Report & Publication
December 03, 2008

Elevating Our Federal Workforce: Chief Human Capital Officers Offer Advice to President Obama

Our next president and his team will have no shortage of people offering them advice. Considering the primacy of an effective federal workforce toward achieving the administration’s goals, they would be well served by what our government’s top human capital experts have to say. Acting upon these expert recommendations could elevate our federal government to new heights.

More than half of respondents volunteered that bold reform of our civil service system is necessary. More than two-thirds advocate eliminating or significantly updating the General Schedule pay and classification system. The vast majority of them recommend phasing out the current system gradually.

Ninety percent agree that alternative work schedules are a useful tool to a great or very great extent for attracting and retaining talent, and over half would add telework to that list of especially useful tools. Given a menu of options, direct-hire authority and dual compensation waivers are cited as the most underutilized hiring tools. The need to obtain prior OPM approval to use these tools on a case-by-case basis is cited as the main reason they are not more actively used.

Only 44 percent of CHCOs believe that federal managers and supervisors possess the supervisory or managerial competencies they need to a great extent, and none of the respondents believe federal managers overall deserve the highest rating, i.e., to a very great extent.

Only 29 percent of CHCOs believe to a great extent that HR staff members have the competencies they need. The percentage of CHCOs who believe their HR staffs are viewed as trusted advisors is 52 percent. Eighty-eight percent of the CHCOs interviewed believe federal performance management systems are doing a good job of aligning organizational goals with individual performance, up from 64 percent in 2007.