AI integration, data-driven decisions should be among top workforce priorities for agencies, OPM says

New OPM playbook is intended to cultivate an “inclusive, agile and engaged” federal workforce.
Director of U.S. Office of Personnel Management Kiran Ahuja speaks during a roundtable with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and federal workers on Oct. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).

The federal workforce of the future will be tasked with leveraging artificial intelligence — including in hiring — and using accurate, timely data to inform policy decisions, the Office of Personnel Management said in an announcement Friday. 

In releasing its workforce playbook for federal agencies, OPM said agencies should implement strategies that aim to enable a workforce that is “inclusive, agile and engaged, with the right skills to enable mission delivery,” according to a press release. OPM listed 12 priorities, including AI integration and data-driven decisions. 

“OPM is 100% invested in strengthening the federal workforce,” OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said in the release. “This playbook is just another example of OPM’s ongoing efforts to equip federal agencies with the tools and resources to hire the right talent and strategically plan for their future workforce. The federal government works best when we leverage the full talent of our nation and workforce — this playbook is full of useful strategies to do just that.”

In the playbook, OPM calls on federal agencies to use “appropriate” AI capabilities in the HR process, understand how the technology will impact the workforce and safeguard employees accordingly, upskill teams with “appropriate competencies” and train existing talent on recent AI use cases and their applicability to current projects. The office pointed to a report from the Government Accountability Office that shared approximately 1,200 existing and planned use cases along with specific “challenges or opportunities that AI may help solve.”


The Biden administration is also asking agencies to explore the use of generative AI to see how the technology could “improve efficiencies” as needed. 

Additionally, the office is asking agencies to take steps toward implementing data into decision-making by using available data products and platforms, ensuring that data standards are implemented, identifying data literacy gaps and developing strategies to guarantee employees have the necessary data skills. OPM shared that the Department of Defense uses an advanced analytics platform that “supplies leaders with decision support analytics, visualizations, data tools and associated support services.” 

OPM also said in the release that it will provide training and technical assistance to agencies as they implement these strategies through webinars, and it will be posting “periodic updates” to its Workforce of the Future webpage.

Caroline Nihill

Written by Caroline Nihill

Caroline Nihill is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering federal IT. Her reporting has included the tracking of artificial intelligence governance from the White House and Congress, as well as modernization efforts across the federal government. Caroline was previously an editorial fellow for Scoop News Group, writing for FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. She earned her bachelor’s in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after transferring from the University of Mississippi.

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