Members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) will receive more programs aimed at enhancing career development, improving performance management, and expanding recruitment efforts under a new initiative.  The SES Initiative was explained in a joint memo to SES personnel issued by Jeffrey Zients, Deputy Director for Management (OMB) and John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  The initiative incorporates recommendations of a collaborative effort to strengthen the SES by the President’s Management Council (PMC) and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHOC), which began in May, 2010.  The project’s working groups analyzed the key issues facing the SES and reviewed and evaluated potential improvements.  Because fiscal constraints often limit resources for career development, the initiative looks to make more effective use of resources by incorporating more “centralized solutions,” such as shared developmental offerings, a centralized data base for jobs and rotation opportunities, and a directory of current SES personnel.  

To further enhance development efforts, OPM is planning to introduce a one-year “on boarding program” to aid an employee’s transition into an executive role.  OPM will also work with the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) to design government-wide approaches to leadership development and networking.  OMB and OPM will also sponsor a pilot project to provide high-potential GS-15 staff with rotational opportunities.  

To improve performance management, the initiative will streamline administrative burdens and reshape the SES appraisal system.  Agencies will implement best practices for performance planning, monitoring, assessment, and recognition.  OMB and OPM will work with an agency working group to streamline the appraisal certification process by focusing on outcomes and management goals and exploring ways to better link appraisal systems to performance goals.

To mitigate the potential effects of a significant “brain drain” that would accompany the loss of as many as half of the SES corps over the next five years, the initiative proposes to pursue a number of collaborative approaches.  It plans development of a shared capacity across agencies to market jobs and recruit personnel both inside and outside of government, emphasizing diversity and targeting veterans.  A new pilot group will expand the use of a resume-based hiring model and pilot agencies will search for external talent to strengthen the leadership and management skills of the talent pool.