Government Printing Office:

Advancing GPO's Transformation Effort through Strategic Human Capital Management

GAO-04-85: Published: Oct 20, 2003. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2003.

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The Government Printing Office (GPO) has undertaken the task of transforming itself in response to pressing fiscal and other realities in the 21st century. This report focuses on actions GPO's leaders can take to advance its transformation efforts through strategic human capital management and is a part of GAO's response to a congressional request that GAO conduct a general management review of GPO that focuses on issues related to GPO's management and transformation. GAO plans to address other management topics, including strategic planning and financial management, in a series of reports that may assist GPO in its ongoing transformation efforts.

The Public Printer has demonstrated the leadership commitment that is essential to transforming GPO, stating that GPO is going to have to reengineer itself to remain relevant and viable for the future. Under the Public Printer's direction, GPO has taken several steps that recognize the important role strategic human capital management plays in its transformation. For example, GPO created and filled the position of Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), shifted the focus of existing training and expanded opportunities for more staff to attend needed training, enhanced recruitment strategies, and initiated a process to develop an agency strategic plan and an accompanying strategic workforce plan. To sustain its transformation efforts, GPO's leadership needs to ensure that managers throughout the agency appreciate the importance of their role in managing GPO's workforce and helping transform the agency. Furthermore, now that GPO has hired a CHCO, it can begin to restructure its human resources office to better support its transformation by adopting a more strategic view of human capital management and by having human resources officials work collaboratively with GPO managers. To further support its transformation, GPO should use strategic workforce planning to help ensure that its staff has the skills needed to meet emerging needs. A workforce plan that includes both an inventory of current GPO employees' knowledge and skills and an identification of the knowledge and skills GPO needs in the future will best support GPO's transformation. Finally, a modern, effective, and credible performance management system can help GPO facilitate the transformation process and serve as the basis for establishing individuals' roles and accountability in the transformation. Performance management can also help GPO achieve results, accelerate change, and facilitate two-way communication between managers and employees. GAO makes numerous recommendations to GPO on the steps it should take to strengthen its human capital management in support of its transformation. These recommendations can guide GPO as it seeks to meet the changing and emerging information needs of its customers. The focus of GAO's recommendations is on the following four interrelated areas: communicating the role of managers in GPO's transformation; strengthening the role of the human resources office; developing a strategic workforce plan to ensure GPO has the skills and knowledge it needs for the future; and using a strategic performance management system to drive change. By implementing the recommendations in these four areas, GPO can build the strong human capital foundation needed to reinforce the transformation now under way.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Data collected from GPO indicated that GPO did not fully address this recommendation. Specifically, when requested to provide evidence that GPO had maintained continuity during its leadership transition, GPO stated that in 2006 GPO published an article in its employee newsletter, Typeline, detailing the stages of GPO's transformation and offering information on dealing with workplace changes as a result of the transformation process. This evidence in not sufficient support to close this recommendation as implemented.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should maintain continuity during leadership transitions by focusing on a broad set of programmatic priorities.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Although GPO has not held any town hall meetings since GAO completed its reviews in October 2004, GPO has taken action to clearly define and communicate to the human capital professionals, as well as throughout GPO, that the role of the Human Resources Office is to partner with the other units within GPO to achieve the agency's mission. The GPO Human Capital Office's Strategic Plan emphasizes collaboration between human capital professionals and line managers to transform GPO's culture and enhance mission effectiveness. Also, the Human Capital Office has initiated mini-town halls with the supervisors of each department. These sessions provide short descriptions of the services offered by Human Capital, with an extensive question and answer portion wherein supervisors' specific needs can be addressed. Further, GPO's human capital office surveys GPO program managers to get input on how well it is communicating about its role in supporting the business unit's goals and objectives.

    Recommendation: Together, the Public Printer and the CHCO should clearly define and communicate to the human capital professionals, as well as throughout GPO, that the role of the Human Resources Office is to partner with the other units within GPO to achieve the agency's mission. The town hall meetings initiated by the Public Printer are one forum in which this type of communication can happen. It should be made clear that agency and human capital leaders, human capital professionals, and line managers share responsibility for advancing agency programmatic and human capital goals.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that, as the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) begins his efforts, he can build on the Human Resources Office's ongoing efforts to streamline operations and employ technology to meet customer needs and free organization resources that can be redeployed for strategic purposes. We recommended that the CHCO further explore how technological advances can provide opportunities to better serve managers and free organizational resources that can be redeployed for strategic purposes. According to GPO, in response to our recommendation, in 2006 GPO developed an in-house, web-based tool to automate the employee quarterly performance reviews in order to better serve managers and free up organizational resources for strategic purposes. The Human Capital Office is also investigating the possible use of a fully automated performance management system with the expectation to conduct a pilot in fiscal year 2008. GPO also introduced the use of online, accessible status reports of personnel actions so that managers can track progress and address bottlenecks. In addition, GPO is currently working to implement the Empower HR human resources information system (HRIS). Also, the CHCO's performance plan includes a requirement to foster continuous process improvement, including the exploration of new technology for human capital that will streamline work and better serve managers.

    Recommendation: To further the integration of human capital with GPO's stratgies for transformation and mission accomplishment, the CHCO should further explore how technological advances can provide opportunities to better serve managers and free organizational resources that can be redeployed for strategic purposes.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that GPO managers expressed concerns about the Human Resources Office's ability to respond to increased demand for support due to divisional reorganizations and transformation-related initiatives on the horizon. In addition, some managers questioned whether the Human Resources Office had sufficient staff with the competencies needed to effectively serve as advisors to and partners with senior leaders and managers. We recommended that the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) ensure that human capital professionals have the skills needed to implement the Human Resources Office's mission, thereby helping to achieve the goals of the Human Resources Office and the agency as a whole. This will include providing necessary training for current human capital professionals and hiring new human capital professionals with the appropriate skills to help implement the Human Resources Office's mission. In 2007 GPO reported that, in response to our recommendation, human capital professionals serving on the operating team had formal training and have acquired skills in staffing, wage grade examining, position classification and managements, employee relations, basic employee benefits, processing personnel actions, performance management, and reduction-in-force procedures. All specialists on GPO's consultative team are certified to perform OPM Delegated Examining. Human capital professionals are also placed on an individual development plan for targeted development with the purpose of acquiring skills in other areas of human resources.

    Recommendation: To further the integration of human capital with GPO's stratgies for transformation and mission accomplishment, the CHCO should ensure that human capital professionals have the skills needed to implement the Human Resources Office's mission, thereby helping to achieve the goals of the Human Resources Office and the agency as a whole. This will include providing necessary training for current human capital professionals and hiring new human capital professionals with the appropriate skills to help implement the Human Resources Office's mission.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GPO's Human Resources Office faces substantial challenges given the many changes accompanying GPO's transformation. To further the integration of human capital with GPO's strategies for transformation, GAO recommended that the Human Resources Office consider how to align itself with the strategic vision and best achieve integration of GPO's human capital approaches and mission strategies. GAO also emphasized that the Human Resources Office not focus solely on routine processing and compliance issues, but includes strategic human capital planning in its daily operations. GPO concurred with GAO's recommendation and the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) realigned the HR office by adopting a team approach, which makes a group of employees responsible for all work with a customer and ensures accountability for meeting customer needs. As of February/March 2004, Human Resources now consists of dedicated teams, each responsible for a particular GPO division. The team approach facilitates an environment where Human Capital professionals can work strategically with GPO's line managers to integrate human capital approaches in the GPO's mission strategies.

    Recommendation: To further the integration of human capital with GPO's stratgies for transformation and mission accomplishment, the CHCO should consider how to organize the Human Resources Office to align it with the strategic vision and best achieve integration of GPO's human capital approaches and mission strategies. One potential approach used successfully in other federal agencies is to integrate human capital professionals throughout the agency's operational divisions. Each of these human capital professionals reports to a particular operating division leader and is tasked with implementing and customizing human capital policies, procedures, and strategies to fit the division's unique needs

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The CHCO has taken action to strengthen communication between human capital officials and program managers to enhance the understanding of how they can work together to achieve organizational goals. Specifically, the CHCO has begun the process of routinely soliciting feedback from GPO managers to identify how the Human Resources Office can best meet managers' needs and help them uphold federal merit principles. Human capital office teams meet regularly with their Business Unit management to communicate, discuss, share, and resolve problems in an effort to create and maintain a strong collaborative focus and culture. GPO Business Units are surveyed regarding their level of satisfaction with the transformed Human Capital Office and asked for suggestions as part of GPO's effort at continuous process improvement.

    Recommendation: To further the integration of human capital with GPO's stratgies for transformation and mission accomplishment, the CHCO should strengthen communication between human capital officials and program managers to enhance the understanding of how they can work together to achieve organizational goals. As a key part of strengthening communication, the CHCO should routinely solicit the feedback of GPO managers to identify how the Human Resources Office can best meet managers' needs and help them uphold federal merit principles.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that GPO's new Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) has the opportunity to transform GPO's Human Resources Office into one that integrates GPO's human capital approaches with strategies for achieving programmatic results. As stated in the report, the new CHCO realized that this transformation is critical to the success of GPO's strategic human capital efforts and told us that his vision for the Human Resources Office includes human capital professionals working strategically with GPO's line managers to integrate the human capital function throughout the agency. We recommended that the CHCO should establish a human capital strategic vision and a mission for the Human Resources Office, and define goals and expectations for human capital professionals as well as the Human Resources Office that can be used to hold human capital professionals accountable. In 2006 GPO reported that, as a result of our recommendation, a human capital strategic plan has been developed to include a mission for the human resources office and a human capital strategic vision. In addition, the CHCO has stated that GPO has developed performance plans for each human capital manager, generalist, and assistant with specific and measurable goals and objectives. Additionally, in June 2008, GPO reported that the GPO Strategic Human Capital Framework, a working draft document developed in 2005, details six human resource dimensions with corresponding critical objectives and performance indicators for each dimension in order to measure the Human Capital Office's progress in accomplishing goals.

    Recommendation: To further the integration of human capital with GPO's stratgies for transformation and mission accomplishment, the CHCO should establish a human capital strategic vision, and a mission for the Human Resources and define goals and expectations for human capital professionals as well as the Human Resources Office that can be used to hold human capital professionals accountable.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that GPO's Human Resources Office had been focusing more on processing transactions rather than strategically managing human capital to help achieve results. Specifically, program managers viewed the Human Resources Office's assistance, such as filling recruitment needs and providing requested employee data, as positive but very limited and falling far short of their expectations for assistance. We recommended that the Public Printer communicate clearly that the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) should create a Human Resources Office that is not solely focused on routine processing and compliance issues but is also focused on strategic human capital planning and management. In June 2008, GPO reported that, in response to our recommendation, GPO created the Organizational Effectiveness Group within the human capital office to concentrate on strategic human capital goals such as benchmarking, goal based performance management, conducting employee surveys, workforce planning, and improving the selection and validation process. GPO's vision for this group is "to be recognized as a strategic business partner in the development, implementation, and evaluation of cutting edge ideas and practical solutions to transform GPO's culture and improve organizational effectiveness." Recently, the Organizational Effectiveness Group has organized and administered the 2006 Employee Survey, organized business units' response to the 2006 Employee Survey, and developed the upcoming 2008 Employee Survey.

    Recommendation: To enhance the role of strategic human capital in support of GPO's transformation efforts, the Public Printer should communicate clearly that the CHCO should create a Human Resources Office that is not solely focused on routine processing and compliance issues but is also focused on strategic human capital planning and management.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that GPO's hiring of a Chief Human Capital Officer creates the opportunity for GPO leadership and human capital leaders to work together to strengthen the role of human capital and ensure that it will be integrated with strategies for accomplishing GPO's mission and program goals. Our recommendation stated that this may involve a number of steps, such as establishing a strategic vision for the Human Resources Office and ensuring that human capital professionals have the competencies needed to collaborate with GPO's managers. Specifically, we recommended that the Public Printer establish an entity, such as a human capital council, that is accountable for integrating human capital approaches with strategies for achieving programmatic goals. The group's members should include both program managers and human capital professionals. As GPO develops and implements its strategic plan and human capital plan, the group can help ensure that the plans are integrated. The final result should be a Human Resources Office that helps integrate human capital approaches with GPO's program strategies throughout the organization by working in partnership with managers of all divisions. In March 2007, GPO reported that, in response to our recommendation, GPO has used its existing Management Council meetings, comprised of key senior agency leaders including human capital professionals, to address a broad range of human capital strategies, policies, and practices, which have become a regular part of the meeting's agenda.

    Recommendation: To enhance the role of strategic human capital in support of GPO's transformation efforts, the Public Printer should establish an entity, such as a human capital council, that is accountable for integrating human capital approaches with strategies for achieving programmatic goals. The group's members should include both program managers and human capital professionals. As GPO develops and implements its strategic plan and human capital plan, the group can help ensure that the plans are integrated.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our work and that of others has shown that, over the past decade, high-performing organizations have increasingly adopted a strategic view of human capital management in helping to achieve organizational missions and program goals. GAO found that GPO's Human Resources office lacked a strategic focus and has the opportunity to work with GPO leadership to strengthen the role of human capital and ensure that it will be integrated with strategies for accomplishing GPO's mission and program goals. To that end, GAO recommended that the Public Printer include human capital leaders in agency strategic planning and decision making to acknowledge a commitment to strategically managing GPO's people and create the expectation that human capital managers will contribute to the success of the transformation efforts. The Public Printer concurred with GAO's recommendation and has taken action to support the transformation by including Human Capital leadership in agency strategic planning and decision making. Specifically, the Public Printer has put in place a senior management team, referred to as the management council, which includes the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) and other lead management. The majority of the management council's time is devoted to long-term, transformational activities. The CHCO is also part of a second management team, referred to as the operations council, which meets weekly with the COO and has the opportunity to communicate and identify crosscutting issues affecting his or her unit's operations with other council members.

    Recommendation: To enhance the role of strategic human capital in support of GPO's transformation efforts, the Public Printer should include human capital leaders in agency strategic planning and decision making. Involving these leaders as full partners would acknowledge both the commitment of the Public Printer to strategically managing GPO's people and create the expectation that human capital professionals will contribute to organizational success.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that follow-up action on GPO's employee climate survey, conducted in February 2003, has been slow. Planned focus groups with employees to discuss the findings and develop actions that could be taken to address some of the issues raised by the survey results were delayed until the new Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) was hired to ensure that the follow-up and the implementation of any recommendations resulting from the survey received the appropriate level of attention. We recommended that the CHCO follow up on the completed employee climate survey by holding focus groups that work to develop recommended solutions to issues raised in the survey results, including adjustments to GPO's transformation and human capital approaches. While GPO has not made use of focus groups, it has initiated programs that address the spirit of this recommendation. For example, GPO's 2006 employee survey identified that GPO employees desired more opportunities for creativity and innovation. In response, GPO's Human Capital Office pilot tested a "Pitch Day" in March. This program 2008, which is part of a larger idea management program, has been approved for further development by the Public Printer and senior leadership. In addition, GPO managers meet on a monthly basis to discuss the initiatives being planned and implemented to address issues revealed in the 2006 employee survey. These initiatives include efforts to recognize employees for training accomplishments, promoting GPO career opportunities using work/life tools such as time off awards, and increasing communication between departments by holding cross-functional meetings.

    Recommendation: GPO's leaders have communicated a clear message about the need to transform GPO. To build on their progress by strengthening two-way communications and employee involvement, the Public Printer should in addition, the CHCO should follow up on the completed employee climate survey by holding focus groups that work to develop recommended solutions to issues raised in the survey results, including adjustments to GPO's transformation and human capital approaches.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that establishing a performance expectation that holds managers accountable for the effective management of people can help clarify the roles of managers and further demonstrate leadership's commitment to human capital management. We recommended that the Public Printer ensure that managers are held accountable, through GPO's performance management system and other mechanisms, for effectively managing people and leading change. According to GPO, in response to our recommendation, between 2004 and 2006 a pay for performance system was implemented based on the achievement of both agency-wide and business unit-specific goals and objectives. Effective in fiscal year 2006, this performance management approach has been applied to all GPO supervisors and managers. GPO reported in 2008 that all senior level service (SLS) employees' performance agreements include a series of core commitments which hold managers accountable for effectively managing people and leading change. The core commitments include, for example, a commitment to develop and maintain a current vision, value and mission statement and communicate that information with the manager's organization as well as a commitment to using relevant business best practices to drive business decisions. Additionally, SLS employees are required to respond to employee survey findings by reinforcing positive findings and implementing corrective action for deficiencies. If these commitments are not met, SLS employees are ineligible for performance awards.

    Recommendation: GPO's leaders have communicated a clear message about the need to transform GPO. To build on their progress by strengthening two-way communications and employee involvement, the Public Printer should ensure that managers are held accountable, through GPO's performance management system and other mechanisms, for effectively managing people and leading change.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that, although GPO's leaders have communicated a clear message about the need to transform the agency, we found that GPO's managers did not consistently understand the roles they should play in the transformation. We recommended that the Public Printer communicate with managers about their roles in strengthening GPO's human capital management in support of mission needs. GPO leadership should continue to hold town hall meetings and use the Employee Communication Office to reach out to employees and engage them in a two-way exchange so that they understand how they may be able to help with the transformation. GPO reported in 2007 that, in response to our recommendation, GPO's Employee Communications Office had a very successful leadership town hall with all supervisors and managers and launched an all manager electronic publication, entitled Leaders' Update, to maintain ongoing communication between all managers and human capital. Focus groups and surveys indicated that managers are highly satisfied with this publication, scoring it 7.9 on a usefulness scale of 0-10. In addition, in 2006 GPO stated that in response to our recommendation the Employee Communications Office consolidated communication channels to better reach all employees, created channels to provide supervisors with information to discuss with employees, solicits feedback via an ongoing weekly survey, holds communication training for supervisors as part of the Transformation Leadership program, developed visual communication tools and training for managers to communicate key concepts of the transformation in Town Hall and small group discussions, and holds quarterly communication planning sessions with division leadership teams.

    Recommendation: GPO's leaders have communicated a clear message about the need to transform GPO. To build on their progress by strengthening two-way communications and employee involvement, the Public Printer should communicate with managers about their roles in strengthening GPO's human capital management in support of mission needs. GPO leadership should continue to hold town hall meetings and use the Employee Communication Office to reach out to employees and engage them in a two-way exchange so that they understand how they may be able to help with the transformation.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that GPO leadership can build on its experiences in using management and employee task forces and on the interest and support shown by managers and employees in previous task forces by involving them in workforce planning. Involving GPO employees in strategic workforce planning can build support and foster a clear understanding of how managers and employees can contribute to the overall transformation of GPO by doing their part to help develop and implement human capital approaches. As such, we recommended that the Public Printer and the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) involve staff in all phases of workforce planning to help improve the quality of the plan and build support needed to successfully implement it. Specifically, GPO should 1) ensure that top management sets the overall direction and goals of workforce planning, (2) involves employees and other stakeholders in developing, implementing, and evaluating future workforce strategies, and (3) establish a communication strategy to create shared expectations, promote transparency, and report progress. In 2007, GPO stated that the Deputy CHCO is tasked with communicating workforce planning statistics to the CHCO as well as agency managers on a regular basis in order to assist in GPO's transformation and future workforce planning. Managers also use training needs assessments to identify workforce gaps and focus attention on ensuring that GPO has "the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time." GPO also reported that employees and stakeholders have been involved in developing, implementing, and evaluating workforce strategies. For example, human capital specialists hold monthly strategic planning meetings with business units' senior management to identify skill sets and competencies needed to complete ongoing as well as anticipated assignments. Additionally, the Office of Workforce Development Education and Training included both management and union representatives in the Plant Apprentice Training Program advisory group and union leaders and managers have been continuously updated on the Skills Measurement and Retraining Program, which is designed to identify and address skill gaps in GPO employees.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer and the CHCO should involve staff in all phases of workforce planning to help improve the quality of the plan and build support needed to successfully implement it. Specifically, GPO should (1) ensure that top management sets the overall direction and goals of workforce planning, (2) involve employees and other stakeholders in developing, implementing, and evaluating future workforce strategies, and (3) establish a communication strategy to create shared expectations, promote transparency, and report progress.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  15. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In response to our recommendation, GPO has offered employees a voluntary skills assessment program and career counseling, which has been used by over 50 GPO employees from various GPO Business Units. In addition, GPO's Workforce Development, Education and Training Division recently completed a comprehensive survey of skills needed for new supervisors. Although GPO has taken some steps to identify the skills of a portion of its workforce, these efforts are voluntary and/or only involve a portion of its overall workforce. As such, GPO has not implemented this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer and the CHCO should complete a workforce gap analysis to identify critical skills and competency gaps that could affect GPO's ability to achieve its mission and transform the organization. The workforce gap analysis should include (1) an analysis of the current workforce to develop an inventory of employees' skills and competencies and (2) a systematic identification of the new skills and competencies that GPO will need in the future so that it can pinpoint any gaps that could affect its mission accomplishment and transformation.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) discussed how GPO leaders acknowledged the importance of strategic workforce planning, including the need to identify the new skills and competencies that GPO will need as well as developing an inventory of skills and competencies of its existing workforce to analyze workforce gaps. As such, we recommended that the Public Printer and Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) develop strategies to address any identified workforce gaps and move from the current to the future workforce needed to achieve GPO's mission and transformation. These strategies, consistent with recent efforts at GPO, should include the programs, policies, and practices that will enable an agency to recruit, develop, and retain critical staff. In 2006, GPO developed a Skills Assessment and Retraining Program to address any identified workforce gaps, which would assist GPO in moving from its current workforce to a future workforce needed to achieve GPO's mission and transformation. This plan included initiatives such as, identifying mission critical occupations and competencies as well as occupational assessment tools and potential learning and training solutions. In addition, GPO launched its Leadership Development and Retraining program in June 2007, which rotates internal and external program candidates between GPO business tracks for a two-year period in order to cultivate leadership skills.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer and the CHCO should develop strategies to address any identified workforce gaps and move from the current to the future workforce needed to achieve GPO's mission and transformation. These strategies, consistent with recent efforts at GPO, should include the programs, policies, and practices that will enable an agency to recruit, develop, and retain critical staff.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that one of the key practices for effective performance management is to involve employees and stakeholders in the development of the performance management system and provide ongoing training on the system in order to increase employees' understanding and ownership of the organizational goals and objectives. As such, employees and supervisors should be actively involved in identifying how they can contribute to organizational results and how they are held accountable for their contribution. Our review stated that GPO leadership has demonstrated that it understands the importance of working with employees at all levels of the organization to implement human capital changes. We noted that, as GPO moves forward to make additional changes to its performance management system, it is vital that leaders work to further strengthen the involvement of employees and stakeholders. As such, we recommended that the Public Printer, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer, involve employees and stakeholders in the development of the performance management system, which helps increase their ownership of the organizational goals and objectives. In 2007 GPO stated that, in response to our recommendation, employees and stakeholders have been involved in developing the performance management system. For example, executives are actively involved in developing the specific goals and measures for their areas of responsibility, which are negotiated annually with their rating officer. GPO also stated that quarterly performance reviews for all employees give supervisors an opportunity to review goal accomplishment with every employee and to seek employee understanding and buy-in. Additionally, in 2008 GPO stated that GPO's Performance Management Program Team included major stakeholder groups in the development of the new performance management system in an effort to increase buy-in and long-term ownership and participation in achieving organizational goals and objectives.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should involve employees and stakeholders in the development of the performance management system which helps increase their ownership of the organizational goals and objectives.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  18. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that one of the nine key practices for effective performance management is making meaningful distinctions in performance in order to achieve three key objectives: (1) to provide candid and constructive feedback to help individuals maximize their contribution and potential in understanding and realizing the goals and objectives of the organization, (2) to provide management with the objective and fact-based information it needs to reward top performers, and (3) to provide the necessary information and documentation to deal with poor performers. Our report noted that GPO's performance management system did not make meaningful distinctions among employees' performance in the performance appraisal process. As a result, the performance management system compromised GPO's ability to select among employees for development and advancement opportunities and did not provide managers with the basic tools to motivate and reward staff for their performance. As such, we recommended that the Public Printer, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer, make meaningful distinctions in performance, which provides a basis for constructive feedback, rewarding top performers, and dealing with poor performers. According to GPO, in response to our recommendation, GPO implemented quarterly employee performance progress reviews in fiscal year 2006 that provide employees with feedback on whether they are on track or they need improvement for each of their performance elements. For its senior executives, GPO has also introduced a point system that provides more meaningful distinctions among their performance. In addition to these changes, performance management training has been provided to all supervisors, managers, and executives on topics including coaching, feedback, and recognition.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should make meaningful distinctions in performance, which provides a basis for constructive feedback, rewarding top performers, and dealing with poor performers.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  19. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GPO has addressed this recommendation. GPO reported that, as of 2005, employee pay and awards are linked to performance for GPO's Senior Level Service (SLS), with up to a 10 percent bonus linked to the accomplishment of specific, measurable individual, and organizational goals. SLS are also subject to the loss of 10 percent of their base pay for failure to achieve these goals. GPO has drafted a performance-based awards program for supervisors and managers similar in structure to the awards program for senior executives. A similar program will be established for rank and file employees after introducing goal-based performance plans for them, beginning in 2008. GPO has also drafted an enhanced awards program to provide incentive for all employees to strive toward excellence. GPO is currently developing a performance management system that may allow GPO to link pay and awards to performance for managers, supervisors and employees.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should link employee pay and awards to individual and organizational performance, which establishes incentives for high performance.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  20. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that one of the nine key practices for effective performance management is to use competencies to provide a fuller assessment of performance. Competencies define the skills and supporting behaviors that individuals need to effectively contribute to organizational results and are based on valid, reliable, and transparent performance management systems. While our review acknowledged that identifying core competencies for employees would certainly lag as GPO was developing its agency strategic plan, some managers had started to identify critical competencies for employees in their units. For example, one manager in the Human Resources Office planned to revise the performance expectations for her staff to include a focus on customer service in order to improve the collaboration between her staff and managers throughout GPO. To further this progress, we recommended that the Public Printer, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer, use competencies, which define the skills and supporting behaviors that individuals are expected to exhibit, to provide a fuller assessment of performance. In 2008 GPO reported that, in response to our recommendation, competencies are currently included in Senior Level Service employees' supervisory plans, such as teamwork and interpersonal relationships. In addition, the Plant Operations team, which employs approximately 50 percent of the GPO workforce, will include competencies such as teamwork and self-development in all employees' fiscal year 2009 performance plans.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should use competencies, which define the skills and supporting behaviors that individuals are expected to exhibit, to provide a fuller assessment of performance.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  21. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Our report recommended that the Public Printer, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer, identify and follow-up on addressing workforce performance gaps to assist in meeting organizational priorities. Data collected from GPO indicate that its efforts to address GPO's workforce skill gaps are only done on a voluntary basis. As such, GPO has not implemented this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should require individuals to take follow-up actions on identified performance gaps to address organizational priorities, which underscores the importance of holding individuals accountable for making progress on their priorities.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  22. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Leading organizations use performance management systems to create a "line of sight" between individual performance and organizational success. However, GAO found that GPO had not set or tracked any organizational goals and did not measure performance or pinpoint improvement opportunities. GAO recommended that GPO provide and routinely use performance information to track progress on meeting organizational priorities. GPO concurred with GAO's recommendation and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) developed goals for GPO's business units for FY 2004 to aid in GPO's transformation efforts. Beginning in October 2003, the COO and GPO managers used performance information that was routinely generated and provided to managers on a monthly basis to track their progress in meeting GPO's goals. GPO's efforts are important for ensuring accountability because they allow leaders to perform their management responsibilities for monitoring performance and ensuring resolution of identified performance gaps.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should provide and routinely use performance information to track organizational priorities, which would help GPO identify performance gaps and pinpoint improvement opportunities.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  23. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that one of the nine key practices for effective performance management systems is connecting performance expectations to crosscutting goals, which can help to strengthen accountability for results by placing greater emphasis on fostering the necessary collaboration, interaction, and teamwork across organizational boundaries to achieve these results. For example, we stated that employees in GPO's Information Dissemination Division lacked basic sales techniques, like matching customer needs with available products. Our report noted that GPO could create a performance expectation for its sales staff related to their knowledge of GPO products. This performance expectation could help GPO improve its financial condition and its customer service as staff become more familiar with the types of products GPO offers and matching these products to customers' needs. As such, we recommended that the Public Printer, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer, connect performance expectation to crosscutting organizational goals, which would foster the necessary collaboration, interaction, and teamwork across organizational boundaries to achieve results. In 2008 GPO reported that, in response to our recommendation, GPO's performance management plan has been designed with cascading goals that directly links an employee's work to the accomplishment of business unit and agency-wide goals. Where feasible, managers are encouraged to connect performance expectations to crosscutting goals, including instances in which projects cut across business units and require collaboration and teamwork to produce results. In support of this initiative, the Deputy Public Printer has asked each business unit managing director to identify support they need from counterparts in other business units.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should connect performance expectations to crosscutting organizational goals, which would foster the necessary collaboration, interaction, and teamwork across organizational boundaries to achieve these results.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  24. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that one key practice for effective performance management is aligning individual performance expectations with organizational goals, which helps individuals see the connection between their daily activities and organizational goals and encourages individuals to focus on their roles and responsibilities to help achieve those goals. At the time of the report, GPO required that supervisors set annual performance expectations for all staff, which were linked to an employee's position description, rather than the unit's goals. To that end, we recommended that the Public Printer, in conjunction with the Chief Human Capital Officer, align the individual performance expectations with organizational goals, which helps individuals identify the connection between their daily activities and organizational goals. In 2006, in response to this recommendation, GPO established and implemented a performance management program for its supervisors and managers that established a line of sight between individual performance expectations and business unit or GPO-wide goals. Additionally, Senior Level Service employees' performance is evaluated based on accomplishment of initiatives that are linked to GPO's strategic goals through the balanced score card.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer, in conjunction with the CHCO, should align the individual performance expectations with organizational goals, which helps individuals identify the connection between their daily activities and organizational goals.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  25. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that successful strategic workforce planning efforts often include five critical elements, one of which is the monitoring and evaluation of the agency's progress toward its human capital goals and the contribution that human capital results have made toward achieving programmatic goals. To monitor progress, agencies can collect and analyze a variety of information to measure the effectiveness of human capital strategies, such as data on the knowledge, skills, and experiences of the current workforce. Therefore, we recommended that the Public Printer and the Chief Human Capital Officer periodically survey managers and employees regarding human capital strategies to ensure that they are being implemented fairly, observing federal merit principles, and being used appropriately. In 2008 GPO reported that, in response to our recommendation, GPO conducted an employee survey in 2006 and plans to complete another employee survey in 2008. The 2006 employee survey included questions to receive employees' reactions to GPO's human capital strategies, such as perceptions on whether promotions are based on merit and whether differences in employees' performance are recognized in a meaningful way.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer and the CHCO should periodically survey managers and employees regarding human capital strategies to ensure that they are being implemented fairly, observing federal merit principles, and being used appropriately.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  26. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that, while GPO collects some data on its workforce, including the number of people eligible for retirement and the results of employees' performance reviews, GPO lacks information necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of its workforce strategies. Attention to the development and collection of workforce data could help ensure that GPO's human capital approaches are supporting its strategies for achieving results and transforming the organization. We recommended that the Public Printer and Chief Human Capital Officer develop performance measures for GPO's human capital strategies. Such measures are a first step in holding managers accountable for their management of human capital and provide valuable data for future workforce planning efforts. GPO could benchmark its human capital data against the data of high-performing organizations. In 2008, GPO stated that, in response to our recommendation, GPO's measures for its Human Capital Office performance include the amount of time to hire new applicants. Additionally, GPO has completed a statistical analysis to compare the amount of time spent at each step of the staffing and recruitment process against Office of Personnel Management (OPM) standards, to which GPO compares favorably. Other examples of the Human Capital Office's performance measures include improvement of the efficiency and accuracy of personnel actions through the timely implementation of the EmpowerHR program and improving organizational effectiveness by drafting goal based performance plans for all employees.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer and the CHCO should develop performance measures for GPO's human capital strategies. Such measures are a first step in holding managers accountable for their management of human capital and provide valuable data for future workforce planning efforts. GPO could benchmark its human capital data against the data of high-performing organizations.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  27. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that GPO lacks information necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of its workforce strategies. Attention to the development and collection of workforce data could help ensure that GPO's human capital approaches are supporting its strategies for achieving results and transforming the organization. We recommended that the Public Printer and the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) evaluate the results of current human capital strategies and make any needed revisions to ensure that the strategies work as intended and support the transformation. This will provide a baseline by which to evaluate these strategies to ensure alignment with its mission and transformation efforts. In 2008 GPO notified us that, in response to our recommendation, the human capital office surveyed staff and managers in 2004 and 2006 and followed up on the findings of those surveys to address issues surrounding human capital strategies. Examples of recent strategy revisions addressing issues raised by the employee survey include awarding formal certificates to employees upon completion of each level of acquisitions training and holding cross-functional meetings for employees in different offices of the Finance and Administration business unit to address a need for greater communication between departments.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer and the CHCO should evaluate the results of current human capital strategies and make any needed revisions to ensure that the strategies work as intended and support the transformation. This will provide a baseline by which to evaluate these strategies to ensure alignment with its mission and transformation efforts.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

  28. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Our October 2003 report on the Government Printing Office (GPO) stated that workforce planning includes building the capability to support workforce strategies by addressing administrative, education, and other requirements. Educating managers and employees on the availability and use of available human capital flexibilities is one way for GPO to integrate human capital approaches throughout the organization. We recommended that the Public Printer and the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) build the capacity to support workforce strategies by addressing administrative, educational, and other requirements. Our report determined that GPO's managers and employees needed training to understand how to use available human capital authorities and flexibilities effectively so that they are implemented equitably and their strategic purpose is fulfilled. According to GPO, from 2004 to 2008, the Office of Workforce Development, Education, and Training has been administering several efforts to address this recommendation. The office has delivered more than 55 information and education briefings that have reached more than 1,100 GPO employees. These briefings have covered topics such as educational reimbursement policy; new training policies, forms, and procedures; management training requirements; and career development and retirement planning. In addition, business unit human capital offices have provided training to managers on their collateral human capital responsibilities.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer and the CHCO should build the capability to support workforce strategies by addressing administrative, educational, and other requirements. To this end, managers and employees need training to understand how to use available human capital authorities and flexibilities effectively so that they are implemented equitably and their strategic purpose is fulfilled.

    Agency Affected: Government Printing Office

 

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