The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other large federal agencies say they have implemented Lean Six Sigma to significantly reduce the time it takes to hire new employees.

According to DoD officials, the Lean Six Sigma projects identified numerous redundant steps in the department’s hiring process. Since instituting changes in the policy, the number of steps required to complete a new hire at the Pentagon have been reduced from 32 in 2008 to just 14 steps today. As a result, the time required to process new hires at DoD has dropped from 151 days, on average, in January 2010 to the current average of 79 days.

Kathy Ott, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for civilian personnel policy, said that although managers were involved in about 30 percent of the hiring process, many were confused by it. So Ott’s office has distributed a series of instructional guides explaining the most commonly used hiring authorities, onboarding tips and the various steps in the hiring process. Other guides now being finalized focus on how to analyze vacant jobs to determine what key competencies a candidate should have, and how to craft a strategic workforce plan.

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