Background Image
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  23 / 80 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 23 / 80 Next Page
Page Background



MAY 2015


Service now has fewer than five years of experience, and more

than two-thirds have served or are now serving at hardship posts.

That earlier surge in hiring has now screeched to a halt,

barely keeping pace with attrition. And the outlook is for con-

tinued fiscal tightness, even as we risk losing seasoned employ-

ees with exceptional experience and expertise to retirement,

selection-out or resignation as the economy improves and large

cohorts compete for a relatively static number of promotion

opportunities at higher grades. The large intakes from the Dip-

lomatic Readiness Initiative and Diplomacy 3.0 now confront

the predictable tightening of promotion rates as the number

of higher-graded positions naturally tapers at mid- and senior


All these trends put a premium on more, and better,

employee engagement.

Foreign Service 2025

We can predict with high confidence that over the next

quarter-century, the world will continue to be a messy place

that requires U.S. leadership. We can also forecast that more,

not fewer, U.S. stakeholders will look to participate in foreign

policy formulation and execution. That means we as a depart-

ment must be much better managers, especially with regard to

our talented employees.

The diplomatic knowledge, skills and competencies that

have always marked Foreign Service excellence will be in

greater, not lesser, demand. At the same time, President Barack

Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have challenged us to

be more flexible—to adapt and learn at a much more acceler-

ated pace—and achieve results that matter.

With that mandate in mind, the Bureau of Human Resources

is committed to an overarching goal: to recruit, retain and sus-

tain a diverse workforce geared to succeed in 2025 and beyond.

We are moving forward on three tracks.

First, we are partnering with AFSA to develop and imple-

ment a professional code of ethics for the Foreign Service, based

on our core values of accountability, character, community,

diversity, loyalty and service. Bringing these values into sharper

relief—and tying them to who we are and to what we do that is

unique and consequential for our nation—is essential for our

conversations with Congress and the American people. We not

only want to forge a more capable FS 2025 workforce, but also

communicate our accomplishments strategically and well.

Second, we are focusing on improving operational effec-

tiveness. One component is workforce flexibility: tapping into

and expanding family member employment; and better using

limited non-career hiring to meet short-term needs, notably for

consular responsibilities. Another component is work-life well-

ness that builds employee empowerment and boosts morale

and productivity.

We will also push greater Service efficiencies through

standardization, regionalization and centralization of support

functions, with an emphasis on impact—attaining diplomatic

and foreign policy goals. By reducing structural rigidities,

bottlenecks and complexity, employees can devote less time

to internal coordination tasks and more time to delivering on


Third, we want to devote greater resources to professional

development. Partnering with the Foreign Service Institute

and the Management Bureau’s Office of Management Policy,

Rightsizing and Innovation, we are using the Culture of Leader-

ship initiative to better align recruitment, training, bidding and

assignments, and employee performance management. FSI is

revamping many of its courses to concentrate on concrete, prac-

tical training and coaching, not just mentoring.

Within HR, we are advancing in three areas:

• Recruiting and developing talented employees with diverse

backgrounds (through internships and fellowships, and disabil-

ity hiring), expanding our marketing strategies and underscoring

our merit-based system;

• Enhancing and integrating leadership and management

skills (mandatory supervisory training, coaching for chiefs of

mission and their deputies); and

• Undertaking performance management and assignment

reform (new FS employee evaluation form, overhaul of selection

board operations, improved recognition and rewards, modern-

ized assignment system, and targeted details beyond State).

In overhauling the performance management system, we

From a high point during the Truman administration,

the State Department’s preeminence in

foreign policy has waned.