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Army’s new Civilian Implementation Plan emphasizes talent management

By Devon Suits | Army News Service | June 18, 2020

WASHINGTON —

he Army is improving the way it acquires, develops, employs and retains its civilian workforce under the new Civilian Implementation Plan, or CIP.

Tied to the Army's People Strategy, "the plan will ensure that Army civilians are the most ready, professional, diverse, and integrated federal workforce," said Todd Fore, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for civilian personnel.

The CIP outlines a wide range of efforts to utilize each individual's knowledge, skills, behaviors and preferences, or KSB-Ps, to achieve organizational outcomes and sustain force readiness, Fore said.

According to the plan, the Army is the third-largest federal employer with close to 300,000 civilians operating throughout the entire force.

The Army Materiel Command, Army Medical Command, and Army Corps of Engineers continue to lead the force in employment numbers, with the majority of these organizations comprised of Department of the Army civilians, the plan reads.

“Our ongoing efforts will include additional tasks to encourage and increase diversity, equity and inclusion,” Fore added.

The CIP looks to update many of the Army's human resources and management processes.

"We realized that there are many individual, decentralized efforts currently used to manage the civilian workforce," Fore explained.

"It was clear that we needed one integrated plan for all civilians," he added. The CIP provides "strategic guidance to help grow mission-critical occupations at critical-fill locations, along with defining career requirements to execute career opportunities and training."

Part of the CIP will also include changes to the Army's Career Program Proponency, or CPP, in support of the Army's mission, Fore said. Currently, the Army has 32 career programs that vary significantly in staffing levels.

According to the regulation, the CPP provides structured plans, processes, and activities that direct and support the organizational, occupational, and individual growth of Army Civilians in serving in designated career programs throughout the force. Leaders intended the program to be adaptive and flexible by integrating policies and procedures to deliver the right person, to the right place, at the right time.

"All developmental efforts will be more effectively integrated to achieve synthesis across the various career programs," Fore said. "We are in the process of consolidating [into 11] career programs, and moving this operational function to the Civilian Human Resource Agency to achieve integrated enterprise-wide career management and provide consistent direction to all career fields."

Making changes to the Army's civilian force will take time. Some employees will see an immediate change, while it may take years for others to notice a difference, Fore said. To aid in the process, leaders have identified four critical priorities to serve as a foundation for the civilian enterprise.

Under the first priority -- transform workforce planning and management -- the Army targets the proper employment of its civilian workforce to reduce capability gaps. Leaders are working to incorporate the Defense Civilian Human Resources Management System across the force to accomplish this task.

According to the system’s website, the DCHRMS is a cloud-based HR system designed to standardize and streamline personnel processes. Through the system, the Army will have access to a single employee database to execute core HR and performance management functions.

Currently, the Army leverages multiple systems to maintain its civilian workforce, Fore said. And while most of these processes are completed online, the Army cannot aggregate employee information, performance reviews, and individual development plans under one system.

The rollout of the new DCHRMS is slated for fiscal year 2022, Fore added.

The plan's second priority -- modernize civilian talent acquisition -- looks to improve how the Army acquires new employees through upgraded marketing processes. Under that line of effort, program leaders will make improvements to marketing and recruiting programs to improve the Army's access to highly-qualified employment candidates.

The Army is also looking to streamline its hiring and onboarding processes to quickly hire new talent, which will help the force remain competitive in a highly-contested job market, according to the plan.

Priorities three and four -- evolve career programs to be integral to the people enterprise, and to build world-class supervisors -- will look to grow, manage and sustain talent throughout the civilian workforce, Fore said.

Many civilians have identified a clear line of career progression, similar to the Army Career Tracker, or ACT, program used by Soldiers. The ACT is a leadership development tool that integrates training and education, and allows Soldiers to monitor their career development.

The Army looks "to build a series of on- and off-ramps throughout a civilian's career, so they can decide when they need to be on or off [the road] to find a balance between work and family life," he said.

By providing a clear line of progression, individuals will be able to transition throughout their career on a road that suits their professional development goals and continues to support the Army's overall mission, Fore said.

Additionally, many Army civilians have identified a need for increased educational and leadership training opportunities through the recent Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, Fore added.

A vast majority of the civilian workforce looks to move up in their respected careers and desire the necessary experiences and education to remain competitive. Proposed changes within the CIP should create more opportunities for growth.

"We're being aggressive, and making changes that are necessary from a policy and organizational perspective to move [the civilian enterprise] forward," Fore said.