Terry Gerton, President & CEO of NAPA, and Bill Valdez, President of the Senior Executives Association, discuss the need for an adaptable federal workforce, and how the government can change to support one.
The federal workforce is singled out for an overhaul in the President’s Management Agenda. In a new report, the National Academy of Public Administration recently assembled five recommendations for improving the state of government employment. Terry Gerton, President & CEO of NAPA, says that one of the most important proposals her organization made is to create a federal government that can adapt to new paradigms. “We’ve got to find a way to develop a federal workforce that is adaptable, that can engage in continuous learning and adapt to the increasing rate of change or we are going to be left behind even more than we are now,” said Gerton. “Over the next several years you’re going to have a massive turnover in the government’s workforce. If we develop a talent management plan that brings people in based on their individual capabilities and competencies promotes continuous learning and adaptability, and allows them to move in a much more flexible way, we’ll be able to develop the talent can respond as the nature of work continues to change.” Bill Valdez, President of the Senior Executives Association says that the NAPA report’s conclusions resonate with the employees he represents. “The NAPA report makes this explicit that we live in the federal government in a culture of compliance. That’s not decades old, but centuries old. That’s the way the system was set up,” Valdez said. “The new model… is adaptive to the changing nature of work. Which I think is actually going to be a forcing function in this debate. It’s inevitable, either the government adapts to the changing nature of work, or it will fail.”