By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to strengthen the recruitment, hiring and development of the federal government's senior executives; I hereby order as follows: rotational assignments!
Yes, it is true. Rotational assignments are not only good for developing corporate talent and leadership, but they're good for the government, too!
The “Senior Executive Service” is comprised of the top career federal managers who are responsible for ensuring the continuity and success of the U.S. government. Their goal is to "ensure that the executive management of the Government of the United States is responsive to the needs, policies, and goals of the Nation and otherwise is of the highest quality.” In order to do that, they need to hire, develop and retain very talented executives.
So on Dec. 15, 2015, the White House issued an executive order for “Strengthening The Senior Executive Service." This order outlines a plan to enhance the recruitment, hiring and development of the federal government’s senior level executives. Their guidance was focused on how to implement a rotational assignment program, because, in their words:
Rotations are an opportunity to cultivate broad and diverse experiences, that improves talent development, mission delivery, and collaboration. Research has also shown that on-the-job experiences, such as rotations, contribute to 70% of an executive’s learning. Rotations can deepen an executive’s understanding of the impact of the agency’s work on those it serves; leading to both increased engagement and improved sense of mission.
For their purposes, they defined a rotation as a “development process, involving movement to another position or an assignment that broadens the executive’s knowledge, skill and experience in order to improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration.” A rotation must last a minimum of 120 consecutive calendar days and provide experience outside the executive’s current role. They required some very specific content in an assignment proposal that has to be approved by a committee, and then went on to establish that as a government, they want 15% of executives on rotations annually. If you would like to learn more about this initiative, I encourage you to read more about the established guidance.
(v) By May 31, 2016, the heads of agencies with 20 or more SES positions shall develop and submit to OPM a 2-year plan to increase the number of SES members who are rotating to improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration. While agency specific targets will not be required, this order establishes a Government-wide goal of 15 percent of SES members rotating for a minimum of 120 days (including to different departments, agencies, subcomponents, functional areas, sectors, and non-federal partners) during FY 2017, and thereafter, in order to ensure the mobility of the corps while also maintaining stability of operations.