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Catch the millennial wave and develop the future federal workforce

Rethinking ways to attract, retain, develop and manage talent for tomorrow’s federal workforce

Overview

Federal workforce: Today’s challenges

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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.

Key Findings

Of 200+ federal executives surveyed:

9 out of 10

are optimistic that their agency will be able to develop the next generation of leaders over the next three years.

70%+

believe the projected wave of retiring federal workers will have a positive impact on their ability to attract and promote new talent.

Although 60%

stated at least some improvement is needed across a wide range of areas to identify and develop the next generation of leaders.

50%+

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.

Catching the Millennial Wave: Attracting and retaining the new federal workforce

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Attracting New Talent

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.

Get social
to gain mindshare, establish
relationships, differentiate
and communicate
Go mobile
to enable anywhere, anytime,
seamless access
Use games
to engage, educate,
interact and assess

Future federal workforce: Digital recruiting

Developing Top Talent

“Career paths are no longer linear journeys. Employees once started with a foot in the corporate door, paid their dues and worked their way up the proverbial ladder. Now, employees are treating their careers as a series of tours using each new employer as a way to establish a self-determined path, build critical skills and grow outwards.”1


1Fjord Trends 2016, Trends Impacting Design, Business, Government and Society, http://trends.fjordnet.com/?b2we.

Talent Shared Services offers career paths defined by experiential learning, opportunity, choice and mobility for the new generation of the federal workforce.



Managing Talent

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.


Potential Benefits of Federal Workforce Optimization
Productivity improvements
of 5‒15 percent
Downtime and delays
reduced 10‒50 percent through
performance management
Staff labor savings opportunities
of 10‒20 percent
Identification of labor savings of
30‒35 percent through process
standardization

Planning People Power: Better talent management through federal workforce optimization

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Research & Analysis

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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Authors

Jeanne Ward

Jeanne Ward
Managing Director

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Dana Oliver

Dana Oliver
Managing Director

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Kristen Vaughan

Kristen Vaughan
Managing Director

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