EconSys Blog

Identifying Gaps in Federal Workforce Planning Strategy

Mar 16, 2018 | By: Drew Lessard | Category: Workforce Planning

Federal agencies must evaluate several key factors including retirement and quit rates, to determine how best to map the size, scope, and composition of their workforce requirements over the course of three-to-five years. The hiring that happens today will influence the makeup of an agency for many years to come. As such, agencies need to rigorously determine how best to build a workforce that will support their future needs.


Despite these needs, there are several limitations – including the resources available and technology tools needed to assess available data.

Succession Planning

With 600,000 federal employees, representing more than 30% of the federal workforce, eligible to retire, succession planning is more important than ever. Not only does the federal agency stand to lose their knowledge and technical expertise but retiring employees will also take with them their leadership and management skills. “Retirement Waves” can be addressed by a mixture of hiring and training programs, but federal agencies need time to cultivate the next generation of talent.

>>> Download the eBook on How to Leverage Technology Tools for Workforce  Planning.

Succession planning requires measurement as to what the current workforce composition is today, how the current workforce will evolve in the future, and a comparison of that to future workforce requirements. Doing this will uncover gaps for the agency to take proactive actions. At such a high volume, it is more challenging than ever.

Data Accessibility

To date, many federal HR processes inefficiently use manual forms or spreadsheets, or require access to data in a separate, closed system. Data is gathered from multiple sources into spreadsheets, with minimal or no visualization. This limits the ability of HR specialists and managers to analyze that data and provide key insights to decision makers. It is also a costlier process with greater potential for errors that will impact the workforce for years to come.

Data Insight Limitations

While there is ample data available to federal HR specialists in the form of historical employee data, resources required to effectively analyze that data are limited. Data is almost always presented at a high level, limiting the insights that can be gleaned. Nuances in the rise of retirement rates, for example, or a sudden shift in the number of internal transitions are missed or ignored because the tools are not powerful enough to support deeper analysis.

Greater insight can be gleaned from resources that draw on deeper data sets at different tiers. Being able to drill-down to organizational units better specific projections for the agency of what their workforce will look like in several years.

Addressing Gaps in Workforce Planning

To ensure federal HR managers have the information they need at their fingertips, it’s important to address the major perceived gaps in the workforce. In a recent eBook, we evaluated how federal agencies can use technology tools to improve their workforce planning processes. You can download a copy of How Federal Agencies Can Leverage Technology Tools for Workforce Planning below:

Download the Workforce Planning eBook