Last week the Office of Personnel Management released a workforce reshaping playbook and reskilling toolkit. The new resources are designed to help agency leaders prepare for the workforce of the future, one of the goals of the President’s Management Agenda.

Accelerating the Gears of Transformation is a set of tools to guide leaders, managers, and employees towards a full modernization of workplaces, which will be consistent with merit system principles.

“The technology and workforce needs in the Federal workplace are changing rapidly, which means we have to change our thinking around talent management,” said Margaret Weichert, acting director of OPM, via a statement. “Federal workers can be upskilled to high-value work that really engages them and has a direct impact on our mission. Federal agencies will have greater capacity to redeploy workers, through reskilling efforts, to meet their most pressing, mission-critical needs.”

The Executive’s Playbook

The workforce transformation plan has been broken down into three parts. The first of these was the Workforce Reshaping Executive Playbook, which is a guide to direct executive leaders through the strategic decision-making process and includes high-level guidance on workforce shaping and human capital strategies. It also offers a logic model to help leaders identify useful data to consider when contemplating certain types of change.

The Executive Playbook notes the rise of automation and advancement of technology, citing the 2018 Federal Workforce Priorities Report which found that currently 5% of occupations could be entirely automated, while 60% of occupations could have upwards of 30% of job activities automated. Today, 45% of total work activities could be automated.

The Playbook also highlights need to modernize while continually revisiting its mission-delivery strategy for both effectiveness and efficiency It laid out a high level overview and starting point for exploring reshaping efforts with a four key “plays” that agencies could use to maximize employee effectiveness while minimizing negative outcomes.

Toolkit of Solutions

The second part of the plan is the Reskilling Toolkit, which has been designed to assist HR professionals, manager and employees alike to design the reskilling and upskilling opportunities as an agency’s workforce tackles new challenges such as automation. The information in the toolkit was derived from existing OPM guidance on training and development.

“Continuous reskilling and upskilling contributes to fostering a culture of continuous learning. By actively managing the workforce and developing agile operations, agencies better position themselves for effective and efficient achievement of their mission and goals. As technology continues to advance, digitization and automation will eliminate or lead to changes of work roles or tasks within positions,” the toolkit advises.

Managing Change

The third part of the plan is the Guidance for Change Management, which sets forth a set of steps designed to facilitate a successful physical or even cultural transition for the workforce. These steps mirror those in the OPM Workforce Planning Model but it also factors in important decision points that are designed to improve the transformational outcomes while managing change.

The change guidance highlights how any corporate restructuring or relocation project can depend upon the close coordination of many key contributors, including leaders, general counsel, and human resources.

These various tools are meant to guide federal leaders and managers as those individuals make the strategic decisions to modernize the way government functions, but also to support HR professionals and managers as they design and implement reshaping and reskilling/upskilling strategy, and to provide employees with a pathway to greater success in their federal service careers.

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at