote and hybrid work “can be the norm, driving a shift in the future of work from the traditional office space,” said the request. “Against this rapidly evolving backdrop, the federal government is substantially updating policies and implementing many sizable workforce initiatives.” Starting over the summer, senior executives convened summits across the government to discuss this.

Participants have included top officials at the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget; the President’s Management Council’s working group on re-entry and the future of work; chairs and lead representatives on the executive councils (such as the chief human capital officer council); and other agencies’ leadership. 

The groups above have identified topics they’d like input on, which include: attracting “top talent” with “in-demand skills” as well as recruiting a more diverse workforce; streamlining the hiring process; betting the payment structure; using best practices for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the federal employee and contractor workforces; providing upskilling and training programs; and looking at “the future of work.”

The request for information notes that the topic list aligns with the president’s management agenda, specifically the first pillar: “strengthening and empowering the federal workforce.” It also reflects various executive orders from President Biden, OMB memos and other actions from the Biden administration over the past year. While the pandemic does not appear to be ending any time soon, it has prompted many discussions about what work will look like when it does end or subside. 

After the deadline, the agencies will review the responses and will invite select respondents “to participate in a Virtual Reverse Industry Day event,” which “will be conducted as a series of virtual sessions,” said the request. Participants “from the government will likely include a representative mix of the [request for information] project team, advisors to the president, senior executive leadership of OPM and OMB, executive council chairs, and workforce representatives from OMB, OPM, and the executive councils.” These sessions are expected to take place in February, but could be subject to change. 

The request states that participation or lack thereof in this process or the virtual industry days won’t have any impact on an entity's future procurements or solicitations.