Most federal information technology executives are not involved in their department’s succession planning activities, according to a new workforce study.
The 25 IT executives included in the ACT-IAC (American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council) study said their agency’s succession planning program and human capital resource management strategy were either partially developed or poorly developed or non-existent. Seventy percent said they were not included in succession planning discussions.
None of the 16 human capital executives surveyed had metrics that measured whether their agency’s succession, skills and management needs were being met.
“The human capital practitioners felt as though they are delivering succession planning programs as they are required to do by the Office of Personnel Management,” Dr. Susan Grunin, who chairs the ACT-IAC group that commissioned the study, said in a statement. “However, one of the key results we found is that many IT operational managers are not aware these program[s]exist in their areas. If they are aware, many find them to be ineffective at producing managers capable of executing agency initiatives.”
Other findings include:
– Intra-agency succession planning does not happen uniformly across government.
– Internal communications in this area are often ineffective.
– Some agency IT operational managers develop and use their own internal succession planning processes.
However, NASA and Commerce Department were touted as having good succession planning structures that require senior officials to develop, maintain and operate human capital programs based on the agency’s goals and objectives. Both programs allow management at multiple levels to provide feedback.
In a TechAmerica CIO survey released in May, the IT trade organization found that 52 percent of CIOs do not have formal succession plans to replace retiring leaders and top managers. The consequence of not doing so could mean a downward spiral in IT leadership capability, according to TechAmerica.
In its study, ACT-IAC recommends that agencies:
– Publicize their management development and succession planning widely. NASA uses monthly reports, video-conferencing and intranet sites to get the word out.
– Include rotational assignments for their managers as part of succession planning.
– Train new agency leaders on the purpose and benefits of succession planning.
The study also recommends that OPM provide a virtual or in-person succession planning forum for agencies to learn best practices and updates on succession planning policies.