We the Partnership

Assessing the Biden administration’s first 100 days

By Kari Rea | April 30, 2021

The Biden administration encountered historic challenges during its first 100 days in office: a global pandemic, economic turmoil and the need to coordinate a national vaccination effort.

Last October, the Partnership launched the Roadmap for Renewing our Federal Government to propose several ways the new administration could revitalize government to meet these challenges. The Biden team has made progress in addressing several issues in the Roadmap’s four main focus areas: leadership and stewardship, talent, innovation and technology modernization, and collaboration. We applaud these early actions and highlight examples below:

  • Select and promote capable and credible leaders. President Biden has spent much of his first 100 days building his administration. With 44 confirmations by his 100th day in office, Biden has more Senate-confirmed appointees than either George W. Bush or Donald Trump had on their 100th day. Biden’s Cabinet is also the most diverse in the history of the presidency—both in terms of race, gender and sexual identity, and professional background.
  • Modernize recruiting and hiring. A recent Biden administration memorandum on revitalizing the national security workforce includes a call for agencies to “win the race for talent.” One way to recruit mission-critical talent is to think inventively—like the White House did when it posted a clue in its website code encouraging technologists to apply for federal digital services jobs. The administration should encourage agencies to use their hiring flexibilities creatively, while taking steps to modernize the civil service system over the next four years.
  • Set an expectation for data-driven management and decision-making. The Biden administration has taken steps to improve data management and data transparency across government. It established an interagency working group focused on equity in federal data management, and the government’s analytics website is being updated regularly for the first time since 2017. Increasing access to data can help leaders make more informed decisions.
  • Develop government-wide implementation strategies. The president’s national security memo created a new interagency working group to identify best practices from our government’s response to the pandemic, review recommendations to modernize veterans’ preference, bolster training opportunities across agencies, and develop innovative solutions to strengthen the national security workforce.

In the next 100 days, the administration could take several additional steps to build on these efforts:

  • Prioritize improving customer trust. Create a team in the White House to improve the customer experience across government and help agencies establish short- and long-term goals to build customer trust in their services.
  • Expand digital service delivery. Direct each agency to identify at least one high-volume service or process to enhance through existing technology by the end of 2021.
  • Improve employee engagement and retention. Direct agency leaders to use the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® results to identify and address federal employee concerns about their workplace and agency leadership.

The Biden administration has taken many positive steps toward revitalizing government—and there’s plenty more to do. To solve the significant challenges facing the federal government and serve the public effectively, the new administration will need to continue building a capable leadership corps, strengthening the federal workforce, boosting innovation and improving collaboration across government.

Read more about the Roadmap for Renewing Our Federal Government’s first 100 days checklist for the Biden administration.


Kari Rea