John Berry, the new director of the Office of Personnel Management, seems to want to change the conversation! He doesn’t like the term “human capital,” but does like the term “people.” Maybe the General Services Agency’s the new star agency, since they already have a Chief People Officer!
But more substantively, he’s beginning to outline the Obama Administration’s people policies, according to Government Executive’s Alyssa Rosenberg. He has defined three near-term priorities and three longer-term priorities:
Near Term priorities, which he has assigned to action teams within the Office of Personnel Management, to:
- simplify the hiring process
- design more ambitious work-life balance programs, and
- improve veterans’ preference programs.
Long Term priorities, which will likely require large scale study and stakeholder involvement:
- Pay reform, which will focus on the need to:
- create a fair and credible performance appraisal and accountability system
- develop training that would prepare employees for promotion and support them throughout their careers; and
- establish genuine parity between federal and private-sector salaries for employees in comparable occupations.
- increasing the diversity of the federal workforce, and
- controlling costs in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
According to Federal Times’ Stephen Losey, Berry says he met with President Obama to outline his agenda and the President told him he could pursue pay parity only if he can put in place a credible employee performance management system.
In tandem to Berry’s agenda, Congress is also taking some action on personnel issues. A Senate committee has voted out legislation on expanding telework and allowing temporary hires of retired federal employees in critical jobs, without having their pensions reduced. The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe notes, in “Congress to Consider a Flurry of Bills Aimed at Federal Workers,” that this may be the result of a friendlier climate on the Hill toward federal workers, but “Some senior Republican staffers say the flurry of legislative activity is more a signal of growing discontent on Capitol Hill with a government hiring-and-pay system that lags far behind the private sector than the manifestation of a friendlier political climate for federal employees.”
In either case, the actions of both the Administration and the Hill will likely contribute to Obama’s goal of “making government cool again.”