Federal Work Force Planning:

Time for Renewed Emphasis

FPCD-81-4: Published: Dec 30, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 30, 1980.

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Workforce planning encompasses those management activities which determine an agency's workforce requirements and staffing needs. Its primary purpose is to provide management with sound data to make informed workforce requirements and staffing management decisions and to provide the basis for the development and justification of an agency's personnel budget. GAO undertook a study on some of the primary factors that tend to inhibit the development and use of sound workforce planning procedures and techniques by the federal departments and agencies. Additionally, it identified several research efforts and recent proposals that need special management attention to improve the level and quality of workforce planning.

GAO found that one of the strongest and most consistent reasons agencies do not use workforce planning procedures is that the budget development and review process does not give appropriate consideration to the nature and extent of justification used in the personnel portions of agency budgets. Additionally, the absence of comprehensive policy, regulations, and standards governing or guiding agencies on workforce planning contributes to management's limited commitment. Other factors inhibiting the development and use of comprehensive work force planning include: (1) the apparent confusion regarding the definition, scope, and components of workforce planning and the sequence and cycle of planning tasks; (2) personnel constraints, such as personnel ceilings, average grade controls, and hiring and promotion freezes; (3) the slow progress in developing work and productivity measurement systems; (4) the unclear cost-benefit relationship with the development and use of a total workforce planning capability; and (5) the limited extent to which most agencies have developed integrated management information systems and have close operating relationships between principal management groups.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Directors of OMB and OPM should jointly develop a workforce planning policy and procedures that: (1) clarify the meaning and scope of workforce planning and provide descriptions of total planning systems, by identifying the respective components and the basic sequence and cycle of planning tasks; and (2) designate the methods, procedures, and techniques that can be used in manpower requirements determination and staff needs analysis.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Directors of OMB and OPM should jointly develop a workforce planning policy and procedures that: (1) clarify the meaning and scope of workforce planning and provide descriptions of total planning systems, by identifying the respective components and the basic sequence and cycle of planning tasks; and (2) designate the methods, procedures, and techniques that can be used in manpower requirements determination and staff needs analysis.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Directors of OMB and OPM should jointly develop a federal workforce policy and procedures that establishes the respective responsibilities of the Directors and establishes workforce planning as a primary basis for manpower and personnel management decisions in the government.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Directors of OMB and OPM should jointly develop a federal workforce policy and procedures that establishes the respective responsibilities of the Directors and establishes workforce planning as a primary basis for manpower and personnel management decisions in the government.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Directors of OMB and OPM should jointly develop a special federal management improvement project, based on the proposed workforce planning policy and procedures, be designed and implemented at selected federal facilities. This project should be isolated from the traditional impediments to work force planning, such as the use of personnel ceilings, average grade controls, hiring and promotion freezes, and across-the-board budget adjustments. It should have its objectives clearly established, have an evaluation plan, and be properly funded and staffed.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Directors of OMB and OPM should jointly develop a special federal management improvement project, based on the proposed workforce planning policy and procedures, be designed and implemented at selected federal facilities. This project should be isolated from the traditional impediments to work force planning, such as the use of personnel ceilings, average grade controls, hiring and promotion freezes, and across-the-board budget adjustments. It should have its objectives clearly established, have an evaluation plan, and be properly funded and staffed.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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