Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending October 24, 2015; Board’s IG Identifies Major Management Challenges


The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending October 24, 2015, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Financial Holding Companies The Desjardins Group, Levis, Canada; Federation des caisses Desjardins du Quebec; Caisee central Desjardins du Quebec, Montreal; and Desjardins FSB Holdings, Inc., Hallandale, Florida — elections to become financial holding companies.
-Effective, October 22, 2015

Separately, the Board’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued on September 30, 2015, a document titled “Major Management Challenges for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.”

In Management Challenge #4, the OIG identified the following item: “Building and Sustaining a High-Performing and Diverse Workforce.” (The item references the OIG’s audit report, covered previously in this blog). I will quote the text below.

Artist: michael sloan
Artist: michael sloan

Management Challenge 4: Building and Sustaining a High-Performing and Diverse Workforce

The Board’s success in achieving its mission depends on attracting, retaining, and developing a qualified, diverse, and agile workforce. Continually evolving workforce expectations and the highly competitive hiring environment for staff with the specialized skills that the Board needs create challenges for the Board. A key step in ensuring that the Board has a diverse workforce that can effectively carry out the Board’s mission is identifying the necessary technical, managerial, and leadership skills through workforce and succession planning. In addition, the Board must continue to support its new performance management process, which is intended to provide greater accountability for organizational objectives and to support employee development.

Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining a Highly Skilled, Diverse Workforce

The Board faces challenges in recruiting and retaining a highly skilled, diverse workforce due to several factors. The Board must recruit in a competitive hiring environment for individuals with skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. In addition, to retain the highly skilled workforce it needs, the Board must successfully address evolving expectations regarding diversity, workplace flexibility, career progression, communication, and continuous learning.

To better engage its current workforce, the Board administered an employee engagement survey in 2014. To address the survey results, the Board has undertaken initiatives both Boardwide and at the division level to further explore and address staff members’ concerns, such as career development and communication. The Board will need to address these concerns to achieve its goal of being a sought-after place to work that attracts highly qualified individuals and embraces the characteristics that each individual brings to the workplace. Effectively employing the unique skills, knowledge, and experiences of the Board’s staff members is critical to supporting the innovative thinking that is needed to address the ever-changing environment in which the Board operates.

An important consideration for the Board in recruiting and retaining staff is engaging in workforce planning. The Board will need to determine the required skill sets and number of staff to enable each division to effectively and efficiently accomplish its goals. In addition, the Board will need to address any skill gaps and align resources to support emerging programs central to the Board’s mission. A key part of workforce planning is developing a succession plan to ensure continuity of knowledge and leadership in key positions. Failure to plan for and anticipate turnover and departures could have a negative effect on the Board’s ability to achieve its goals and fulfill its mission.

The Board has taken steps to enhance its diversity and inclusion practices; however, our recent audit work identified some improvement opportunities. The Board recognizes that although the representation of minorities among those in line to move into official staff roles has been increasing, it remains low. The Board stated that it has begun to implement processes to track senior-staff position applicant data to be able to better measure trends in diversity. As the Board continues to build and sustain a high-performing and diverse workforce, fostering diversity and inclusion and increasing the representation of minorities among those in line for official staff roles should continue to be areas of focus.

  Implementing a New Performance Management System

In 2015, the Board implemented a new performance management system organization-wide following a 2014 pilot program. This new program is intended to strengthen the alignment of expectations for staff members with Board and division strategic goals and responsibilities, provide greater accountability, and support employee development. The new program seeks to be a more forward-looking, development-centric process in which staff members and managers work together for the greater effectiveness of the Board. The Board will be challenged to ensure (1) that the new process is effective, fair, and not overly burdensome and (2) that a consistent approach is followed across the agency. Additionally, the Board’s plan to automate the forms for the new performance management system will present further challenges to this new process.

Agency Actions 

The Board’s first engagement survey was administered in September 2014. The survey was intended to help the Board foster an environment that engages employees in the Board’s mission and encourages them to contribute to a positive work environment. Some issues identified by the survey are being addressed at the Board level. In addition, Board divisions have created working groups to address the results of the survey; these efforts are ongoing.

The Board’s Organizational Development and Learning section is administering a two phase, formal agency-wide succession planning program, which began in late 2012, to help identify a diverse pool of candidates for senior management positions throughout the Board. The Board’s program will identify development opportunities for employees to prepare them for potential advancement. Both phases are scheduled for full implementation by 2017.

Additionally, the Board continues to develop its Leading and Managing People program, which draws on the expertise of leaders from around the Board to help all Board managers and supervisors develop their skills and strengthen their capacity to identify, coach, and support the future leaders of the organization.

The Board stated that it is finalizing a diversity and inclusion strategic plan and rolling out a new diversity and inclusion scorecard to all Board divisions. Beginning in 2016, the annual scorecards will be assessed by the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion and compiled into one report that will be reviewed by the Board’s Chair. The Board also plans to formalize the standards that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion relies on for equal employment opportunity and the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of the workforce and the senior management of the agency, which will be included in the diversity and inclusion strategic plan.

The Board is updating its performance management policy to better reflect the new performance management system. In addition, the Board contracted for the necessary expertise to assist with the program’s implementation, which includes information sessions, tools and guides, training, and other support.