DoD’s management of its civilian workforce “lags behind private industry and is behind the times,” according to a report by the Defense Business Board.
It said that private sector companies focus more on talent management for competitiveness reasons, including using technology such as artificial intelligence in recruitment and retention—they “don’t simply fill vacancies based on the skills the employee has now; rather, they hire talent employee potential to grow and learn, with an eye toward what their company needs for the future.”
That involves steps such as identifying available and needed skills, upskilling and reskilling current employees and succession planning.
In contrast, it said, DoD “doesn’t know its employees’ capabilities and requirements for the future, the systems to manage them, the policies to enable the new generation of skilled employees, or the programs to upskill them . . . These shortcomings are symptomatic of the DoD’s adherence to the outmoded practices of managing talent the private sector has long left behind,” it said. That issue is the most pressing in the STEM fields, it added.
On the positive side, it said that “there are best practices currently within the DoD that components can share across the enterprise and others that could improve the current system.” Those include standardizing methods to predict future workforce needs; tracking positions by the work function and employees by their skills and competencies rather than by occupational codes; and making data on employee skills available across the department.
Recommendations included increasing career development opportunities; adopting new ways to track employee competencies; new performance evaluation criteria for mangers tied to employee development metrics; greater collaboration across the department to share best practices; and more.