federal leadership development survey

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Deloitte, Senior Executives Association Survey: Leadership Pipeline, Readiness and Transformation Abilities Among Top Concerns for Federal Executives

First-of-its-kind survey highlights issues impacting government executives and steps leaders can take to address them.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2017 — A new survey of career senior federal government executives released today by Deloitte and the Senior Executives Association (SEA) highlights areas of concern for federal leaders as they implement change at their agencies. The survey, “State of Senior Career Leadership,” includes feedback from more than 750 federal leaders. In addition, individual and agency action-step checklists are included to help improve efforts moving forward.

“This report arms our most senior federal government leaders with actionable data and practical recommendations to address the challenges they face while overseeing their organizations’ critical missions,” said Sean Morris, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and federal human capital leader.

“Federal leaders are being asked to change the way they think and operate to drive transformation in their individual agencies,” said Bill Valdez, president, SEA. “While the survey results show how deeply career senior leaders care about their organizations, many leaders do not feel empowered with the right tools and support to make these changes a reality.”

The Deloitte and SEA survey reveals three key focus areas to help drive agency transformation:

  • Leadership pipeline: Of those surveyed, only 22 percent felt their agency is well prepared to retain top talent. Survey respondents felt an increased focus on soft skills will likely be required to lead federal agencies moving forward. Roughly three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents said there are exciting opportunities for workers of all ages, but less than half believe current leaders understand how to effectively manage a multigenerational workforce.
  • Executive readiness: Preparing existing leaders for the changing needs of their agencies and roles is not being addressed equally across agencies, according to respondents. A stronger focus on making agency leaders life-long learners can help keep them at the forefront of innovation.
  • Transformational leadership: Federal leaders surveyed highlighted a growing concern in the federal space that leaders are not prepared for the future workforce, citing cultural and digital barriers. Furthermore, only 28 percent of respondents felt their agencies had systems in place to enable knowledge-sharing across senior leaders.

Deloitte and SEA outlined a number of steps government executives can consider to start addressing these challenges, including:

  • Use evidence-based assessments to help identify high-potential individuals with leadership skills, not just technical expertise.
  • Design programs that build leadership capabilities through challenging experiences and frequent exposure to diverse leaders inside and outside the organization.
  • Focus on re-evaluating the work and the workforce of tomorrow in order to make hiring decisions as opposed to just filling open needs.

To learn more about the Deloitte and SEA report, visit Deloitte, Senior Executives Association Survey.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.

About SEA
The Senior Executives Association is the nonprofit professional association representing members of the Senior Executive Service (and SES-equivalents) in the federal government. SEA promotes ethical and dynamic public service by fostering an outstanding career executive corps, advocates the interests of career federal executives (both active and retired), and provides information and services to SEA members.

Media contacts:

Megan Doern
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 571 858 1990

Ben Carnes
Legislative & Communications Associate
Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C.
+1 202 463 8400 Ext. 345

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