A new survey by Accenture Federal Services finds that the great majority of federal executives are optimistic that their agency will be able to develop the next generation of leaders. Their optimism extends to their future federal workforce where the projected wave of retiring workers is cited as having a positive impact on their ability to attract and promote new talent.
But, is this optimism realistic? The reality is that the same executives also believe the federal sector needs to address a number of challenges. The survey, “US Federal Workforce: A Pulse Check on Today’s Human Capital Challenges,” polled 219 US federal executives from more than 50 defense and civilian agencies. It sought to gain insights into the human capital challenges agencies are facing, specifically in the areas of attracting and retaining younger workers, drivers of employee engagement, and the effective use of human capital data and analytics.
are optimistic that their agency will be able to develop the next generation of leaders over the next three years.
believe the projected wave of retiring federal workers will have a positive impact on their ability to attract and promote new talent.
stated at least some improvement is needed across a wide range of areas to identify and develop the next generation of leaders.
of federal executives feel at least some improvement is needed in their ability to forecast attrition and retirement, and the subsequent hiring and skill sets needed to fill resource gaps.
Attracting new talent remains a top challenge federal agencies face in achieving their vision. Competitive and attractive offers from the private sector are only one obstacle to overcome in winning recruits. Forward-thinking commercial enterprises have borrowed from marketers’ digital toolbox used for attracting customers and applied their approaches to attracting and engaging recruits. In order to compete for new talent, federal agencies should do the same.
Digital tools can move agencies to where the candidates are, increasing the number and type of recruits in an agency’s pool—especially millennials. These tools facilitate personalized outreach and support consistent, frequent engagement with recruits. They can help target talent with the desired skills, increase engagement and response rates, and establish a relationship with each individual throughout the recruiting lifecycle.
Ultimately, a digital experience is increasingly expected by recruits. And three areas of digital technology offer big impact: social media, mobile, and gamification.
Federal agencies must manage public expectations against increasing fiscal pressures and at the same time vie for talent from private-sector industries. These factors strengthen the case that workforce optimization is no longer a choice for agency leaders and instead a vital resource and necessity.
Enhanced workforce models hold the potential to help agencies and their leaders to more effectively manage employees, prepare the workforce to more efficiently perform assignments, and prepare the workplace to deliver consistent results.
The same principles used to optimize technology—standardization, simplification, prioritization and identifying single points of failure—can guide agency workforce planning. Workforce optimization equips federal leaders with rigorous methodologies, comprehensive digital tools and dashboards, and evidence-based analytics. These resources help to continuously measure, test, assess and plan an agency’s workforce, processes and technologies. They also empower agency leaders to make high-caliber forecasting for changing workforce needs.
Workforce optimization is designed to enable agencies to assess talent, processes and technology to identify opportunities for better workforce management—today and in the future. The aim is to equip agency leaders with better information to then make strategic, evidence-based, sustainable decisions to address the complex challenges of building the necessary workforce of the future.
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In July 2015, Accenture Federal Services conducted an online survey of US federal agency human capital executives and other C-suite-level officers. The purpose of the survey was to gain insight into the human capital challenges federal agencies are facing, specifically in the areas of attracting and retaining younger workers, drivers of employee engagement, and the effective use of human capital data and analytics. Results are based on an online survey of 219 US federal executives from more than 50 defense and civilian agencies.
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