Managing for Results:

Building on the Momentum for Strategic Human Capital Reform

GAO-02-528T: Published: Mar 18, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 2002.

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J. Christopher Mihm
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This testimony discusses the federal government's human capital challenges. The basic problem has been a longstanding lack of a consistent strategic approach to marshalling, managing, and maintaining the government's human capital needs. To overcome this problem, GAO has developed a model of strategic human capital management that highlights the importance of a sustained commitment by agency leaders to maximize the value of their workforce. The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget have developed tools to assess human capital management efforts that are conceptually consistent with GAO's model. GAO's model emphasizes two central principles. First, people are assets whose value can be enhanced through investment. As with any investment, the goal is to maximize value while managing risk. Second, an organization's human capital approaches should be designed, implemented, and assessed by how well they help pursue its mission and achieve desired results. GAO has also identified a preliminary list of key practices that will enable agencies to acquire, develop, and retain talent. Successful organizational change depends on a willingness by agency leaders to embrace strategic human capital management and related change management approaches.

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