Issue Briefs

Following is a section of the recently released White House budget proposal titled “Unlocking the Full Potential of the Federal Workforce and Building the Workforce We Need for Tomorrow.”

The Administration is committed to attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent in the Federal workforce so we can foster a culture of excellence and successfully deliver the highest quality solutions to the American people. The Budget supports efforts to strengthen the Senior Executive Service (SES) and improve employee engagement in order to fully capitalize on the talents in today’s Federal workforce at all levels, and recruit and develop the talent needed to continue moving the Federal Government forward in the 21st Century.


• Building a World-Class Federal Management Team. The Administration is taking action to strengthen and broaden the experience base of the Federal executive corps. The Budget includes funding to implement SES reforms derived from the White House Advisory Group recommendations and administer the second class of White House Leadership Development Fellows, which will emphasize diversity and the changing needs of 21st century workforce.

• Enabling Agencies to Hire the Best Talent from All Segments of Society. The Administration will continue to streamline recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and will identify promising practices to deploy talent across agencies. Notably, in 2016, the Administration will launch the Hiring Excellence Campaign as an educational outreach vehicle to enable agencies to attract highly qualified and diverse talent through engaged and empowered hiring managers supported by highly skilled HR staff. Other initiatives also include expanding the use of Fellowship programs and Veteran hiring programs, implementing new legislation that provides many people with arrest histories a second chance, and modernizing the background investigation process. In addition, the Administration continues to support providing agencies with the flexibility necessary to manage their workforce while upholding the Merit System Principals. Collectively, these initiatives will increase diversity, reduce skills gaps, and improve organizational outcomes across government.

• Retaining a High-Performing Federal Workforce that Reflects the Diversity of Our Country. Retaining a diverse, multi-generational, and committed 21st century workforce requires modern, flexible, and supportive workplace policies and programs. This Administration has supported the expansion of telework options and alternative work schedules, recognized the need for expanded benefits such as the new “individual plus one” health care option, and supported Agency development of employee-family care programs (i.e., child care subsidies, counseling and bereavement services, lactation rooms) and access to fitness facilities. In particular, the Budget proposes legislation that would offer federal employees six weeks of paid administrative leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. In addition, the proposal would make explicit the ability for parents to use sick days to care for a new child. The United States is the only industrialized country that does not guarantee workers paid parental leave. Not only is parental time with a newborn or newly adopted child critical to healthy development but evidence shows that the availability of paid maternity leave increases the likelihood that mothers return to their jobs following the birth of a child.

• Creating a Culture of Excellence and Engagement to Enable Higher Performance. The Budget supports efforts to strengthen management accountability for improving employee engagement; increasing the use of human capital data analytics; expanding government-wide human capital technical training and increasing leadership development opportunities; and improving resource exchanges to share best practices across government. For example, the Budget provides funding for a network of agency innovation labs that provide the resources and training for agency employees to develop, test and scale promising new ideas to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government.

Improving Performance and Accountability.

The Administration is executing the Management Agenda through the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals, which are focused on improving coordination across multiple agencies to address key performance improvement priorities. The CAP Goals are part of the performance improvement framework developed with Congress through the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the GPRA Modernization Act. Each CAP Goal has senior level Goal Leaders and publishes quarterly progress updates on Consistent with authority granted in FY 2016, the President’s FY 2017 Budget includes authority for agencies, with prior notification to Congress from the Director of OMB, to transfer up to $15 million from agency budgets to support these cross-cutting management initiatives. This institutionalizes a capability to fund cross-agency efforts, rather than handling them on a case-by-case basis, and provides a powerful tool to turn management reform ideas into real and lasting results for the American people.

Reorganizing Government: Reforming the Government to Win in the Global Economy.


The Administration will also continue efforts to drive lasting change in how Government works through reorganizing or consolidating Federal programs to reduce duplication, and identify cost savings to allow the Government to invest more in productive activities. The President is again asking the Congress to revive an authority that Presidents had for almost the entire period from 1932 through 1984—the ability to submit proposals to reorganize the Executive Branch through a fast-track procedure. In effect, the President is asking that the next President have the same authority that any business owner has to reorganize or streamline operations to meet changing circumstances and customer demand. For example, consolidating business and trade promotion into a single department would enhance Government productivity and effectiveness. Bringing together the core tools to expand trade and investment, grow small businesses, and support innovation, would help American businesses compete in the global economy, expand exports, and create more jobs at home.