VA is Looking for a Platform to Track Talent and Spot Future Leaders

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Employees also would use the system as a one-stop shop for professional development services.

The Veterans Affairs Department wants to stand up a platform to help the agency track workforce talent and spot employees with the potential to move up the career ladder.

The agency on Thursday began recruiting vendors to build an “enterprise learning management” system, a single platform where employees can find opportunities to grow their skill sets and log their professional development. It would ultimately become the “official record” for ensuring employees complete mandatory training courses and receive all necessary certifications, officials said in the solicitation.

The agency would also be able to use the software to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of their workforce and flag potential candidates for leadership roles. The platform could ultimately replace the agency’s legacy Talent Management System, according to the solicitation.

“The [Veterans Affairs Department] needs to foundationally support its large and dispersed workforce by providing an enterprise capability to deliver learning and development activities,” officials said. “The scope of the initiative is to implement a solution that will support the future education and development of [Veterans Affairs] employees and other staff.”

Selected vendors would be required to use agile methodology—breaking large projects into smaller chunks, developed in sprints—to stand up the platform and roll out new features and programs as needed, according to the solicitation. The agency intends to use the platform to host online training courses, forums for employees to discuss work-related topics and numerous other professional development services.

Because the system would track each employee’s talents and areas of expertise, the agency could use it to spot the people most qualified to fill specific positions and leadership roles, according to the solicitation.

Additionally, the software would also provide the agency with a more holistic view of its workforce.

The platform would allow officials to analyze workforce data in employees and assemble custom dashboards and reports using that information, according to the solicitation. Ultimately, the agency could use the tech to inform long-term investments in workforce development and identify areas where it needs to beef up its talent base, officials said.

The tool could prove particularly helpful for identifying talent gaps in the agency’s rapidly aging tech workforce.

As of March 2018, Veterans Affairs employed roughly 19 IT specialists over the age of 60 for every person under age 30, the widest age disparity of any cabinet agency. Val Cummins, who leads the IT branch of the department’s Human Capital Management Office, told Nextgov in October his top priority is building a sustainable employee life cycle and ensuring there are trained tech experts to take over when older workers leave the agency.