CHCOs Send Early Warning: Business as Usual Won’t Work

September 2, 2012

Federal chief human capital officers (CHCOs) have a tougher than usual job these days. Not only are they responsible for helping their agencies cope with all the normal challenges of managing a large, diverse and highly skilled workforce, but they are being asked to do it during a time when resources are declining, workload is increasing, public support for government is down and retirements are up.

All of this is documented in a recent report, “Bracing for Change: Chief Human Capital Officers Rethink Business as Usual,” that my organization, the Partnership for Public Service, recently released along with Grant Thornton LLP.

The report is based on interviews I had the privilege of conducting with 55 CHCOs and other human resources leaders in the federal government. In the course of those conversations, it occurred to me that today’s CHCO is much like a canary in the coal mine.

The CHCO’s job is to be more sensitive than most to the changing workforce environment and to signal the alert when there is danger. That alert is being sounded.

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