A two-year pilot program to test strategies to improve the Air Force civilian hiring process will begin Oct. 28.
Air Force Personnel Center Operating Locations at Hill, Robins, Tinker and Wright-Patterson Air Force Bases that provide Air Force Materiel Command personnel support will realign to AFMC, creating opportunities to test innovative strategies for processing of civilian personnel actions. The ultimate goal is to improve civilian hiring timeliness and throughput across the Air Force.
“This transition will provide AFMC the opportunity to execute enterprise-wide solutions for our civilian hiring challenges,” said Maj. Gen. Andrew Toth, commander, Air Force Personnel Center.
The transition of governance authority from Air Force Personnel Center to AFMC will appear seamless to personnel customers of each of the OLs who will continue to receive staffing and classification support from the same individuals who currently service them today. However, the manpower and resources assigned to the AFPC OLs will realign to AFMC.
This will provide greater control and flexibility for the command to manage enterprise personnel activities, standardize processes and metrics, and balance workloads across the OLs to meet work-year execution goals. AFMC will still follow Air Force human resources policy and receive technical oversight from AFPC, however they will be better positioned to identify and implement process changes to bring forth more efficient timeliness and customer service across the enterprise.
“AFMC’s overall civilian hiring times have improved over 11 percent over the last year,” said Toth. “This is an opportunity for AFMC to partner with their customers to identify process changes and efficiencies that can dovetail into enterprise-wide solutions.”
“The pilot program will enable us to more strategically address hiring issues across the command by expanding programs and initiatives that are working at individual centers for enterprise benefit,” said John W. Snodgrass, director, AFMC Manpower, Personnel and Services. “The realignment will give us a greater ability to leverage unique AFMC hiring authorities and pre-approved incentives and to better track and monitor metrics to identify the hiring processes that work the best as we continue to grow and retain our high-caliber workforce.”
AFMC has worked aggressively to address a number of civilian hiring challenges over the past year, which include backlogs related to security clearances and assignment orders, computer network challenges, execution of civilian hiring incentives and a high Air Force Personnel Center human resources personnel servicing ratio of 1-to-325. Furthermore, private sector competition for the high caliber talent AFMC pursues is an additional challenge when coupled with an inherently bureaucratic system that has multiple hiring, appraisal and pay systems.
As the employer of more than 40 percent of the entire Air Force civilian workforce, AFMC recruited for and filled more than 12,400 positions over the past year, averaging 109 days for the hiring process. Approximately 3,800 of these positions were filled through expedited or direct-hire authorities, with fill times averaging only 80 days for these hiring actions. These specialized authorities allow for expedited hiring of individuals to hard-to-fill positions that require specific experience or qualifications when there is a shortage of qualified candidates.
Though the AFMC hiring time is less than the overall Air Force average, the goal is to achieve an 80-day or less average across all hiring actions across the command.
“Overcoming process constraints and taking strategic steps to be more effective and efficient across the command is our No. 1 goal. This initiative is a step in the right direction,” said Snodgrass.
The assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs approved the test program for two years, after which a review will be conducted to determine continuation or cessation of the pilot. As one of the largest of the AFMC hiring initiatives to date, leadership is confident it will be a success.
“AFMC civilians are critical to our command readiness,” said Snodgrass. “If we can make our processes better, AFMC and the Air Force will benefit from the best and brightest talent long into the future.”