The President’s Management Agenda & civil service reform

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Jeffrey Neal, senior vice president at ICF and former chief human capital officer at the Defense Logistics Agency and Jeri Buchholz, former chief human capital officer at NASA, discuss Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon’s “holistic” civil service reform strategy.


Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon has said that he wants to completely overhaul the government’s human capital management process. With the strategies outlined in the President’s Management Agenda, Pon could have his new “holistic” reform underway soon.  According to Jeffrey Neal, senior vice president at ICF and former chief human capital officer at the Defense Logistics Agency, the best place to start would be the hiring process.

“Most people, when you talk to them about what is wrong with HR in the federal government and what’s wrong with the civil service system, will all say the same thing, and that’s you can’t fill jobs,” said Neal. “I was talking to one client recently who has 200 to 300 jobs vacant at any given time. And their average time to fill is eight months. That’s really what people care about.”

Jeri Buchholz, former chief human capital officer at NASA, says that the best way to educate the federal workforce about civil service reform is to have a strong digital media communications plan.

“Instead of the OPM director relying on going through the chief human capital officer to communicate managers in the workforce, he has all the capability in the world these days to communicate directly to the federal workforce [using] straightforward plain language, and do it in a way that hasn’t been reinterpreted and re-filtered 500 times,” Buchholz told Government Matters.