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Continued Progress in Hiring Reform Results

Monday, April 30, 2012
Chief Human Capital Officers
Angela Bailey, Associate Director, Employee Services
Continued Progress in Hiring Reform Results

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) have recently conducted our second series of discussions with agencies regarding their continued progress in accomplishing the objectives and requirements of the President’s May 11, 2010, memorandum, Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process.  This is an update on some successful practices and results of the reviews.

We are pleased to report agencies continue to make strides with improving the recruitment and hiring processes within the Federal government.  Anecdotal and “data-driven” evidence validates that the energy and resources devoted to increasing manager’s responses to the Manager Satisfaction Survey; implementing more stringent accountability measures into manager’s performance plans; and improving how agencies are implementing Category Rating are contributing to the improved Federal hiring process.  With continued OPM technical and operational support to aid agencies, we believe forward progress will be sustained. 

A key goal of hiring reform is to implement changes that support the Federal government to become a premier employer.  One way to achieve this goal is to communicate emerging practices and tips that can be leveraged across government.  Below are some noteworthy practices and processes agencies provided us during our latest round of discussions.  By sharing these with you, we believe we can collectively change the way government recruits and selects the best talent.

Data Analysis 

Making data-driven decisions can be challenging for organizations.  However two agencies demonstrated how they utilized metrics and measurements to improve their operational processes. 

The Department of Interior (DOI) developed a reliable tracking portal to capture their time to hire (T2H) data agency-wide.  The time-to-hire tool introduced standardized reporting requirements that enabled DOI to repeat their analysis processes, leverage economies of scale, and positioned them to accurately monitor their time-to-hire data. 
The Department of Defense (DoD) collects metrics and measurements that are analyzed on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis to make data-driven decisions while they monitor progress.  DoD streamlined hiring data analysis by taking a statistical approach and removing outliers that do not provide actionable value-added information.

Standardization of Work Processes

Agencies continue to standardize work processes that assist with institutionalizing hiring reform into their human resources practices. 

The Department of Education introduced and is now testing a standardized reporting tool available through their payroll provider to improve the data quality.
As part of the USAStaffing implementation, the Department of Defense developed a virtual library of over 100 new standardized candidate assessment templates.  The templates were developed in collaboration with subject matter experts and representatives throughout Defense and OPM to increase candidate and manager satisfaction.
The Department of Health and Human Services uses common definitions to ensure data reliability and standardized position descriptions that eliminate or reduce the classification process and establish an efficient hiring process.
The Department of Agriculture standardized the way all organizations track and measure the start (i.e., date need validated) and end (e.g. entrance on duty) times for their time to hire data.

Communicating Results

Information sharing with stakeholders regarding the successes with hiring reform is essential for capitalizing on the support given by agency leaders.

The Department of Interior created a data driven, results oriented scorecard process to highlight status and progress in time to hire that is not only utilized department-wide, but it is also shared with agency leadership and incorporated into their SES performance measures.
The Secretary of Agriculture holds senior staff accountable for meeting hiring reform targets.  This is accomplished through monthly reports on each of the 17 component agency and staff office’s progress.  The Secretary’s metrics “report card” gauges the 17 organizations’ performance by a green, yellow, and red rating and the Secretary expects underperforming organizations to make improvements.  Additionally, specific milestones and metrics are placed in SES, manager, and supervisor performance plans and this accountability process is highly effective, as evidenced by Agriculture’s consistent progress in reducing T2H. During FY 2011, Agriculture improved hiring time from 131 days in fiscal year 10 to 98 in Q4 fiscal year 11.  
Defense’s Outreach and Communications Campaign increased visibility and awareness of improvements in its hiring processes and tools.  They created Hiring Reform Hot Spot, a 30-second PSA-style broadcast airing on the Pentagon Channel and four American Forces Network stations, along with component-targeted websites, webinars, videos, bulletins, etc.  Defense also prepares a quarterly report for management and decision makers called the “U.S. Department of Defense Civilian Hiring Timeliness and Volume Statistics”.  This report provides an executive summary that delivers clear, repeatable and simple metrics on hiring timeliness, volume, and satisfaction, a comprehensive analysis of year-to-date hiring data, Chief Human Capital Council satisfaction survey results, Q1-Q4 summary trends by component, Q1-Q4 segmented hiring timeliness and component hiring summary and analysis.

Improving Hiring Manager and Applicant Satisfaction

Manager participation in the Managers’ Satisfaction Survey is vital to understand whether hiring reform processes yield stronger candidates.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Manager Satisfaction Survey response rates rose from less than 30%, on average (second quarter, fiscal year 2011), to 100% in third and fourth quarters, through the use of its new electronic certification referral process on the agency’s Human Resources portal.
The National Science Foundation’s index score of managers who reported they were referred applicants with the skills needed for their jobs rose from 77 in 2010 to 86 in 2011.
The General Services Administration (GSA) deployed a Recruitment Workload Tracking Tool for use by the GSA HR office and hiring managers.  The tool provides greater transparency regarding the status of hiring and actions and allows for easy tracking of Human Resources workload.

Here are a few additional tips on how agencies can improve hiring processes:

Data Analysis: agencies gather and monitor hiring reform data from sub-components frequently (e.g. monthly basis) for quality control purposes.  Submitting data to a central repository allows for consistent and accurate reporting as process modifications can occur on an on-going basis as needs are identified.
Category Rating:  refine assessment tools, questionnaires and cut-off scores to better distinguish candidates.

Collectively, these efforts enhance the Federal hiring process. OPM will continue to partner with and support agencies as they identify innovative and efficient processes to reform the Federal hiring. We encourage you to reach out to the agencies above to learn how their tools and processes can be adapted to meet the needs of your agency.

Please contact your assigned OPM Human Capital Officer (HCO) if you have any questions or need additional assistance to support your efforts.

cc:        Deputy Chief Human Capital Officers

            Human Resources Directors