4:44 pm, May 27, 2015

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  • Berry and resolving GAO's "high risk" HR designation
    It appears that yet another grandiose set of pronouncements (has anyone kept track over the years since GAO originally included the HR category in its list of governmental "high risk" program areas in 2001?) is being trumpeted to deal with this problem. The CHCO Council has studied yet again this issue and come up with some interesting conclusions, including listing five critical occupational areas, all of which, acording to Mr. Berry, are in the "hard to fill" category. While that could be quite conceivable for the cybersecurity and acquisition areas, for both of which OPM has governmentwide direct hire authorities (DHAs) in place (though that for GS-2210 cybersecurity-related positions covers only those at GS-9 and above, while the acquisition-related DHA for GS-1102 positions is due to expire shortly on 9/30/2012, according to the information on OPM's website). Presumably, the other three critical occupational areas don't meet the criteria for the governmentwide DHA designation, but then why are they so listed by Mr. Berry? The HR area in particular seems open to question; it has never been especially difficult from my experience in working in and with a number of agencies to fill HR vacancies - assuming the existence of an at least minimally viable recruiting program and use of effective assessment tools. Indeed, in most instances, announcements for GS-201 HR Specialist vacancies typically generate large numbers of well-qialified candidates. The real problem is not so much at the intake level as it is one of how new hires are treated and managed once they've been administered their oath of office and taken their place in the bowels of the Federal bureaucracy. MSPB studies have documented the ensuing problems faced by most new Federal employees, and are reflected in the high turnover rates ang new hires experienced by many agencies - mitigated only in recent years by poor economic conditions in the private sector. There seems to be an unwillingness to recognize that the often dysfunctional management process in many agencies is a far more important aspect needing attention, if indeed the HR field is ever to be removed from GAO' "high risk" area scrutiny. This is a far more difficult conundrum with which to deal, and it is unlikely that the latest bromides from the CHCO Council and Mr. Berry will be any more efficacious than those earlier efforts.
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