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Advancing the Strategic Management of Human Capital

Getting to Green

Agencies continue building strong human capital programs as evidenced by the Department of Commerce's return to "'Green" Status this quarter. This brings the total number of "Green" human capital agencies to 16.

Among its human capital accomplishments, the Department of Commerce implemented a five-level performance appraisal system that covers 90% of its employees. Performance plans are results-focused, measurable, and aligned with mission objectives. The Department expanded its multi-tier performance appraisal system beta site from 400 employees to 22,000 and increased its Performance Appraisal Assessment Tool (PAAT) score from 29 to 95.

The Department implemented its OPM-approved succession plan to support its efforts to update and strengthen its leadership talent pool through structured development programs.  The Department also has an OPM approved Accountability System Plan for FY 2007-2011 and submitted its first accountability report for FY 2006.

Establishing Agency Accountability Systems

During 2006, OPM worked extensively with the agencies covered under the President's Management Agenda (PMA) to develop accountability systems consistent with OPM standards. By the first quarter of FY 2007, all PMA agencies had developed formal, OPM-approved accountability systems and 21 agencies had begun to implement their systems, conducting audits and reviews.

In December 2006, 18 agencies submitted their first annual human capital accountability reports. These reports provide detailed results on how well agency human capital programs are performing and contributing to mission accomplishment. Agencies will use these results to inform their continued development of effective human capital strategies. OPM will also factor these reports into setting our Governmentwide human capital agenda. Over the next several months, OPM will review agency reports and provide feedback to agencies. In the spring, we will release Governmentwide metrics for inclusion in the fiscal year 2007 agency reports. The metrics, and our ongoing assistance to agencies in their use, reinforce our commitment to ensure human capital programs add value.

Improving Performance Culture

Agencies are showing significant progress in improving their performance appraisal programs.  Using OPM’s Performance Appraisal Assessment Tool (PAAT), agencies have assessed their appraisal programs and addressed identified weaknesses. OPM scores the PAATs and provides in-depth feedback to agencies. After establishing a baseline using the agency’s first PAAT, OPM verifies improvements through a second PAAT score. This quarter, 82% of agencies completing a second PAAT made significant improvements and met the criteria for effective performance appraisal programs.

A 21st Century Approach to Attracting Talent

Through the Career Patterns initiative, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) continues to help agencies meet the challenges of attracting the talent needed to replace the large numbers of retiring civil servants. As of January 1, 2007, all Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) agencies and a number of small agencies categorized their mission critical occupations and other major occupational families by Career Pattern scenarios. This work is foundational to agencies determining what work environments need to be marketed, enhanced or built to attract and retain a 21st century workforce. Many agencies are moving ahead quickly to operate in new Career Patterns environments: At least 6 CHCO agencies and 1 small agency have already provided evidence to OPM that their recruitment and hiring efforts reflect Career Patterns analysis. For more information about Career Patterns and access to the Career Patterns Guide, select http://www.opm.gov/hcaaf_resource_center/careerPatterns/index.asp.

Selecting High Quality Talent

Category Rating, an alternative assessment and selection process, provides additional flexibility for managers and HR professionals to select top talent from a larger applicant pool.  Agencies are increasing their use of category rating, but there is still much room for improvement.  Recently, OPM conducted training on the process to agency HR professionals to spur its use.  OPM also provided agencies with the course materials so they are able to conduct their own training sessions.  During the remainder of the year, OPM will monitor agency use of Category Rating, conduct additional training sessions and provide technical assistance.

Building Leadership Capacity

This quarter we continued to support agencies in building leadership capacity by delivering the Management Competency Assessment Tool (MCAT). The MCAT is a Web-based application agencies can use to assess the skill levels of managers, supervisors, and other leaders in key leadership competencies.  Individuals using the MCAT will assess themselves against the 28 leadership competences that support the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) and 6 performance management competencies aimed at determining their readiness to manage in a pay for performance environment.

Like the Strategic Leadership Succession Management Model, the MCAT is a tool agencies can use in their succession management and leadership development programs. The MCAT is located on OPM’s website at http://www.opm.gov/hcaaf_resource_center/4-8.asp.

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