Legislation Introduced to Help Bolster VA Hiring Process

Legislation has been introduced in the House that is designed to improve the hiring process at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) has introduced legislation designed to enhance recruitment and retainment of employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Wenstrup says reforms are needed because an aging workforce as well as private sector competition are leading to a staffing shortage at the VA and that the agency’s current hiring process is inefficient and contributing to the problems.

H.R. 5526 would do the following:

  • Create a single, system-wide database of vacant positions at the VA where eligible candidates can be considered for multiple jobs
  • Codifies VA’s “Pathway Program” to identify and recruit young talent
  • Streamline the process for reemploying good, former employees who voluntarily left the VA
  • Modify the annual report on staffing shortages to include statistics for both clinical and nonclinical occupations within each Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN)
  • Direct the VA to develop a standardized exit survey for employees who voluntarily leave in order to evaluate and improve the agency’s structure

The Partnership for Public Service came out in favor of the bill. CEO Max Stier issued the following statement:

“The package of reforms [in Wenstrup’s legislation] will improve hiring at the VA by offering market-based pay for senior executives in medical positions, expanding the agency’s ability to use internships as an entry-level talent pipeline, and creating a recruiting database to track and fill key jobs across the department, among other significant provisions. The bill also enhances accountability and leadership development by requiring annual performance plans for political leaders and by providing opportunities for employees to learn best practices from the private sector. Taken together, these reforms will greatly improve how the VA hires, retains and develops the talent it needs.”

Wenstrup said of the bill, “These commonsense reforms will tailor the VA’s hiring practices and strategies to meet their own staffing needs and the needs of our veterans.”

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.