Finding and fixing talent gaps will require new tech tools, OPM says

The first edition of OPM's quadrennial federal workforce review calls for the agency to adopt new technology tools to keep track of the public sector's talent gap.

A new report from the Office of Personnel Management analyzing the federal government’s workforce priorities calls for the agency to adopt new technology tools to keep track of the public sector’s talent gap.

The recommendation comes as part of the agency’s new quadrennial report on the federal workforce. The first edition, mandated last year and published this week, identified six priorities, including a few tech-heavy areas:

  • Succession Planning and Knowledge Transfer
  • Deploying Communication Tools
  • Securing Technological Solutions for Human Capital Analysis
  • Expanding Employee Development Opportunities
  • Bolstering Employee Recognition Programs
  • Enhancing Productivity through a Focus on Employee Health

Among the challenges identified were agencies’ ability to fill talent gaps or conducting the analysis needed to identify specific roles needed.


“Some existing analyses lacked more detailed and lower organizational data, while others were not driven by workloads and requirements but perhaps by ‘wish lists,’” the report said. “In a few instances, steady workload increases and serviced population growth went unaddressed, causing disconnects between workforce levels and the demand for services. Absent proper analysis, agencies risked difficulties in justifying staffing requests and securing necessary funding.”

OPM will look to “acquire or develop enterprise technological solutions” it can share with agencies to help assist in conducting its skills gap analysis.

The report doesn’t specify what tools that might be required, but does cite the State Department’s real-time Human Capital Results-Oriented Management System as well as OPM’s own Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Dashboard as two positive examples that could be further utilized by agencies.

OPM officials also said that deploying communication tools like Slack, as the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service already uses, or the Department of Energy’s Powerpedia agency information site were examples of communication it could deploy to assist agencies in better communication efforts.

The report also examines the role automation will play in workforce efforts, calling on agencies to help workers develop more “soft skills” such as being able to “manage diverse employees, co-creativity and brainstorming, relationship building, innovation, and working as a team, in addition to more flexibility to support new technologies.


The report originated as a response to a 2014 Government Accountability report on how agencies can tackle human capital issues in a climate of shrinking budgets and highlights strategies and examples of successful programs already in place at select agencies.

OPM began compiling research for the report back in 2015, combing through both human capital issues from GAO’s High Risk List and collective management issues identified by agency inspectors general.

The Office of Management and Budget directed agencies to begin crafting plans to reorganize their workforces in April 2017 and has been promoting shared-services actions with information technology services. Agencies’ plans are expected to be released with the fiscal 2019 budget proposal on Feb. 12.

Carten Cordell

Written by Carten Cordell

Carten Cordell is a Senior Technology Reporter for FedScoop. He is a former workforce and acquisition reporter at Federal Times, having previously served as online editor for Northern Virginia Magazine and Investigative Reporter for, Virginia Bureau. Carten was a 2014 National Press Foundation Paul Miller Fellow and has a Master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is also a graduate of Auburn University and promises to temper his passions for college football while in the office.

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