For the newly appointed CHCO Council, the future of federal work is a priority

Conversations about “the future of work” and what it means for the federal workforce are almost unavoidable. This is the top priority of the Biden administration’s new presidential management program.

And it is at the center of the concerns of the human capital directors of the agencies, who have met and discussed the subject almost every week with the Office of Personnel Management.

The OPM has spent the last year trying to reassert itself as the leader of human capital in the federal community, and it brings with it the Council of Directors of Human Capital.

“Whether it’s quick hires to meet our growing needs or the transition to a hybrid work environment, what we’re going through right now – and especially as we shape the future of the business. work – your perspectives have been and continue to be so invaluable, ”Kiran Ahuja, OPM Director and CHCO Chairman of the Board, said Wednesday at the group’s annual public meeting.

It was the first public meeting since the OPM regained control of the board earlier this summer.

“I want to take this opportunity to say how delighted I am to meet you back where you belong,” Ahuja added.

The staff, budget and administrative resources that supported the CHCO Board moved from OPM to GSA in December 2019. It was one of the few, albeit small, of the OPM merger proposed by the administration. previous that he was able to accomplish on his own.

The board has spent the last year rewriting its charter, an activity it hasn’t done since the board’s formation in 2003, and it has helped the Biden administration develop new guidelines on telecommuting and working. remotely and to implement the vaccination mandate for federal employees, among others.

The new charter, which comes into effect Wednesday, clarifies the role and responsibilities of the board. The council, for example, is supposed to share and identify best practices to promote a “culture of lifelong learning of human capital and high performance” and adopt policies and strategies to “develop and sustain a workforce and a modernized federal workplace ”.

It is also expected to “help agency leaders meet their responsibilities in selecting, developing, training and managing a diverse, inclusive, high-quality and productive workforce in accordance with principles of the merit system ”, we read in the new charter.

The charter also allows the board to bring in people from other federal executive councils, such as members of the boards of federal news directors or data managers.

“We have worked to strengthen our relationship with the interagency councils; it’s very important, ”said Margot Conrad, Executive Director of the CHCO Board. “I am really looking forward to continuing the collaboration on this front. When we think about the critical issues we face or the future of work, we need to do it collaboratively.

The board also established a new Executive Steering Committee, made up of CHCOs from five agencies and Conrad. The new steering committee is supposed to foster a better working relationship between the CHCO Council and the OPM.

In its March report, the National Academy of Public Administration painted a portrait of an underutilized CHCO Council, a group that has rarely had the opportunity to advise the OPM and serve as an advisory partner with the agency on federal workforce issues.

Meetings became scarce during the pandemic, to the point that human capital managers took it upon themselves to organize more of their own meetings with their colleagues, often without OPMs at the table, NAPA said.

The academy ultimately recommended that the OPM establish a better working partnership with the board and make better use of members’ expertise and experience when working on difficult workforce policy topics. .

The new CHCO Board Charter allows the panel to establish other working groups and standing panels with the aim of focusing on the particular workforce challenges that will last for several years, transcend government or government. address emerging issues.

The board created a few of these groups this year to address the challenges of the future of work and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

The Future of Work task force has met almost weekly since March, said group leader Traci DiMartini, head of human capital for the General Service Administration. The CHCOs in this group worked with OPM and the administration on new teleworking, remote working and flexible workplace policies.

“We have been joined at the hip in recent months, along with many of my CHCO colleagues and, more importantly, their talented staff integrated across government, to examine ways to modernize the future of work in the function. federal government, ”said DiMartini.

Between 60 and 80 people attended these meetings and shared their feedback with OPM’s compensation and leave experts on policies, guidelines and other information that DiMartini says “will transform how we operate. of the government”.

“The CHCOs, especially through the Future of Work Working Group, have proven invaluable in terms of guidance and resources and the whole stage of how we are not just talking about moving towards it. hybrid work environment, but also the future of work and what it looks like, ”Ahuja said.

That work will continue in 2022, especially as agencies prepare to bring more employees back to their offices, DiMartini said.

The council’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility working group discussed through the June presidential decree DEIA. This group has helped agencies form specific teams to implement the new order, and it has identified over 40 promising practices that departments can use to advance diversity and inclusion efforts within their organizations, said Jamesa Moore, head of human capital for US Trade. Representative and leader of the Small Agency Human Resources Council.

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