Lessons from Free Agency

Friday, November 18, 2016

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

You may or may not be aware that I'm a part of the first cohort of federal public servants in an HR pilot called Free Agents (internal). At its core the program is based on Deloitte's GovCloud model and seeks to treat human resources more akin to cloud computing resources: deployed just in time to solve a particular time bound and well scoped problem. The program just welcomed its second cohort of successful candidates earlier this week and I had the opportunity to chat with them quickly as a part of their on-boarding.

Here's what I had to say

I think the hardest part of being a Free Agent is having an maintaining two separate but equally important work teams. When I first started my Free Agency I told Abe (the program manager) that my biggest concern was "not having time to make 10 new friends". As a result I approached the program (and perhaps the group of people in it) with a fair bit of skepticism. In short, I thin sliced the experience and pre-determined that I wanted very little to do with what I thought was the rhetoric, administrivia and the forced socializing of the program. But over time I realized that I was wrong, the program -- and more importantly the individual people in it -- won me over. Its a strong group of knowledgeable, dedicated and risk taking public servants (i.e. its an HR pilot that could result in job loss) that are interested in digging in, learning more, and leaning into new challenges; and by and large its a group of people I wouldn't have crossed paths with if it weren't for the program.

So -- my advice to you (the next cohort) is this: take time to invest in each other, lean on each other, offer help, and seek advice. The best thing about this group of people is that you've all already demonstrated that at a minimum you share a set of common values: a commitment to public service, innovation, new ways of working, risk tolerance, mobility, flexibility, etc. There's likely a lot more common ground to explore with your Free Agent counterparts than there will be wherever you end up on assignment, don't be afraid to use it.