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entitled 'Human Capital: Selected Agency Actions to Integrate Human 
Capital Approaches to Attain Mission Results' which was released on 
April 11, 2003.



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Report to Congressional Subcommittees:



April 2003:



HUMAN CAPITAL:



Selected Agency Actions to Integrate Human Capital Approaches to Attain 

Mission Results:



GAO-03-446:



GAO Highlights:



Highlights of GAO-03-446, a report to congressional subcommittees

April 2003



Why GAO Did this Study:



Successful strategic human capital management requires the integration 

of human capital approaches with strategies for accomplishing 

organizational missions and program goals. Such integration allows the 

agency to ensure that its core processes efficiently and effectively 

support mission-related outcomes.



Based on the recommendations of various human capital experts, GAO 

identified six executive branch agencies that had taken key actions to 

integrate their human capital approaches with their strategic planning 

and decision making. The agencies were the Federal Emergency Management 

Agency, the General Services Administration, the Internal Revenue 

Service, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and 

the U.S. Geological Survey. These key actions may prove helpful to 

other agencies as they seek to ensure that their human capital 

approaches are aligned with their program goals.



What GAO Found:



The executive branch agencies GAO reviewed have taken key actions to 

integrate their human capital approaches with their strategies for 

accomplishing organizational missions and to shift the focus of their 

human capital office from primarily compliance activities to consulting 

activities.



* Agency leaders included human capital leaders in key agency strategic 

planning and decision making and, as a result, the agencies engaged the 

human capital organization as a strategic partner in achieving desired 

outcomes relating to the agency’s mission.



* Human capital leaders took actions to transform the agencies’ human 

capital organizations by establishing clear human capital strategic 

visions, restructuring their organizations, and improving the use of 

technology to free organizational resources. Human capital leaders also 

promoted a transition to a larger strategic role for human capital 

professionals with their focus being more on consulting rather than 

compliance activities. The human capital profession is in transition 

from valuing narrowly focused specialists to requiring generalists, who 

have all the skills necessary to play an active role in helping to 

determine the overall strategic direction of the organization.



* Jointly, agency leaders and human capital leaders are having human 

capital professionals and agency line managers share the accountability 

for successfully integrating strategic human capital considerations 

into agency strategic planning and decision making.



www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-446.

To view the full report, including the scope and methodology, click on 

the link above. For more information, contact J. Christopher Mihm at 

(202) 512-6806 or mihmj@gao.gov.



[End of section]



Letter:



Results in Brief:



Background:



Selected Agencies Took Actions to Integrate Human Capital Approaches 

with Organizational Missions:



Conclusions:



Agency Comments:



Appendix:



Appendix I: Objective, Scope, and Methodology:



Tables:



Table 1: Key Agency Actions to Integrate Human Capital Approaches with 

Strategies for Accomplishing Agency Missions:



Table 2: GSA Human Capital Council Members:



Table 3: GSA’s HR Roles and Competencies:



Table 4: USGS’s HR Competencies:



Figures:



Figure 1: FEMA’s Human Resources Division after Restructuring:



Figure 2: The Federal Human Capital Workforce: Percentage of 
Generalists 

and Specialists:



Abbreviations:



CHCO: Chief Human Capital Officer:



CHRIS: comprehensive human resources integrated system:



CIO: Chief Information Officer:



CPO: Chief People Office:



FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency:



GSA: General Services Administration:



HR: Human Resources:



HRD: Human Resources Division:



HRPC: Human Resource Policy Council:



IRS: Internal Revenue Service:



NAPA: National Academy of Public Administration:



OARS: online automated recruitment system:



OMB: Office of Management and Budget:



OPM: Office of Personnel Management:



PMA: President’s Management Agenda:



SSA: Social Security Administration:



USCG: U.S. Coast Guard:



USGS: U.S. Geological Survey:



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Letter April 11, 2003:



The Honorable George V. Voinovich

Chairman

Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management,

 the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia

Committee on Governmental Affairs

United States Senate:



The Honorable Jo Ann Davis

Chairman

Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency

 Organization

Committee on Government Reform

House of Representatives:



Strategic human capital management is a pervasive challenge in the 

federal government. In July 1998, we reported on agencies’ efforts to 

restructure their personnel operations.[Footnote 1] At that time, 

resource reductions and changing missions, coinciding with the 

replacement of aging human capital management information systems, were 

driving efforts in federal agencies to restructure their human capital 

offices. We found agencies’ additional human capital challenges 

included the need to achieve a more strategic integration of human 

capital approaches in the program decision-making processes.



Fortunately, we are seeing increased attention to strategic human 

capital management and a real and growing momentum for change. Recent 

legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security includes a 

provision to establish a chief human capital officer (CHCO) in major 

agencies of the federal government.[Footnote 2] One of the functions of 

the CHCO is to align the agency’s human capital policies and programs 

with organization mission, strategic goals, and performance outcomes. 

This increased visibility of human capital organizations within federal 

agencies underscores the increased recognition that strategic human 

capital management is a vital enabler of organizational success.



We are addressing this report to you because of your ongoing interest 

in federal human capital issues and how agencies can effectively manage 

their human capital to achieve their organizational goals. Our 

objective for this report was to identify and provide examples of key 

actions agencies have taken to integrate their human capital approaches 

with their strategies for accomplishing organizational missions. These 

actions may prove helpful to other agencies as they seek to ensure that 

their human capital approaches are aligned with their program goals. We 

examined selected human capital integration actions within the Federal 

Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the General Services Administration 

(GSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security 

Administration (SSA), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the U.S. 

Geological Survey (USGS).[Footnote 3] These executive branch agencies 

were chosen because various human capital experts identified them as 

having taken actions to integrate human capital approaches with 

strategies for accomplishing organizational missions and program goals.



To meet our objective, we analyzed agency documents, such as planning 

and organizational restructuring documents, and previous studies on 

strategic human capital management. In addition, we conducted 

semistructured interviews with agency officials, human resource 

directors, and line managers, who were involved in designing or 

implementing their agencies’ human capital integration actions, to 

elicit their experiences and conclusions about the agency actions they 

believed were most important to the successful integration of their 

human capital function. After reviewing and analyzing their responses, 

we developed a framework to classify and report on the types of 

identified actions. We did not attempt to independently verify the 

performance results that agencies attributed to their actions. 

Additionally, our selection process was not designed to provide 

examples that could be considered representative of all the actions at 

the agencies reviewed or of the federal government in general. By 

profiling an agency for a particular action, we do not mean to imply 

complete success for the action or lack of success for others. Appendix 

I provides additional information on our scope and methodology.



Results in Brief:



The executive branch agencies we reviewed have taken a range of key 

actions to integrate their human capital approaches with their 

strategies for accomplishing organizational missions and goals. Table 1 

identifies the actions taken and who within the agency initiated them.



Table 1: Key Agency Actions to Integrate Human Capital Approaches with 

Strategies for Accomplishing Agency Missions:



Action initiators: Agency leaders; Description of action: * Agency 

leaders included human capital leaders in key agency decision making. 

For example, USCG’s agency leadership has engaged its human capital 

organization earlier in the strategic planning and decision-making 

process by appointing its Assistant Commandant for Human Resources as a 

member of the agency’s senior management team and a full partner in the 

development of key USCG management decisions; * Agency leaders also 

established entities, such as human capital councils, accountable for 

integrating human capital approaches with strategies for achieving 

programmatic goals. The groups’ members include both program leaders 

and human capital leaders. For example, GSA created a Human Capital 

Council to ensure, among other objectives, that the agency’s human 

capital strategic plan was integrated within GSA’s strategic plan and 

supported the agency’s program strategies..



Action initiators: Human capital leaders; Description of action: * 

Human capital leaders are establishing and communicating clear human 

capital strategic visions. For example, GSA’s Chief People Officer’s 

vision is for GSA’s Chief People Office (CPO) to become a partner in 

GSA’s business success. To do so, she explained that CPO must deliver 

products and services that enable its customers to focus on their core 

business. Similarly, IRS’s former Chief Human Resource Officer’s vision 

is for the human capital professional in IRS to become more proactive 

in providing human capital strategies and solutions that directly 

enhance the agency’s performance; * Human capital leaders are 

restructuring their human capital organizations to improve their 

alignment with their vision. For example, IRS’s restructured human 

capital management function includes, as one of three major components, 

a national headquarters strategic human resources organization; * 

Human capital leaders are using technological advances to provide 

opportunities to free organizational resources that can be redeployed 

for strategic purposes. For example, the USGS partnered with QuickHire, 

a commercial off-the-shelf software developer, to develop an on-line 

automated recruitment system (OARS) that allows USGS’s human capital 

staff to enter job vacancies into a centralized database and develop 

rating and ranking criteria by selecting and weighting questions from 

an extensive question library organized by job series. According to 

USGS, as the agency continues to gain experience and efficiencies using 

OARS, it hopes to divert an increasing number of human capital staff 

members to other strategic efforts; * Human capital leaders are 

promoting a more strategic role for human capital professionals and are 

investing in the development of new competencies for human capital 

professionals to support their increased strategic engagement. For 

example, in response to the changing role and functions of its human 

capital community, GSA has developed new core competencies needed by 

its human capital staff. Included in these competencies are the new 

skills GSA’s Chief People Officer believes the agency’s human capital 

staff members must develop to become business partners..



Action initiators: Agency leaders and human capital leaders; 

Description of action: * Jointly, agency leaders and human capital 

leaders are having human capital professionals and agency line managers 

share the accountability for successfully integrating strategic human 

capital approaches into the planning and decision making of the agency. 

For example, FEMA’s human capital leaders and program officials have 

implemented an innovative employee staffing effort. According to FEMA 

officials, this greatly enhanced the agency’s emergency response 

capability by providing the human capital staff and the line managers 

the ability to collaborate in identifying available deployment 

candidates for assignment as soon as federal disasters are declared..



Source: GAO analysis of agency data.



[End of table]



The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and five of the six selected 

agencies provided comments on a draft of this report. All generally 

agreed with the information presented and that there is a need for 

federal agencies to ensure that their human capital activities are a 

strategic consideration in accomplishing their missions. Several 

agencies provided additional examples of strategic actions taken by 

their human capital offices as well as technical comments that we have 

incorporated as appropriate. USCG noted that they had no comments on 

the report.



Background:



Similar to the federal government’s acknowledgment over the past decade 

of the need to adopt a more businesslike approach to financial, 

information technology, and performance-based management, the need for 

strategic management of human capital is meeting increased recognition. 

Since we placed strategic human capital management on our high-risk 

list in 2001, the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) subsequently 

identified human capital as one of the five key governmentwide 

management challenges facing the federal government. The agenda 

specifically sets an expectation for agencies to integrate their human 

capital strategies with their organizational missions, visions, core 

values, goals, and objectives. In October 2002, the Office of 

Management and Budget (OMB) and OPM approved revised standards for 

success in the human capital area of the PMA, reflecting language that 

was developed in collaboration with GAO. To assist agencies in 

responding to the revised PMA standards, OPM released the Human Capital 

Assessment and Accountability Framework.



Our work and that of others has shown that high-performing 

organizations link their human capital management systems--from the 

organizational level down to individual employees--with their strategic 

planning and mission accomplishment.[Footnote 4] This means the 

function that has traditionally been called personnel or human 

resources needs to make a fundamental transformation, from being a 

strictly support function involved in managing personnel processes and 

ensuring compliance with rules and regulations to designing and 

implementing human capital approaches to attain the agency’s strategic 

goals. In addition, we found that effective human capital professionals 

must have the appropriate preparation not just to provide effective 

support services, but also to effectively consult with line managers in 

tailoring human capital strategies to the unique needs of the 

agency.[Footnote 5]



In March 2002, we released our Model of Strategic Human Capital 

Management to help agency leaders more effectively lead and manage 

their people and integrate human capital approaches into their 

strategic planning and decision making.[Footnote 6] The model 

emphasizes that successful strategic human capital management requires 

the integration of human capital approaches with strategies for 

accomplishing organizational missions and program goals. Such 

integration allows the agency to ensure that its core processes 

efficiently and effectively support mission-related outcomes.



Selected Agencies Took Actions to Integrate Human Capital Approaches 

with Organizational Missions:



The executive branch agencies we reviewed took a range of actions as 

part of efforts to integrate human capital approaches with strategies 

for achieving organizational missions. Top agency leaders and human 

capital leaders were the primary initiators of the various actions 

taken. In addition, the agency leaders and human capital leaders 

jointly have employed human capital professionals and agency line 

managers to share the accountability for successfully integrating human 

capital approaches into the planning and decision making of the 

agencies.



Agency Leaders Recognize Key Role of Strategic Human Capital 

Engagement:



Top leadership in the agencies expected agency human capital leaders to 

significantly contribute to strategic planning and decision making, 

evidenced by their establishing human capital roles in positions that 

are significant in the organizational hierarchy. This acknowledges both 

the commitment of the agency head to strategically managing the 

agency’s people and the expected role that human capital leaders should 

contribute to organizational success. In addition, agency heads created 

entities, such as human capital councils, to regularly review their 

agencies’ human capital strategies and to ensure a data-driven, 

performance-oriented approach to human capital management. These groups 

of senior agency officials, including both program leaders and human 

capital leaders, provide oversight and are accountable for the 

integration and alignment of the agencies’ human capital approaches.



Agency Leaders Ensure Human Capital Representation in Agency Strategic 

Planning and Decision Making:



Although the so-called “seat-at-the-table” is significant, human 

capital leaders are ultimately valued not by place, but by the value 

they add to the agencies’ strategic human capital approaches in 

attaining organizational goals. According to a 1999 OPM report on 

strategic human capital management,[Footnote 7] there has often been 

contention between human capital leaders and agency leaders because of 

human capital’s role as “gatekeeper,” that is, enforcing the law, 

rules, and regulations. Now, with the responsibility of the human 

capital function evolving, agency leaders are positioning human capital 

leaders in roles where they have the opportunity to more directly 

affect agency decisions and achievement of goals.



USCG officials told us that USCG’s Assistant Commandant for Human 

Resources (HR) is a member of the agency’s senior management team and 

is a full partner in the development of key USCG management decisions. 

They stated that because of the Assistant Commandant’s organizational 

status, USCG’s HR unit has participated earlier in strategic planning 

and decision making, thus facilitating a smoother transition and 

execution of ideas. The officials cited USCG’s use of scenario-based 

planning as an example of early involvement by USCG’s HR unit in agency 

strategic planning and decision making. Scenario-based planning is a 

technique used by USCG for managing uncertainty and risk when planning 

into the future. The agency develops a few plausible future scenarios 

and then plans how it would best respond to each scenario and what 

resources it would need to respond. For example, one scenario may 

describe conditions that imply a greater need to interdict drugs in 

harbors than another scenario, which may describe a world where the 

higher priority is to intercept possible terrorist threats from the 

seas as far offshore as legally possible. Differing competency 

requirements and operating concepts (e.g., time spent at sea) require 

different human capital approaches in each of these scenarios. With 

USCG’s migration to the Department of Homeland Security and its added 

security responsibilities, the agency’s plans for balancing resources 

among its many missions will become increasingly important.[Footnote 8]



In the summer of 1998, senior USCG human capital staff members were 

part of a core group of USCG planners who developed scenarios and 

constructed the operational and support strategies to succeed in those 

scenarios. The group eventually created five very different worlds that 

might exist in the year 2020, along with the “history” of events that 

led to each of those, based on the combined factors of U.S. economic 

vitality, the global demand for maritime services, the role of the 

federal government, and threats to U.S. society. The purpose of the 

five worlds was to create the boundaries of the possible future, and 

allow leaders and planners to create a strategy for USCG that would 

work well in each independent scenario. The core group then analyzed 

the elements common to all five strategies and crafted a core strategy. 

The human capital strategies that emerged became part of USCG’s 

official strategy, and simultaneously drove the human resource 

organization’s business planning and resource investments for the 2001-

2005 time frame.



USCG attributes a number of its improved processes to the early 

involvement of its human capital unit with the agency’s decision-making 

management team. Specific examples cited by USCG include (1) a 

significant restructuring of military occupations and career paths to 

reflect emerging requirements for new competencies, (2) a revision of 

assignment and reassignment practices to make better use of the 

investments in training and development, and (3) a restructuring of 

civilian personnel management functions to better support line managers 

in meeting their operational requirements.



USGS’s HR Office has also played a prominent role in agency strategic 

planning and decision making. In 1997, USGS’s HR Office led a group of 

senior USGS managers in developing the first strategic HR plan for USGS 

as the agency strategically planned how it would remain at the 

forefront of earth and biological science and technology. USGS’s 

strategic HR plan formed the basis for the four people goals (skills, 

rewards, flexibility, and leadership) included in the agency’s current 

strategic plan. HR staff members were active in the development of the 

people goals and in the creation of the current and next-generation 

measures by which the agency is assessing progress under these goals. 

They were also involved in planning and implementing the strategic 

human capital initiatives by which USGS hopes to achieve its goals.



USGS’s strategic human resources plan describes how USGS will align its 

people and processes with the business strategies it has adopted to 

achieve its mission and also recognizes that organizational goals are 

seldom, if ever, realized without the effective use and support of 

people. One USGS business strategy is to increase the agency’s 

flexibility to get work done by using all options other than permanent 

staff members. The strategic human resources plan states that to 

enhance USGS’s flexibility to acquire skills to meet short-term needs 

and provide an influx of new ideas, the HR Office will, for example, 

expand the use of short-term student and faculty appointments from 

academia and development agreements from the private sector.



SSA’s Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources reports directly to the 

Commissioner and is an equal partner with the agency’s other deputies. 

SSA’s human capital officials report that their engagement in the 

strategic planning activities of the agency has provided a much greater 

opportunity to contribute to effective outcomes. For example, the human 

capital organization worked in partnership with SSA’s Office of 

Finance, Assessment and Management regarding the competitive sourcing 

initiative of the President’s Management Agenda to ensure there was no 

undue negative impact on the agency’s human capital and workloads. In 

addition, SSA’s human capital organization has worked closely with 

SSA’s Office of Systems in the construction and implementation of the 

Office of Systems’ major reorganization. The human capital organization 

believes its efforts have ensured the appropriate mix of employees at 

the proper levels, and will result in an efficient systems 

organization.



Agency Leaders Established Entities to Integrate Strategic Human 

Capital Approaches:



Agency leaders established entities, such as human capital councils, 

accountable for integrating human capital approaches with program 

strategies to attain successful program results. Composed of senior 

agency officials, including both program leaders and human capital 

leaders, these groups meet regularly to review the progress of the 

agency’s integration efforts and to make certain that the human capital 

strategies are visible, viable, and remain relevant. Additionally, the 

groups help the agencies monitor whether differences in human capital 

approaches throughout their agencies are well considered, effectively 

contribute to outcomes, and are equitable in their implementation.



IRS, for example, created an entity to ensure a coordinated approach to 

agencywide human capital issues, policies, and strategies. The agency’s 

Human Resource Policy Council (HRPC), which meets monthly for 

approximately half a day, addresses cross-unit human capital issues 

that cannot be resolved at lower levels. It is composed of the Chief 

Human Resource Officer and representatives from each of IRS’s major 

organizations. HRPC is charged with (1) identifying and addressing 

crosscutting human capital issues and emerging human capital 

priorities, (2) ensuring that cross-divisional links are in place and 

operating effectively, (3) making final decisions on all cross-unit 

human capital issues, (4) providing strategic human capital advice and 

recommendations to the Commissioner and his senior staff, and (5) 

addressing the issue of uniformity versus flexibility across divisions 

for human capital policy. HRPC decided, for example, to eliminate 

agencywide restrictions regarding fast-track promotion of IRS managers.



GSA has a similar group, its Human Capital Council. The council, 

created in 2002, meets quarterly and, as shown in table 2, consists of 

human capital leaders, senior executives and officials for the major 

service and staff offices, and representatives of regional 

administrators and deputy regional administrators.



Table 2: GSA Human Capital Council Members:



Agency leaders: Chief Financial Officer; Human capital leaders: Chief 

People Officer.



Agency leaders: Chief Information Officer; Human capital leaders: 

Deputy Chief People Officer.



Agency leaders: Deputy Commissioner, Federal Supply Service; Human 

capital leaders: Director of Human Resources.



Agency leaders: Deputy Commissioner, Public Buildings Service; Human 

capital leaders: Director of Executive Resources.



Agency leaders: Deputy Commissioner, Federal Technology Service; Human 

capital leaders: Director of Information Technology (CPO).



Agency leaders: Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of 

Governmentwide Policy; Human capital leaders: [Empty].



Agency leaders: Regional Administrator, Region 5; Human capital 

leaders: [Empty].



Agency leaders: Deputy Regional Administrator, National Capital Region; 

Human capital leaders: [Empty].



Agency leaders: Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 3; Human capital 

leaders: [Empty].



Source: GSA (data), GAO (presentation).



[End of table]





The council ensures that, among other objectives, the agency’s human 

capital strategic plan is consistent with GSA’s strategic plan. As an 

advocate for human capital initiatives, council members are to ensure 

that activities in the agency reflect the human capital strategic plan. 

Another objective of the group is to assist CPO in setting human 

capital program priorities by assuring that program goals are key 

determinants of the human capital approach. To support future program 

priorities, the council, for example, determined what the GSA 

leadership competencies would be and established the policy and 

requirements for the GSA-wide Advanced Leadership Development Program.



Human Capital Leaders Have Taken Actions to Transform Human Capital 

Organizations:



High-performing organizations treat strategic human capital management 

as fundamental to effective overall management. Human capital leaders 

in such organizations develop human capital organizations that can 

fulfill enlarged roles, such as business partner, human capital expert, 

leader, and change agent, to meet current and future programmatic 

needs.[Footnote 9] For example, agency human capital leaders took 

actions to enlarge the vision of their organizations from being 

providers of largely transaction-based services to ones whose visions 

included integrating human capital approaches in agency plans and 

strategies to successfully accomplish their goals. To align the human 

capital resources with the organizations’ new visions, human capital 

leaders often found it necessary to restructure the organizations. 

Additionally, improving and expanding upon the efficiency of human 

capital systems and technology offers the opportunity to reallocate 

additional resources for strategic purposes. Human capital leaders also 

worked to ensure that the human capital professionals within their 

agencies were prepared, expected, and empowered to provide a range of 

consultative and technical services to their internal customers.



Establishing a Human Capital Strategic Vision:



A human capital strategic vision is crucial in providing a common 

direction across the organization. Agency human capital leaders we 

interviewed envisioned their human capital offices becoming more 

strategically involved with the achievement of agency goals. These 

leaders communicated their visions to employees and took steps to 

institute the organizational changes needed to achieve their visions.



IRS’s former Chief Human Resource Officer believes that IRS’s human 

capital professionals must be champions of change and be totally 

committed to thinking and acting strategically with respect to the 

agency’s broader mission, its people, and the importance of linking the 

two together. According to IRS, to make change on the scale needed to 

enact the vision requires the involvement of management, employees, and 

the employee unions in virtually every aspect of the transformation. To 

obtain employee buy-in, IRS’s human capital organization formed work 

groups to empower its human capital employees to participate in the 

redesign effort.



IRS’s human capital leaders believe the principal contribution of its 

new human capital organization vision and framework is that it provides 

a direct focus on developing new and more flexible ways of managing the 

workforce. For example, IRS has introduced streamlined critical pay 

authority, developed a category rating process, and instituted a 

managerial pay banding system. IRS’s officials stated that these 

actions were undertaken to attract world-class senior leadership and 

technical talent, simplify and accelerate external and internal hiring, 

and support organizational delayering in addition to creating a culture 

of performance and individual accountability. In general, they said the 

innovations provide top management with a strong and direct connection 

between human capital strategies and systems and mission results.



GSA’s Chief People Officer has a vision for GSA’s CPO to become a 

partner in GSA’s business success. To do so, she said that CPO must (1) 

deliver products and services that enable its customers to focus on 

their core business and (2) develop its workforce to be a valued 

business partner. GSA’s Chief People Officer said that before the human 

capital organization can play a bigger role as a business partner it 

must ensure that its transaction-based tasks are accurately and 

efficiently processed and that day-to-day problems, concerns, and needs 

of individual employees that are related to human resources are 

addressed.



To achieve her vision, the Chief People Officer wants to focus more 

time and resources on CPO becoming a business partner by ensuring that 

its transaction-based tasks and advisory activities are completed more 

efficiently. She has placed a high priority on automation and 

information technology as means to reduce costs and make time available 

for the business partner role. She has established a Chief Information 

Officer (CIO) position within GSA’s CPO to support GSA’s human capital 

functions that are increasingly being driven by technology.



The Chief People Officer has shared her vision with agency leadership 

during presentations before GSA’s administrators. In addition, she has 

expressed her vision to program leaders during Human Capital Council 

meetings and has included information on her vision in electronic 

newsletters sent to CPO staff members. The Chief People Officer also 

issues periodic written updates on human capital issues that contain 

information on her vision and related goals.



Restructuring the Human Capital Organization:



Restructuring the human capital organization is an important step that 

is often necessary for the transformation of the human capital 

function. Ideally, this restructuring should help align the 

organization with its revised vision and should position the human 

capital function to move from a reactive, process-oriented, and 

compliance focus to the platform needed to become a proactive, results-

oriented, consulting-oriented strategic partner. When we reported on 

agencies’ initial efforts to restructure their personnel operations in 

1998, we noted that the four departments reviewed generally approached 

the restructuring of their personnel offices with the intent of 

achieving staff reductions.[Footnote 10] Some human capital leaders are 

now focusing less on finding additional internal efficiencies and more 

on replacing stove-piped structures that include separate units for 

functions such as staffing and classification, with more flexible 

structures that support new human capital roles.



The right organizational structure can help human capital organizations 

strategically align with agency objectives and improve the delivery of 

human capital products and services. Although some federal agencies are 

restructuring their human capital organizations along similar lines, 

the right organizational structure depends on the unique 

characteristics of the agency. In a 1999 report, OPM maintained that 

because organizations are starting from different positions, they would 

need to structure their human capital functions based on mission, not 

on a “one size fits all” solution.[Footnote 11] In a similar vein, in 

July 2000 a coalition of individuals representing a wide cross section 

of organizations with an interest in the federal human capital 

community anticipated that a variety of human capital organizational 

structures would form across the federal government.[Footnote 12] The 

coalition predicted that factors such as customer needs and agency 

budgets would design and drive the structure of a particular agency’s 

human capital organization. The report noted, however, that the group 

did expect to see movement away from traditional structures toward more 

flexible arrangements.



In a 2001 National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) report, one 

of the key findings was that human capital organizations were 

restructuring, and the report noted that the emerging organizational 

model appears to consist of three elements: a center of expertise, a 

shared service center, and a strategic consultant component.[Footnote 

13] The center of expertise provides expert technical advice and 

assistance to managers and employees while the shared service center 

processes traditional personnel transactions. The strategic consultant 

component serves as a strategic partner, change agent, and consultant 

to agency managers. The elements in the new structure attempt to 

balance the need for consolidation while still allowing human capital 

professionals to have a direct connection with their customers.



FEMA’s Human Resources Division (HRD) has recently restructured in a 

manner similar to this emerging organizational model. As shown in 

figure 1, FEMA’s new HRD structure contains three branches: an advisory 

services branch, a reconfigured operations branch, and a human capital 

investment branch.



Figure 1: FEMA’s Human Resources Division after Restructuring:



[See PDF for image] 



[End of figure] 



The advisory services branch provides on-site management advisory 

service and support to FEMA directorates, regional offices, divisions, 

and branches. The operations branch handles all staffing and selection, 

classification systems, employee self-service operations, and records 

processing. The human capital investment branch is designed to take the 

lead in FEMA’s strategic human capital planning and policy oversight.



FEMA officials told us that the agency restructured its human capital 

organization to meet the emerging requirements of its strategic 

planning initiatives and to address its inability to respond 

effectively to growing operational demands. Since the restructuring, 

HRD has initiated over 30 projects targeting human capital improvements 

that are aligned to the agency’s strategic plan and the President’s 

Management Agenda. For example, the improvement initiatives included 

determining uniform compensation bands based on staff competencies and 

a series of initiatives focused on improving human capital services 

throughout the agency. Additionally, in connection with its migration 

to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003, FEMA 

identified a set of 17 “matrix/virtual” teams of HRD and agency leaders 

to address key transitional issues.



IRS also restructured its human capital management function with the 

same three elements found in the emerging organizational model. The IRS 

structure includes (1) an embedded human resources organization in each 

business/functional unit, (2) an agencywide shared services 

organization, and (3) a national headquarters strategic human resources 

organization called Strategic Human Resources. Under this arrangement, 

each operating division has its own human capital office “embedded” 

within its division. These embedded human capital offices report to the 

operating division leader and are tasked with formulating, 

implementing, and customizing human capital policies, procedures, and 

strategies to fit the business unit’s unique needs. IRS’s agencywide 

shared services performs an operational mission involving the delivery 

of common products and services to organizations, managers, and 

employees across the agency. Strategic Human Resources develops 

strategic human capital management policies, programs, and strategies 

in collaboration with a council that includes human capital directors 

from the major business units.



Technology Used to Facilitate Change:



Improved efficiencies and economies of transaction-based services 

provide the opportunity for agencies to reallocate resources and enable 

their human capital organizations to meet expanded roles as business 

partners and change agents. However, as we found in our 1998 report on 

agencies’ efforts to restructure personnel operations, agencies need to 

carefully plan and manage the implementation of new technology to fully 

achieve the desired benefits.[Footnote 14]



USGS has developed OARS, which allows its human capital staff to enter 

job vacancies into a centralized database and develop rating and 

ranking criteria by selecting and weighting questions from an extensive 

question library organized by job series. Applicants register and apply 

for vacancies on-line. The system immediately rates, ranks, and scores 

applicants based on their answers to weighted questions, taking into 

account all of the regulations that govern the federal hiring process. 

The list of the best-qualified candidates is provided to the hiring 

manager within several days. USGS’s officials said that OARS has given 

applicants a quick and easy way to apply for jobs, increased the number 

of applicants per vacancy between 40 and 500 percent, dramatically 

reduced the time it takes to fill vacancies, and allowed human capital 

professionals to refocus their efforts from processing to consulting. 

USGS hopes to be able to divert an increasing number of its staff 

members to other strategic efforts as it continues to gain experience 

and efficiencies using OARS.



As mentioned above, GSA has established a CIO for the personnel 

function located within its Chief People Office. The position was 

created several years ago when GSA began developing an information 

technology management system for federal personnel operations. Because 

GSA’s comprehensive human resources integrated system (CHRIS) required 

major systems modification and was intended to serve other federal 

agencies, a senior-level technology position was needed to facilitate 

the effort. According to CPO’s CIO, his role is to evaluate, develop, 

and install systems that support GSA’s human capital technology needs. 

He believes that technology is vital to achieving GSA’s Chief People 

Officer’s goals. He explained that improved technology and automation 

efforts mean less staff time is needed for traditional human capital 

functions, thus allowing the CPO staff members to play bigger roles as 

business partners. However, because most of GSA’s system is fairly new 

or still under development, CPO’s CIO has not reduced resources and 

identified staff savings. In an earlier report, we noted instances 

where agencies eliminated personnel staff before new technology for 

automating personnel transactions was in place. This resulted in delays 

in implementing new personnel and payroll systems.[Footnote 15] 

According to CPO’s CIO, resources reallocation will be accomplished as 

efficiencies are demonstrated. CHRIS is expected to ultimately provide 

self-service to employees and managers, performance management 

capability, integrated training solutions, and succession planning. As 

technology becomes more important to the entire human capital process 

and productivity drives future GSA staffing, the Chief People Officer 

believes that by having the CIO in-house, she has needed input into the 

technology decision making and the capital allocation process for the 

agency.



As the President’s human capital management advisor, OPM has recently 

been given the responsibility of leading five e-Government initiatives 

that are designed to use technology to improve the strategic management 

of the federal workforce. OPM is the managing partner for the 

Recruitment One-Stop, e-Clearance, Enterprise Human Resources 

Integration, e-Training, and e-Payroll initiatives. The e-Payroll 

initiative, for example, is designed to simplify and integrate payroll 

systems across the federal government. OPM and OMB announced on January 

15, 2003, the selection of two payroll partnerships to consolidate 

federal payroll systems and save the federal government an estimated 

$1.2 billion over the next decade. The Enterprise Human Resources 

Integration and e-Clearance initiatives are focused on electronically 

integrating personnel records across the government and reducing the 

delays involved in security clearance processing. The full 

implementation of these two initiatives is scheduled for the end of 

fiscal year 2006.[Footnote 16] OPM envisions that the use of technology 

will help streamline and improve procedures for moving federal 

employees through the employment life cycle by removing redundancies, 

reducing response times, eliminating paperwork, and improving 

coordination among federal agencies.



Changing Roles and Competencies for Human Capital Professionals:



The actions that human capital leaders, and federal agencies in 

general, are taking to improve their integration of human capital 

approaches with their missions are reflected, in part, by a definite 

shift in the roles of human capital professionals throughout the 

federal government. The occupation is in transition from valuing 

narrowly focused specialists to requiring generalists, who have all the 

skills necessary to play an active role in helping to determine the 

overall strategic direction of the organization. As agencies further 

integrate strategic human capital approaches into their strategic 

planning and decision making, investment in the development of new 

competencies for human capital professionals is receiving more 

attention.



OPM published a study in 1999 establishing a statistical profile of the 

human capital profession within the federal government.[Footnote 17] 

The report described the federal human capital community as a cadre of 

experts separated into seven distinct occupational series. One series 

represented the human capital generalist, who typically has a breadth 

of knowledge about personnel issues. The other six categories consisted 

of specialists, such as classifiers and staffing specialists, who 

possess in-depth knowledge in specific human capital areas.[Footnote 

18] The report noted that from 1969 through 1998 there had been a small 

but noticeable shift occurring in the human capital profession away 

from specialist positions to generalist positions. In 1998, generalists 

made up a slight majority of human capital professionals at 53 percent, 

while specialists positions had declined to 47 percent.



Consistent with the changing roles and expectations for human capital 

professionals, this noticeable shift toward human capital generalists 

has accelerated since 1998. As of June 2002, generalists made up 73 

percent of human capital professionals, while specialists had declined 

to 27 percent. Figure 2 shows the dramatic change in the percentage of 

human capital generalists since 1996.



Figure 2: The Federal Human Capital Workforce: Percentage of 

Generalists and Specialists:



[See PDF for image] 



[End of figure] 



A combination of factors appears to have contributed to this shift. 

According to OPM, it was necessitated, to a large degree, by the 

significant downsizing in federal office staffing levels during the 

1990s, which precluded continuing a specialized approach.[Footnote 19] 

In addition, OPM concluded that human capital management as an 

occupation had been undergoing a significant redefinition. For example, 

automation began to greatly affect how human capital products and 

services were delivered. Many agencies began using the Internet or 

their own intranets to educate managers and employees about human 

capital programs and options. OPM also noted in a 1999 report that many 

agencies were beginning to outsource some of their human capital 

services.[Footnote 20] With more efficient ways to deliver products and 

services, human capital professionals could focus on their emerging 

roles as advisors and consultants, which require more generalist 

practitioners able to work across multiple human capital functions.



The advantage to the agencies of this shift was that existing staff 

members could be deployed more flexibly and new staff members could be 

recruited for broader human capital competencies that had less to do 

with specialized procedures than with general human capital knowledge, 

concepts, and principles. In fact, OPM concluded in 2000, based on a 

body of research and evidence, that the human capital occupation was 

truly becoming generalized in nature both inside and outside the 

federal government.[Footnote 21] Although OPM did not find that human 

capital roles had shifted in every agency, it determined that agencies 

needed their human capital staff members to leave behind their roles of 

technical specialists focused on regulatory compliance and to take on 

more consultative roles. This entailed working with managers, 

employees, and their representatives to ensure that human capital 

programs and practices were properly aligned to help the organization 

meet its strategic objectives, while adhering to merit system 

principles and other legal obligations.



To reflect these changes in the federal human capital community, in 

December 2000, OPM issued a new consolidated classification standard 

for the Administrative Work in the Human Resources Management Group. 

OPM expects the agencies to apply the new job family position 

classification standard within a reasonable amount of time of its 

release, as determined by the agency. According to an OPM official, 

agencies are making progress in applying the new standard.



The pressures on human capital professionals to assume new roles 

present a significant learning and development challenge for human 

capital staff members. For human capital professionals to begin acting 

in their new capacities, human capital leaders must ensure that they 

develop the competencies and gain the experience to effectively take on 

the expected roles. Consistent with the changes reflected by OPM’s new 

classification standards, several of the agencies we reviewed have 

developed human capital competency models designed to develop staff 

members who can contribute at the strategic and business partner levels 

as well as design and manage delivery systems, which achieve value-

added services at lower costs.



GSA recognized the vision of its Chief People Officer and the changing 

role of its human resources organization and assembled a team of 

experienced human resources staff members to develop new core 

competences needed by the CPO staff. This group developed GSA’s new 

human capital core competencies needed to support its CPO business 

model and identified five roles that GSA believes its human capital 

community must play successfully to achieve the Chief People Officer’s 

vision and to meet the expectations of the GSA customers. The five 

roles are consultant, leader, technologist, transactional expert, and 

expert. Specific competencies support each role. In addition, GSA uses 

its competency model as a recruiting tool for human resources 

professionals. The model lists desirable attributes for job candidates 

as well as a few suggested interview questions for determining whether 

applicants possess these attributes. Table 3 lists GSA’s HR roles and 

the primary competencies GSA states are essential for success in each 

of the roles.



Table 3: GSA’s HR Roles and Competencies:



Roles: HR consultant; Primary competencies essential for success: --

Knows the mission, culture, and business of customers; --Has applied 

knowledge of customer service; --Communicates effectively; --Is 

innovative and willing to take risks; --Builds partnerships/

relationships; --Has knowledge of HR program, laws, and practices and 

how they contribute to workforce/organizational effectiveness; --

Understands and applies the change process.



Roles: HR leader; Primary competencies essential for success: --Knows 

the mission, culture, and business of customers; --Understands 

organizational and human behavior; --Communicates effectively; --Acts 

professionally and builds trust; --Builds partnerships/relationships; 

--Influences others to take action; --Understands and applies change 

process; --Has knowledge of HR programs, laws, and practices and how 

they contribute to workforce/organizational effectiveness.



Roles: HR technologist; Primary competencies essential for success: --

Understands HR operations and the impact of the systems they develop; -

-Has broad knowledge of trends/technology in automation field, with 

special emphasis on application in HR; --Communicates effectively 

(writing, speaking, and listening, especially with nontechnical 

customers); --Influences others to take action; --Uses technology to 

improve efficiency and service; --Understands and applies change 

process; --Has in-depth knowledge of variety of current automated 

software, tools, systems, and techniques.



Roles: HR transactional expert; Primary competencies essential for 

success: --Knows the mission, culture, and business of customers; --

Communicates effectively; --Is able to work in teams; --Has knowledge 

of relevant HR laws and practices; --Is able to use technology to 

improve efficiency and service; --Has applied knowledge of customer 

service.



Roles: HR expert; Primary competencies essential for success: --Knows 

the mission, culture, and business of customers; --Has applied 

knowledge of customer service; --Communicates effectively; --Builds 

partnerships and relationships; --Has mastered relevant HR laws and 

practices; --Analyzes programs/process and measures results.



Source: GSA (data), GAO (presentation).



[End of table]



USGS’s HR Competency Model also identifies and describes a set of human 

capital competencies that are essential to effective performance in the 

roles and responsibilities of the agency’s human capital office as 

outlined in its business model. USGS’s competency model identifies core 

or universal competencies that USGS human capital staff members need 

and specific competencies that human capital managers, strategic 

consultants, operating specialists and generalists, and assistants 

need. For each competency, the model describes how that competency is 

applied. According to USGS, the competency model is currently being 

used as a tool for self-directed human capital development, and 

portions of the model have been incorporated in the new automated 

skills assessment system. In the future, USGS plans to use the model as 

a basis for recruiting and interviewing candidates, making decisions 

about developmental assignments, and developing the competencies of 

every human capital staff member to think and relate strategically to 

the science mission of USGS. Table 4 lists USGS’s competency 

categories.



Table 4: USGS’s HR Competencies:



Competency categories: Communications; Competencies: Facilitation, 

listening, presentation (formal), oral communications, reading, and 

written communications.



Competency categories: Personal credibility; Competencies: 

Assertiveness, creative thinking, ethics, flexibility, learning, self-

awareness, self-management, stress management, and time management.



Competency categories: Interpersonal skills; Competencies: Conflict 

management, diplomacy, diversity, negotiating/influencing, networking, 

partnering, and; teamwork.



Competency categories: Leadership; Competencies: Change management, 

coaching, decisiveness, integrity/honesty, leadership, political 

savvy, self-esteem, and team building.



Competency categories: Organizational skills; Competencies: External 

awareness, organizational awareness, organizational development, 

performance measurement and improvement, planning and evaluating, 

strategic planning, systems thinking, and vision.



Competency categories: Management; Competencies: Analytical thinking/

reasoning, financial management, human resources management, 

information analysis, problem solving, process management, project 

management, and technology management.



Competency categories: Customer orientation; Competencies: 

Advertising, customer focus, distribution, market analysis, message 

development, message packaging, and product knowledge.



Competency categories: Technical; Competencies: Attention to detail; HR 

automation, HR laws, regulations, and policies; information management 

research methods and techniques, and technology application.



Source: USGS data.



[End of table]



Joint Actions Result in Shared Accountability:



As the role of the human capital organization evolves to include 

serving the individual employee and helping to achieve the 

organization’s strategic objectives, the accountability for human 

capital management is increasingly being shared by top management, line 

managers, and human capital professionals. Successful organizations, 

according to our Model of Strategic Human Capital Management, include 

human capital professionals acting together with agency leaders and 

line managers in developing strategic and program plans to accomplish 

agency goals. Through this joint action, agency and human capital 

leaders and their staffs share accountability for successfully 

integrating strategic human capital approaches into the planning and 

decision making of the agency.



Assuming Shared Accountability for Achieving Program Goals:



Agency and human capital leaders, human capital professionals, and line 

managers share responsibility for achieving agency programmatic and 

human capital goals, and they ultimately share accountability for 

effective, legally compliant human capital management. According to 

OPM, agencies have delegated more key human capital authorities to line 

managers.[Footnote 22] In a recent report, we highlighted the 

importance of delegating authority and holding line managers 

accountable for the effective use of human capital flexibilities, 

important tools that assist agencies in managing their 

workforces.[Footnote 23] Agencies are also following a more 

collaborative approach between managers and human capital professionals 

for those human capital authorities retained by the human capital staff 

members. Additionally, more agency and human capital leaders are 

linking human capital policies and practices to organizational outcomes 

and expecting more collaboration between line managers and human 

capital professionals.



IRS, for example, has dispersed human capital professionals throughout 

the agency’s divisions to help apply strategic thinking to each 

operating division’s unique interest. Human capital staff members are 

responsible for advising operating division managers on how to best 

apply human capital strategy to improve results. The human capital 

professional may have responsibility, for example, for assisting 

managers in anticipating changes in the labor market and recommending 

strategies for sustaining a well-qualified and productive workforce. 

The operating division managers are responsible for rating the 

performance of the human capital professionals working with them. 

According to IRS officials, some of the benefits of the shared 

accountability of human capital professionals working with operating 

division managers have included customized support for recruitment 

plans and hiring products and a facilitated merit promotion process.



FEMA line managers and human capital staff members have developed a 

system where the human capital staff works with line managers to 

quickly identify available employees for deployment as soon as 

disasters are declared. FEMA employs approximately 2,600 full-time 

employees and as many as 4,000 temporary and reserve employees who are 

deployed during federal disasters. In response to this need, the human 

capital office has implemented the Automated Disaster Deployment 

System. This automated system allows the staff to track employee 

credentialing (including knowledge and experience levels and 

performance ratings), availability, past and present assignment 

locations, dates of employment, and other vital employee data. 

According to FEMA officials, the system enables human capital staff and 

line managers to share accountability for identifying employee training 

and promotion needs, matching employee expertise with specific disaster 

site victim needs, and creating a selection routine that rotates 

available employees, thereby avoiding employee burnout. The process has 

reduced the time necessary to complete the staffing review and 

selection from days to hours. Additionally, centralized deployment 

provides a dedicated staff that acts upon all deployment requests 

within 3 hours.



Increasing Role for Line Managers in Human Capital Management:



Line managers have always played a key role in human capital 

management. They interact with, teach, evaluate, reward, develop, and 

promote employees from the day they join an organization. According to 

OPM, many agencies are now pursuing the strategy of delegating key 

human capital authorities to managers thereby making the delegated 

authorities within the agency shared responsibilities of the manager 

and the human capital staff.[Footnote 24] SSA officials, for example, 

described how responsibility for recruiting new employees is now shared 

between human capital professionals and line managers. SSA involves 

agency line managers in the preliminary recruiting determinations and 

has human capital professionals take over in the final, technical 

stages.



Some agencies have developed tools and services to help line managers 

assume more human capital authority. Within our selected agencies, SSA, 

for example, has a link on its Office of Personnel Web site that 

contains, “Information for Managers.” The Web site presents a myriad of 

information, from addressing poor performance to life resources 

counseling. GSA’s CPO has issued a supervisory desk guide to provide 

supervisors with basic information on human capital topics. The desk 

reference guide provides an overview of personnel and administrative 

practices and procedures that supervisors should know. According to the 

guide, it is not meant to make supervisors into personnel experts or 

provide the answers to all personnel-related or administrative 

questions. The guide is meant to give supervisors basic information on 

topics such as internal and external recruitment, pay flexibilities, 

and worker’s compensation that will enable them to handle most 

situations and to provide references and contacts for more information.



Conclusions:



As agencies integrate their human capital strategies with their 

organizational missions, visions, core values, goals, and objectives, 

they are increasingly recognizing how human capital activities 

contribute to achieving missions and goals. Congress has recognized 

this through recent legislation creating a chief human capital officer 

position in major agencies. Effective human capital integration efforts 

require the cooperation of management and employees throughout the 

organization. All members of an organization must understand the 

rationale for making organizational and cultural changes because 

everyone has a stake in helping to implement the initiatives as part of 

the agency’s efforts to meet current and future challenges.



In this report, we have identified actions agencies have taken to 

improve their integration of strategic human capital approaches with 

their strategies for accomplishing organizational missions and goals. 

Agency leaders included human capital leaders in key agency strategic 

planning and decision making. Human capital leaders transformed the 

agencies’ human capital organizations to better enable them to add 

value to the strategic activities of the agencies. Working together, 

agency leaders and human capital leaders have employed human capital 

professionals and agency line managers to share accountability for 

successfully integrating strategic human capital considerations into 

agency planning and decision making.



As agencies take action to enhance their ability to meet organizational 

goals by linking their human capital activities with their strategic 

planning and decision making, agencies can consider the initiatives we 

identified. However, each federal agency will have to consider the 

applicability of specific actions to be taken within the context of its 

own mission, needs, and culture.



Agency Comments:



We provided a draft of this report to the Director of OPM and to 

cognizant officials from the individual agencies we visited. OPM and 

five of the six agencies provided comments on the draft report. All 

generally agreed with the information presented.



Two of the agencies and OPM provided written technical comments to 

clarify specific points regarding the information presented. Where 

appropriate, we have made changes to reflect those technical comments. 

In other cases, agencies provided additional examples of actions they 

had taken to integrate human capital approaches to attain mission 

results. OPM noted that the results of the agency initiatives have not 

been evaluated, which is an important next step for agencies to take, 

but was not within the scope of this report. USCG noted that they had 

no comments on the report.



:



We will send copies of this report to appropriate congressional 

committees, the federal agencies and offices discussed in this report, 

and the Directors of OPM and OMB. We will also make copies available to 

others upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no 

charge on the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov.



If you have any questions about this report, please contact me or 

William Doherty on (202) 512-6806 or on mihmj@gao.gov and 

dohertyw@gao.gov. The major contributors to this report were Clifton G. 

Douglas, Jr. and Judith Kordahl. Mark Braza, Matthew Tropiano, and 

Laura Turman also made key contributions.



Signed by:



J. Christopher Mihm

Director, Strategic Issues:



Signed by J. Christopher Mihm:



[End of section]



Appendixes:



Appendix I: Objective, Scope, and Methodology:



Our objective in this self-initiated review was to identify examples of 

key actions that agencies have taken to integrate their human capital 

approaches with agency strategies for achieving mission objectives.



To address our objective, we identified and focused on six federal 

agencies that were integrating their human capital approaches. We 

analyzed agency documents, such as planning and organizational 

restructuring documents, and previous studies on strategic human 

capital management. In addition, we conducted semistructured interviews 

with agency officials, human resources directors, and line managers 

from our selected agencies that were involved in designing or 

implementing their agencies’ human capital integration actions. We 

elicited their experiences and conclusions about the agency actions 

they believed were most important to the successful integration of 

their human capital functions. After reviewing and analyzing their 

responses, we developed a framework to classify and report on the types 

of actions identified. We did not attempt to independently verify the 

performance results that agencies attributed to their actions.



To select the agencies we reviewed, we first held discussions with 

human capital experts from American University, the Center for Policy 

Implementation, George Washington University, and the National Academy 

of Public Administration. We asked these experts to identify federal 

agencies that they believed had taken actions to improve the 

integration of their strategic human capital management functions. We 

also reviewed our High-Risk Series, the Federal Managers’ Survey, and 

other documents for examples of federal agency integration efforts not 

identified by the human capital experts.[Footnote 25] In addition, we 

considered the size, mission, and type of workforce of the pool of 

identified agencies to get a variation of federal agency experiences. 

We selected six agencies--the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the 

General Services Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the 

Social Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. 

Geological Survey--to identify examples of human capital integration 

actions. Our selection process was not designed to provide examples 

that could be considered representative of all the actions at the 

agencies reviewed or of the federal government in general. By profiling 

an agency for a particular action, we do not mean to imply complete 

success for the action or lack of success for others.



We conducted our work from February 2002 through January 2003 in 

accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.



(450099):



FOOTNOTES



[1] U.S. General Accounting Office, Management Reform: Agencies’ 

Initial Efforts to Restructure Personnel Operations, GAO/GGD-98-93 

(Washington, D.C.: July 13, 1998).



[2] Title XIII of Pub. L. 107-296, Nov. 25, 2002, Chief Human Capital 

Officer’s Act of 2002.



[3] Congress has designated FEMA and USCG part of the new Department of 

Homeland Security (Pub. L.107-296, Nov. 25, 2002).



[4] See, for example, Thomas R. Connolly, et al. “Transforming Human 

Resources,” Management Review, June 1997.



[5] U.S. General Accounting Office, Human Capital: A Self-Assessment 

Checklist for Agency Leaders, GAO/OCG-00-14G (Washington, D.C.: 

September 2000).



[6] U.S. General Accounting Office, A Model of Strategic Human Capital 

Management, GAO-02-373SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2002).



[7] U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Merit Systems 

Oversight and Effectiveness, Strategic Human Resources Management: 

Aligning with the Mission (Washington, D.C.: September 1999).



[8] U.S. General Accounting Office, Coast Guard: Strategy Needed for 

Setting and Monitoring Levels of Effort for All Missions, GAO-03-155 

(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 12, 2002). 



[9] U.S. Office of Personnel Management, An Occupation in Transition: A 

Comprehensive Study of the Federal Human Resources Community, Part 3, 

The HR Workforce: Meeting the Challenge of Change, MSE-99-7 

(Washington, D.C.: January 2000).



[10] GAO/GGD-98-93.



[11] U.S. Office of Personnel Management, An Occupation in Transition: 

A Comprehensive Study of the Federal Human Resources Community, Part 2, 

Looking to the Future: Human Resources Competencies, MSE-99-6 

(Washington, D.C.: September 1999).



[12] A Coalition on the Future of the Federal Human Resource Management 

Profession, A Call to Action (Washington, D.C.: September 2000).



[13] National Academy of Public Administration, Changes in the Human 

Resources Function Since 1996: Implications for Federal HR Competencies 

(Washington, D.C.: March 2001).



[14] GAO/GGD-98-93.



[15] GAO/GGD-98-93.



[16] U.S. General Accounting Office, Electronic Government: Selection 

and Implementation of the Office of Management and Budget’s 24 

Initiatives, GAO-03-229 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 22, 2002).



[17] U.S. Office of Personnel Management, An Occupation in Transition: 

A Comprehensive Study of the Federal Human Resources Community, Part 1, 

Federal Human Resources Employment Trends, MSE-99-5 (Washington, D.C.: 

September 1999). 



[18] We use the term “human capital specialist” throughout the report 

to denote a human capital professional who focuses on a specific area. 

It does not refer to an occupation title.



[19] Human Resource Management Council, Transmittal MSG-083b, Appendix 

H--Historical Record and Explanatory Material (Washington, D.C.: 2000).



[20] U.S. Office of Personnel Management, An Occupation in Transition: 

A Comprehensive Study of the Federal Human Resources Community, Part 2.



[21] Human Resource Management Council.



[22] U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Merit Systems 

Oversight and Effectiveness, HRM Accountability System Development 

Guide (Washington, D.C.: December 1998).



[23] U.S. General Accounting Office, Human Capital: Effective Use of 

Flexibilities Can Assist Agencies in Managing Their Workforces, GAO-03-

2 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 6, 2002).



[24] U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Merit Systems 

Oversight and Effectiveness, HRM Accountability System Development 

Guide.



[25] See, for example, U.S. General Accounting Office, High-Risk 

Series: An Update, GAO-01-263 (Washington, D.C.: January 2001), and 

National Academy of Public Administration, Changes in Human Resources 

Competencies Since 1996: Implications for Federal HR Professionals 

(Washington, D.C.: March 2001). 



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	Fax: (202) 512-6061:



To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs:



Contact:



Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov



Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470:



Public Affairs:



Jeff Nelligan, managing director, NelliganJ@gao.gov (202) 512-4800 U.S.



General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149 Washington, D.C.



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