OPM Releases Guide for Crafting the Workforce of the Future

Last week the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a guide to help agencies bridge the gap between emerging technologies and the workforce of the future. The guide focused on reskilling and reshaping the workforce, as well as providing guidance for managing the changing federal workforce.

According to the Executive Playbook for Workforce Reshaping, about 5 percent of occupations could be automated entirely, 60 percent of occupations could have at least 30 percent of their activities automated, and 45 percent of total work activities could be automated based on technologies available in 2016. This potential creates an inherent need to consider “restructuring, resizing, reskilling, and recruiting” the workforce to meet future needs.

The playbook offers suggestions as to when to consider each “play”- restricting, resizing, reskilling or recruiting- with unique guides and considerations for each topic.

“Together, these tools will help guide federal leaders and managers as they make strategic decisions to modernize the way government functions, support HR professionals and managers as they design and implement reshaping and reskilling/upskilling strategy, and provide employees with pathways to progress in their Federal service careers,” according to a memo from OPM Acting Director Margaret Weichert.

The Reskilling Toolkit outlines the benefits of teaching employees new skills and the best ways to communicate changes. The toolkit includes a plan for reskilling and upskilling employees, as well as implementation guidelines and suggested procedures.

To assist with restructuring agencies impacted with high levels of automation and changing workforce needs, OPM released a Workforce Shaping Logic Model. This model includes people and skills, the nature of work, products and services, and goals and objectives to maximize employee effectiveness and minimize negative outcomes.

Agencies are encouraged to use the Logic Model and the Workforce Reshaping Operations Handbook for resizing agencies as well. OPM explains that agencies should consider resizing if agency mission/ work has changed, current workforce/skills are not relevant to new work, or if the agency has more people than work.

OPM recommends agencies focus on recruitment and hiring if an agency “does not currently possess the right competencies to perform new missions and those competencies cannot readily be learned on the job.” The playbook includes a guide to federal workforce priorities and hiring authorities to assist with this new focus.

In order for any of these plans to be successful, OPM recommends close coordination between a “Transformation Team” made of agency leaderships; C-suite leaders including the Chief Human Capital Officer, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Financial Officer; and Agency General Counsel.

The playbook also includes worksheets to help agency leadership identify which actions would be most effective for their agency.

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