Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Transforming Recruitment and Hiring Process

November 2015 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responsible for protecting America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the United States.  CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same, thus saving lives and protecting people from health threats. 

To achieve this critical mission, CDC requires a highly qualified workforce.  CDC sought the Academy’s assistance in 2013 to help the agency’s Human Resources Office (HRO) improve its services to customers.  The Academy completed an initial study in February 2014 with recommendations for driving performance improvement in CDC’s HR processes.  Upon the completion of that review, CDC requested that the Academy work with the agency to reengineer its hiring process.

 

The Academy formed a study team of senior human resource professionals with input from a five-member Expert Advisory Group and worked closely with CDC to:

  • Document the existing hiring framework;
  • Collect data and develop a comprehensive, improved process;
  • Recommend and pilot the improved hiring framework with three programs;
  • Develop materials to ensure that HRO staff understood the revised framework;
  • Recommend performance metrics to continually assess the new hiring framework;
  • Conduct a “training of trainers” on the pilot and the final new hiring process; and
  • Identify critical changes in HRO and CDC culture needed to implement and sustain the new hiring process.

Key Findings and Recommendations

The initial results of this integrated set of changes show significant promise for improving recruitment outcomes and HRO-CIO working relationships.  For example, time-to-hire was reduced from 104 days to 72 days.  Subject matter expert involvement contributed to improved assessment questions and the identification of highly qualified candidates.  The working relationship between HRO and its customers continues to improve.  At the conclusion of the project, the Academy team made 13 recommendations for next steps that should be taken by CDC to build on the momentum of the pilots and institutionalize the new approaches.  Recommendations included continuing the HRO and program collaboration to transition to competency-based job analysis and recruitment; supporting Centers, Institutes, and Offices (CIOs) efforts to streamline procedures and processes as part of this transition; integrating a robust communications program into the transition; and strengthening the Customer Review Board.