The Department of Defense (DoD) has rolled out a new challenge seeking innovative talent management ideas that would make an impact across the department in recruiting, retaining, and promoting a diverse workforce.

The Talent Management Innovation Challenge – which began on August 11 and will run through September 30 – encourages DoD military and civilian employees at all levels to submit talent management ideas to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. According to the department, this inaugural challenge is an opportunity for service members and civilians to voice their ideas, “showcase their ingenuity, and share passion projects or solutions to better enhance the workplace.”

“To remain the best fighting force in the world and effectively compete in today’s job marketplace, we must innovate the way we recruit, retain, and develop top talent,” Gilbert Cisneros, the under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, said in a press release.

All active, guard, and reserve service members and DoD civilian employees are encouraged to submit ideas in one of three categories – recruiting and accessions, promotion and retention, or “wild card.”

The ideas will be assessed for broad applicability across the department and potential positive impact. Finalists will pitch their idea to a panel of DoD senior leaders for consideration of adoption across the department.

“We are always looking for new insights and ideas to evolve and transform the way we do things across the Department. This first-ever Talent Management Innovation Challenge will bring forth innovative solutions from those on the ground to help solve the issues of today,” said Brynt Parmeter, DoD’s first-ever chief talent management officer (CTMO).

As one of the largest employers in the world, the DoD intends to use this new challenge as a way to lead and drive the department in identifying, recruiting, and retaining its workforce, which is just the latest in a line of efforts by the department to cultivating a world-class talent.

For example, DoD chief information officer, John Sherman, earlier this month released the department’s long-awaited cyber workforce implementation plan, which outlines a foundation for DoD to successfully execute the objectives and initiatives aligned with the Cyber Workforce Strategy, which was released back in March. The strategy acknowledges that the cyber talent pipeline is still limited, and the DoD must expand the workforce with diverse roles.

“We are working hard to solve today’s talent management challenges, and this challenge reinforces the need to tap into the full range of strengths and capabilities of all our employees,” said Cisneros of the talent management challenge. “By harnessing the tremendous talent and experiences of our military Service members and civilian colleagues, we can bring forth new, innovative, and effective ideas tailored to our personnel.”

The DoD’s 2040 Task Force – which facilitates, informs, and advances enterprise-wide diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility progress – will help kick off the inaugural challenge. The CTMO and Talent Management Executive Council will oversee future challenges.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.