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Advancing the Strategic Management of Human Capital

Results of the fourth year of the President's Management Agenda demonstrate that strategic management of human capital is fast becoming agencies' fundamental business model. For instance, 92% of agencies have human capital programs that are aligned with mission, 73% of agencies met their targets toward closing gaps in mission critical occupations, and the average time to hire someone into Federal service dropped to an average of 31 days based on the 45-day model.

Going forward, OPM's focus is to ensure human capital management systems are fully institutionalized in agencies' business operations and organizational culture. By building on the systems in place today, we will work with our agency partners to achieve this.

Building Leadership Capacity and Bench Strength Targets

At the end of this quarter, over 70% of agencies met or exceeded their targets in both closing leadership competency gaps and building bench strength capacity. Last year, OPM consulted with 25 agencies to develop strategic leadership succession management plans. Agencies also set targets toward closing leadership competency gaps and for building bench strength capacity - leaders prepared to contribute to the mission at levels of higher responsibility. Over the last several months, agencies have implemented their plans, including conducting leadership development programs and strategies. Several agencies are utilizing OPM's Federal Competency Assessment Tool - Management (FCAT-M) to assess and identify leadership competency gaps.

Improving Performance Management - SES and GS

Agencies continue to improve their performance management systems. Review of the Senior Executive Service (SES) performance-oriented pay system shows agencies use their SES appraisal systems to make distinctions in performance, to make appropriate pay and awards determinations based on individual and organizational performance, and to focus executive performance on achieving measurable results linked to organizational goals. Agencies are also improving their performance management systems covering all non-SES employees. Using OPM's Performance Appraisal Assessment Tool (PAAT), OPM verifies that 92% of agency performance pilots have improved their systems to an effective level. Agencies are being held accountable for designing and implementing effective performance management systems.

Assessing Proficiency Levels of the IT Workforce

The Federal Government is making a concerted effort to ensure it has highly qualified and capable information technology professionals. During this quarter, 25 agencies submitted Gap Analysis and Improvement Plans for Information Technology (IT) Specialists. These plans were based on data collected by a governmentwide survey of the proficiency levels of the IT workforce and describe each agency's area(s) for improvement and strategies to continue shaping their IT workforce to meet evolving needs. OPM and OMB have analyzed the results of the last two surveys to determine agency progress and analyzed governmentwide data to identify opportunities for cross governmental improvements. Agencies have already begun implementing their improvement plans with the first progress report due to OPM in September, followed by a more in-depth report in June 2008.

Making Strides in Improving the Hiring Process

Improving the Federal Government's hiring processes is critical to encouraging top talent to consider the Federal Government as a career option. Over the last year, agencies have made significant progress in addressing two primary concerns of applicants - 1) reducing the time it takes to hire, and 2) providing information to applicants on their status in the hiring process. Currently, 76% percent of hiring decisions are made within 45 business days and nearly 90% of applicants are notified within the same time period.

To continue supporting agencies in improving their hiring processes, OPM is enhancing its Hiring Toolkit Website. Enhancements include adding Career Patterns-focused vacancy announcements into the Job Posting Wizard tool, providing additional information on hiring assessment instruments and updating hiring process case studies. The Hiring Toolkit Version 2.0 is expected to debut in the fall.

Assessing Agency Human Capital Accountability Systems

OPM provided written feedback to agencies on their first Human Capital Management Reports (formerly Human Capital Accountability Reports). The written feedback was step 2 of the feedback process to agencies. The first step was the consulting sessions held with agency representatives, the OPM Human Capital Officer, and members of the Human Capital Management Reports Review team. The written feedback included significant findings and contained suggestions for enhancing their human capital programs and accountability systems.

Overall, agency human capital accountability systems are in the early stages of development, and the next major step for OPM is to ensure that those systems become institutionalized in Federal agencies. By September 30, 2007, agencies are expect to have begun using the results of their accountability activities to inform their human capital decision making, which is the final phase of the accountability cycle.

More Information

For more information on how OPM is supporting agencies with their human capital efforts, visit www.opm.gov and click on “Strategic Management of Human Capital.” You will find excellent information resources and reports, including the Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework (HCAAF) Resource Center. The Resource Center offers practical tools and solutions for improving human capital programs.

Director Linda M. Springer
Office of Personnel Management