IRS Restructuring Its Future Workforce

A new year brings new changes, especially in the IRS’ case. This stems from the fact that society is changing fast, and the agency’s Human Resource department is already reinventing how it plans to keep up with these changes. This new plan will stretch to 5 years and beyond.

Daniel Riordan, who is the Chief Human Capital Officer for the IRS, states that they looked at their own vision statement, and they asked themselves “whether or not they captured what they wanted as an HR organization, all that they have to offer.” Based on these thought processes, this urged them to begin to restructure.

The IRS is shifting to a more automated process. This is forcing Riordan to brainstorm how the agency plans to maintain quality, customer service, training, and talent management.

Another worry that is being brought to the forefront with the changes occurring is skill sets. The Future State Program will have new demands that need to be met. Incoming employees must be trained by the agency on the particular expertise that accompanies the new program. But before that is done, the agency will complete a thorough assessment of what skills and weaknesses their current workforce has now.

Riordan is also considering creating new career path models and new positions within the agency. According to him, all newcomers want to know “where they can go in the organization, and how they are going to fit in,” especially in the midst of the new changes. Employee job satisfaction is an important component that they want to improve.

Along with employee job satisfaction, the IRS is pushing to create quality customer service, which is very crucial in their mission and operation. Of course, this becomes hard to do when the Future State Program is digitizing a lot of procedures. To solve this, they have implemented a few pilots and are allowing customer service representatives to work from anywhere across the globe.

This works out well because it eliminates real estate cost, which is a major expense for the agency. So far, the agency is digitizing more of its information to help accelerate the move to a mobile environment, which will enable the IRS to move its workforce to a virtual environment.

The Taxpayer Advocate and other groups are outraged and have criticized the IRS for the Future State Plan, stating that it’s too aggressive. Riordan, on the other hand, explains that they will be keeping the phone contact portion of their service. “We know to the dollar, to the penny, how much that costs for each interaction.” He understands the importance of giving taxpayers “that very personal service over the phone.”

The IRS has Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC) located all across the country. One strategy that proved inefficient was using a “first-come, first-serve” approach. All this did was create an unbearable workload for them, which led to poor customer service.

Due to this issue, they tried implanting another 44 pilot locations last year. This allowed taxpayers to book appointments to visit a TAC and receive in person service. The representatives at these locations answered approximately 1 million calls between October 2015, and June 2016. Fortunately, half of these callers got their issue resolved without having to commute to an actual center.

Due to its success, this strategy will be implemented at 376 centers by the end of 2016. This doesn’t come as a surprise considering approximately 90% of taxpayers received help within 30 minutes of arriving at the center if they called the appointment hotline. This is a 40% improvement from the previous year.

As of now, the IRS is working closely with the Treasury Department to develop a good talent management system. IRS employees should look forward to these innovative changes sometime next year.