Walking the Walk: Building Internal Capacity for Performance Improvement
USAID staff are most often hired for their technical mastery, yet many of their day-to-day tasks require management and relationship-building skills. This gap is evident in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) in which USAID typically performs in the lower tercile compared to other federal agencies. How can an agency whose mission is to build capacity around the world score so poorly in managing its own workforce and workplace? The Office of Human Capital and Talent Management/Center for Professional Development (HCTM/CPD) applied CLA strategies to build USAID's internal strength to manage adaptively and promote continuous learning.
With strong internal collaboration, HCTM/CPD garnered Agency-wide input for the content of the Supervisor Certification Course (SCC) learning architecture. The SCC supports continuous learning through a combination of classroom and virtual learning, supported by just-in-time job aids and coaching support. The content is constantly refreshed to reflect participant and trainer feedback, and to account for evolving Agency workforce performance policy. Action Learning Projects (ALPs) ensure practice, application and knowledge management with the broader unit, team, mission or bureau. While this new approach has been met with some resistance, it is through the ongoing and robust evaluation reporting, as well as relationships and networks, that the validity of the design and its content has generated enthusiasm and traction for improving USAID’s overall capacity to better manage and supervise its multicultural and diverse workforce.