To Steve Shih, the challenges facing the federal government are only growing.
They are becoming “exponentially more complex,” the deputy associate director of the Office of Personnel Management told Government Executive, and “global in nature.” On top of that, Shih said, they are occurring at an unprecedented rate due to new technology.
So how can historically Luddite, notoriously bureaucratic federal agencies adapt to the rapidly evolving obstacles interfering with or essential to their missions? Perhaps not surprisingly, the man in charge of the government’s executive resources and employee development said the answer lies in maintaining an engaged and valued workforce.
To some extent, the task of making that happen falls to OPM. The human resources agency is working to become more proactive, agile and nimble in providing solutions to the rest of government. Its leadership wants to provide frameworks applicable to the entire federal enterprise, while maintaining enough flexibility so they meet the needs of each individual agency and component.
OPM can only carry the torch so far, however. Ultimately, Shih said, keeping employees happy so they provide the best return for taxpayers falls on each agency. OPM wants to show agencies the right path, but only agencies themselves can march down it.
One area OPM especially wants to tackle is the performance appraisal system. It’s here where the agency is attempting to implement a strategy of governmentwide standards that can be tailored to unique agency needs.