OMB Miller says engagement with agencies, employees drive decisions


Coherent implementation of the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate is an uphill battle for a government with such a large workforce.

Concrete example: requests for exemption from office, which have become a hot topic, because each agency is responsible for making these decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Jason Miller, who, as deputy director of management in the Office of Management and Budget, is part of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force team that develops implementation guidelines, said the interagency engagement is the key to consistency. Miller said they strive to provide full support to all agencies so that no agency makes decisions without the proper information.

“Both the working group, but also bringing together all the agencies, not just those of the working group,” said MIller on Federal Drive with Tom Temin. “We have the main leaders of each agency. We work closely with the CHCO Board – that is, the head of human capital in each agency – so that the senior officials who oversee these processes and determine how they are executed have full clarity on everything. the issues they have, that they’re able to talk to among their peers in other agencies so that we can support and enable that consistency.

The challenge of consistency, of course, extends to the federal contracting community, which has an even greater challenge with such a different dynamic for its workforce.

Miller said providing the same level of support to entrepreneurs that they strive to provide to agencies is critical because they are essential for the government to fulfill its mission.

“We’re trying to ensure a substantially similar approach between what we do for the federal workforce and what we do for the federal contractors,” Miller said. “We believe the Federal Contracting Community is part of the Federal family, providing mission-critical support, vital services for our products as a whole. And that’s how we operate.

Miller said the OMB is also looking beyond vaccinations.

Getting the workforce vaccinated, while ensuring that agencies have safety plans in place and engage with employees and unions, will also help shape decisions on what the future looks like. work when discussing reintegration plans.

Miller noted that while the back-to-school conversations are unfolding, they’re not looking to go back to what employee work was like before the pandemic.

“We have been clear, we are not going back to February 2020. We have learned a lot, like all employers. There are ways to do our work more effectively, more efficiently. We have identified ways to improve service delivery, to do things remotely that are better for the recipients of those services, ”Miller said. “We’re going to be a more flexible employer, period. The federal government will be a more flexible employer in all areas, in every agency, than it was before the pandemic. I think this is a good thing.

Working with the federal workforce to improve their lives will make the federal government agency a more attractive employer and make the government more competitive in the job market, Miller said.

The OMB, along with the President’s Management Board, the Office of Personnel Management, and the General Service Administration, have launched pilot “pulse surveys” that are sent to federal employees. The short three to four point quiz will use general questions to help managers hear directly from employees.

“We’re asking general questions about their current experience, their engagement in the workforce, health and safety, inclusion, important questions. We’re very focused on continued engagement with the federal workforce, ”Miller said.

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