OPM Releases Tools to Reskill Workforce Amid Tech Impacts

OPM Office of Personnel Management

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released several resources to help agencies implement workforce reskilling efforts as technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) take on more tasks in the Federal government.

In a memo to agency heads, Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert released the Executive Playbook for Workforce Reshaping, which is aimed at senior leaders, and the Reskilling Toolkit, which is intended for human resources professionals. OPM also released Guidance for Change Management in the Federal Workforce, which provides advice for managers.

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“As technology like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence are introduced into the workplace, employees require new skills that include technical knowledge blended with social or ‘people’ skills,” said Weichert.

The Executive Playbook offers four plays for executives to “shape and build a modern workforce of the 21st century,” and encourages executives to use them in tandem. Among the strategies: agencies can restructure if their current structure doesn’t support agency mission (as OPM is trying to do itself); resize if current workforce skills aren’t relevant to new work of the agency; reskill if the workforce has shown aptitude and interest in learning new occupations; or recruit and hire if the current workforce doesn’t have the right skills.

The Reskilling Toolkit is “a compilation of OPM guidance and tools, in collaboration with agency partners,” offering best practices for agencies. The toolkit highlights some of the roles that will be most affected by automation, calling out “retrieving and synthesizing data,” “providing some customer service activities,” and “performing some administrative activities.”

The Guidance for Change Management outlines the process for workforce analysis and agency change, along with planning for the change process. The guidance references the Trump administration’s government reorganization plan released in June 2018, and the executive order to restructure the executive branch in March 2017.

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