USAJOBS + Open Opportunities – Evolving to Meet the Needs of a Modern Federal Workforce

In March OMB released the President’s Management Agenda and its underpinning Cross Agency Priority Goals.

A modern workforce that builds on the Administration’s proposed civil service reforms to empower senior leaders and front-line managers to align staff skills with evolving mission needs,” is both one of the three key PMA focus areas, along with modern information technology (IT) and data, accountability and transparency, as well as being a CAP Goal itself – Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century.

In March OMB released the President’s Management Agenda and its underpinning Cross Agency Priority Goals.

A modern workforce that builds on the Administration’s proposed civil service reforms to empower senior leaders and front-line managers to align staff skills with evolving mission needs,” is both one of the three key PMA focus areas, along with modern information technology (IT) and data, accountability and transparency, as well as being a CAP Goal itself – Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century.

As the civil service system undergoes modernization and reform, agencies still need to accomplish their mission. On April 4th, SEA’s Human Capital Leadership Community of Change came together for a briefing to learn about how updates to USAJOBS, including the integration of GSA’s Open Opportunities platform, can serve as a key tool for agency and employee talent development, even in an era of constrained budgets and limited hiring.

The group heard presentations from and engaged in dialogue with USAJOBS program manager Michelle Earley and Open Opportunities program manager Lisa Nelson. Michelle and Lisa’s presentations are HERE and HERE, and they can be reached directly via email at lisa.nelson@gsa.gov and Michelle.Earley@opm.gov. If you or your organization is interested in connecting and learning more, they’d be happy to hear from you.

Key points of emphasis from the briefing and discussion are captured below.

USAJOBS is transforming from a job board into a far more comprehensive federal career portal. User centered design is driving improvements intended to guide federal job applicants to more relevant jobs, and to reduce the burden on HR and hiring managers by reducing the number of ineligible applicants that appear on cert lists. The goal is for all parties to have an improved customer experience, one comparable to the private sector. OPM issued guidance to agencies this week to ensure they are keeping applicants apprised of their status thru all phases of the process. Updates to the platform occur on a rolling basis.

Enhancements are being adopted that allow current federal employees to include new information such as skills inventory, certificates, training, and other relevant information that can facilitate career growth and pursuit of new federal service opportunities. USAJOBS will now feature a whole host of development opportunities, including details, micro details, rotational assignments, mentoring/coaching, job shadowing, internships, and volunteer. This is a big change from the type of opportunities featured in the past on USAJOBS, and reflects feedback heard by the design team that the platform could do much more to empower individual federal employees to drive their own career progression by providing visibility into skillsets beyond formal job titles.

With the integration of Open Opportunities into USAJOBS, federal managers and employees have expanded access to a mechanism that identifies opportunities to more efficiently use the people we already have on staff through professional development and redeployment efforts. Managers can post opportunities on the platform, and individual federal employees can sign up to spend up to 20% of their time – of course with their supervisor’s approval – working on the project. Often the work can be accomplished remotely, but the key is it provides a no additional cost experiential development opportunity for an employee to learn new skills or tools, build professional networks, and bring that back to their home organization.

Federal employees in the 21st century are not going to spend careers working solely in a single functional or organizational silo. Careers will look very different. Given these facts, and the reality of constrained budgets for both hiring and employee development, the new functionality being built into USAJOBS + Open Opportunities offers an important and useful tool for agencies and managers looking for smart and creative ways to acquire and leverage existing government talent they need to achieve mission objectives.

Examples of new USAJOBS microsites and Open Opportunities testimonials:

SEA will continue engaging with the USAJOBS + Open Opportunities teams, as well as key constituencies like the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and Chief Learning Officers Council to ensure awareness of the new capabilities is filtered throughout organizations. We encourage SEA members to look at the improving USAJOBS and provide feedback to the design teams. We’d also welcome hearing from members about how their organizations are approaching the CAP Goal of Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century and resources or information that SEA could provide to assist those efforts.

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