With federal agencies finalizing their internal operations reform plans as directed by the White House, there still has been relatively little information on how those plans will affect employees.
The April memo ordering agencies to craft those plans told them to plan for “long-term workforce reductions” through steps such as eliminating activities; restructuring or merging functions; improving organizational efficiency and effectiveness; and better managing their workforces.
It suggested steps such as increased sharing of common services among agencies, co-locating facilities, and increased online service delivery. Such changes “may alter the composition of skills necessary for the workforce of the future,” it added.
Few agencies have described their intentions in any detail. Interior and VA, for example, have spoken of consolidating scattered offices that provide common functions such as HR services. The VA has said that due to its large size and it expects to be able to find new positions for the employees impacted by the plans outlined so far. Interior has suggested that it will move more employees–and possibly even the headquarters–of several subcomponent agencies away from Washington, D.C. and closer to the federal lands and other resources they oversee.
Federal unions, meanwhile, have been increasingly vocal in complaining that they were left out of the deliberative process. They have suggested steps such as reducing layers of management, acting faster to fill vacancies, and encouraging flexible working schedules and telework. Agencies have responded that they have involved the unions but that they also have stressed receiving input directly from employees through forums such as town halls and suggestion programs.