Budget pressures will force the government to create a more flexible workforce, with employees who move among agencies more frequently to solve problems, the Energy Department’s HR leader told Federal News Radio.
“I think the President is looking for us to be creative and to step up in ways that let us have more flexibility for the employee, but at the same time … accomplish more,” DOE Chief Human Capital Officer Mike Kane said in an exclusive interview.
Kane, who left government Thursday after 35 years, said agencies should consider sending employees to tackle problems and projects in other parts of government. The Energy Department employs that method to maximize the value of its resources.
“It’s been highly successful. And that may be where we’re headed — into more focused, specific teams that work on a project and then disperse and take that talent back to the agency that they came from, or take it back to the industry that they came from,” said Kane, who is also a member of the CHCO Council.
Another effort to effectively use talent resources attempts to link employee and organizational performance. The initiative, known as Goals-Engagement-Accountability-Results (GEAR), attempts to create a performance-based culture.
“At the department, there’s a tremendous focus on looking at the senior executive leadership corps and the program team leaders to say, ‘It is your responsibility not just to meet milestones, but to prepare people to meet those milestones,'” Kane said. DOE is one of five agencies piloting GEAR. “You deliver better performance — higher quality performance — by managers supervising, teaching, facilitating and collaborating.”
The quality of hiring reform
In the spirit of ensuring better performance, the department has entered a new phase under its hiring reform efforts. DOE has reduced its hiring time to 83 days, Kane said, and now is attempting to measure the quality of new employees.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu “actually engaged with [Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry] on strategies to make sure that we were widening the pools” of job candidates, Kane said. As a result, managers can better focus on effectively matching talent with job requirements.
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 4-7 p.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.