The Disturbing State of the Federal Workforce

(Editor’s note: This blog originally appeared on the Meridian Knowledge Solutions blog.)


Millennials are moving in, boomers are moving out. This isn’t breaking news; we’ve been anticipating this transition for decades. Yet, with the mass exodus of boomers upon us, little has been done to establish career development paths and strategic succession plans for the remaining federal workers.


recent study conducted by Vanderbilt University found that 42% of federal executives say they can’t recruit top employees and 70% say underperformers aren’t fired. Recruiting, performance and learning and development (L&D) are becoming major areas of concern within federal agencies.


In addition, the same study revealed, “Thirty-nine percent of federal executives agree or strongly agree that an inadequately skilled workforce is a significant obstacle to their agency fulfilling its core mission. Fifty-one percent of federal executives said the skills of the workforce in their agency had gotten better or much better during their tenure, while nineteen percent said skills had gotten worse or much worse. The rest said the skills were the same.”


It’s painfully clear the federal workforce lacks skills needed to get their jobs done, and there needs to be a shift in the way agencies are managing and developing talent. The federal government needs a modern HR department to support a modern government.


It’s time for civil service reform.

Smart agencies are being proactive about learning and development opportunities. Many are investing in a learning management system (LMS) to manage, assign and track learning activities in their organization. Public sector organizations that invest in training top talent are seeing a more productive, more engaged and more skilled workforce, with the knowledge needed to get the job done.


Here are 5 ways an LMS can help your federal agency:

  1. Quickly on-board and train new and existing employees. By offering on-boarding and training programs in your LMS you get new hires up to speed so they can hit the ground running the second they complete training. Agencies can also leverage the system to strategically train and develop existing employees to close skills gaps and expand workforce knowledge.
  2. Create a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration.Eliminate agency-wide knowledge hoarding with social networking capabilities that allow users to communicate, collaborate and share knowledge with other team members. Discussion forms can be archived, so users can quickly and easily find information or answers on a wide variety of topics.
  3. Ensure compliance is met and certifications are up-to-date.Keep up with the pace of change and maintain a centralized system for compliance management. You can avoid risk by using your LMS to monitor, manage and report on certifications, re-certifications and training activities across your department or agency.
  4. Reach a mobile workforce. Deploying mobile learning with offline capabilities allows federal agencies the opportunity to expand the learning experience to remote or mobile users who are not connected to a network through devices such as laptops, kiosks and handhelds.
  5. Learn from success with robust reporting and analytics capabilities.Slice and dice data using powerful reporting features to identify where the business is improving, how learning has enabled those results, and how to expand on that success.



It’s possible for federal agencies to overcome talent issues and attract, retain and develop future leaders. With the right learning and development program in place, the federal government can rest easy knowing the future of their workforce has promise.


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