Fundamental changes to public sector recruiting: PACT Act, Executive Orders, and overall modernization

September 2nd, 2022

HireVue Team

Hiring, Recruiting Teams

At the heart of solving the world’s most intractable dilemmas – climate change, curing cancer – there's a people problem: how do public sector organizations find, hire and retain the best and brightest minds needed to create and implement solutions? Solving this problem requires big, structural change, and it’s clear in the last few years that government agencies are ready to make big investments to recruit the best and brightest for public service.

Solutions require substantive investments

The stakes of the government’s staffing conundrum are in full display with the long overdue passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (Honoring Our PACT) Act. The PACT act will help keep our nation’s promises to veterans who have served in conflicts by expanding disability compensation and health care benefits to those who were exposed to toxic substances during their service. In order to give service members quicker, higher quality access to care, the Veterans Health Administration has to find a way to make their agency a more desirable workplace for healthcare professionals. That is why the major components of the act are geared toward solving staffing problems.

Changing the way governments find, hire and retain employees 

Like every other area of the economy right now, the public sector is going through massive changes, and it’s not just the result of starkly different administration priorities. Rapid and ongoing digital disruptions, changing expectations from workers, and continuing transformations in response to COVID-19 are compounding previously existing hiring challenges. Government recruiting is poised to change for the better as agencies implement changes to sourcing, hiring and retaining employees. 

Casting a wider net for public sector recruitment

In June 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the Federal workforce, which among its many provisions requires that agencies build, “a more diverse pipeline into public service through new recruitment partnerships.” In practice this looks like partnerships with institutions such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities to recruit people from overlooked communities.

Casting a wider net for recruitment also requires using updated technology such as asynchronous video interviews and chatbot communications. At HireVue, we’ve partnered with 8 of the 10 largest federal agencies, and have seen firsthand how workforce transformation goals are aided by allowing after-hours interviewing and communications. Candidates no longer have to sneak around for 9-5 interviews or drive into town when they can take an interview at a time convenient for them in the comfort of their own home.

Implementing forward-thinking hiring practices

Being able to quickly identify large numbers of properly skilled candidates requires automation, tools and technology that traditional resume sifting and face-to-face interviews simply can’t match. A platform like HireVue can accommodate even the most aggressive hiring goals without sacrificing a human touch or security concerns. HireVue also happens to be the only platform that is compliant with both FISMA and the Privacy Act to meet the strict requirements of the US government. That’s why 8 out of 10 of the largest federal agencies have selected HireVue to help modernize their process.

Implementing technology-forward hiring practices tells prospective hires something critical about your employer brand: you’re open to change. While terms like “employer brand” are ubiquitous in the private sector, more and more public sector recruitment is emphasizing how to set their agency apart in a tight labor market (some might say they’re taking a page from the military, which has always focused heavily on its recruiting image). As filling STEM roles gains more urgency, putting your best technological foot forward with chatbots, Whatsapp messaging and game-based assessments isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a requirement.

Increasing pay and professional development opportunities

Regardless of where you live, inflation has hit people hard. In the UK the cost of living crisis has caused companies like the Co-Operative Bank to extend one-time payments and change pay structures to help employees meet rising costs. And we’re seeing similar changes catch on within the PACT Act, which expands recruitment and retention bonuses for VA employees, including merit awards and pay incentives for employees that have a “high-demand skill or skill that is at a shortage.” 

In addition to pay raises, government agencies are seriously pursuing professional development opportunities to prepare government employees for jobs of the future. The US State Department is once again pursuing the idea of a “training float” that ensures, “a set number of employees undergo professional training at any given time, without sacrificing readiness at their posts.” This mirrors recent upticks in learning and development allowances in the private sector, where 44% of HireVue’s Global Talent Trend respondents report adding these programs to their budgets.

Changing the world requires hiring the best talent

From trash pickup to veteran medical care, civil servants make a huge difference in our collective lives. It’s imperative that public sector agencies find, hire and retain the best among us, which requires a world-class hiring experience to compete with the commercial sector. The good news is that cost effective tools are readily available.

For more information on how you can benefit from HireVue’s comprehensive hiring platform, contact us today!

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