Marilee Fitzgerald, acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for civilian personnel policy, said new supervisor training programs will teach how to set and communicate team and individual goals, build effective teams, develop employees, give feedback, and supervise teleworking employees. (Thomas Brown / Staff)
The Pentagon plans to start rolling out a new departmentwide training program for supervisors later this year.
Supervisors will learn how to set and communicate team and individual goals, build effective teams, develop employees, give feedback, and supervise teleworking employees, said Marilee Fitzgerald, acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for civilian personnel policy.
The program will eventually be taken by new supervisors in their first year, and experienced supervisors will take refresher courses at least every three years. Training methods will include formal classroom sessions, on-the-job learning, job rotations and mentoring.
"We are taking a new, fresh approach and dialing up supervisory training platforms to a corporate, departmentwide model," Fitzgerald told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.
The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act passed last year ordered the Defense Department to create a supervisor training program. By fiscal 2012, the Defense Department will have to train 1,000 new supervisors and provide refresher training to 25,000 existing supervisors each year, Fitzgerald said.
Pilot testing of the first phase, which will cover new supervisors with less than two years' experience, will begin this fall. Full deployment of the first phase will begin in mid-fiscal 2011.
The pilot test of the second phase, for supervisors and managers with more than two years' experience, will come in spring 2011. The full rollout will start in late fiscal 2011.
The Pentagon will also launch a pilot version of a new Defense Civilian Leadership Program in October. This program aims to identify promising midcareer employees in mission-critical occupations and groom them for leadership roles.
Fitzgerald said the October pilot test will focus on acquisition and financial management. Other occupations will follow later.
"We will replicate proven models like the Presidential Management Fellows program, which has a superb track record for recruiting and assessing the brightest from a diverse talent pool," Fitzgerald said.
Nancy Kichak, the Office of Personnel Management's chief human capital officer, said her agency plans to issue a new training policy handbook later this year that will include guidance on adding more supervisory training.
But Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said training is usually the first thing to be cut when budgets get tight.
"If you don't guarantee [training], it won't happen," Voinovich said.
Kichak said OPM Director John Berry wants to increase training as part of an overall civil service reform effort. Berry is talking to the Office of Management and Budget to find a way to require training funding, she said.
"He would like to see [funding] set aside for training," Kichak said. "It is one of his passions. But he is not the man who controls the budget, or the man who controls Congress."