In this two-part interview, Margaret Weichert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget and Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management, outlines her priorities for modernizing the federal workforce.
After last month’s White House symposium on the modern workforce, MITRE released a report on some of the conclusions from the event. As the federal government looks to meet the goals set in the President Management’s Agenda, the report’s recommendations could become key to finally achieving them. Margaret Weichert, deputy director for management at OMB, leads these modernization efforts and says that time is of the essence in implementing the improvements. “We are looking for the opportunities to do the test and learn. There’s a number of places in government, including at the Office of Personnel Management and GSA as well, where you can do test and learn experiments in very concrete ways,” Weichert said. “We want to actually work with large populations and specific agencies to tackle, let’s say, cybersecurity, re‑skilling activities.” In addition to her work at OMB. Weichert recently assumed the role of acting Office of Personnel Management director. While the agency has seen some turmoil this year, Weichert says that a top priority is keeping the workforce on-mission. “I have met several hundred [employees] and I seek to meet them all. The workforce has faced a lot of change, and a lot of change in leadership, lack of political leadership in the past. So, understandably our workforce is unsettled,” Weichert told Government Matters. “That’s a priority for me, because one of the things I have tried to make absolutely clear is that the workforce is part of the solution. The workforce is not our problem in government. 91 percent of our federal employees are here because the work they do, they believe matters.”