Human Capital:

Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Training at Selected Agencies

T-GGD-00-131: Published: May 18, 2000. Publicly Released: May 18, 2000.

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GAO discussed efforts to improve federal agencies' human capital management, focusing on: (1) how high-performing organizations approach the design and implementation of their training and development programs; and (2) the design, implementation, and evaluation of training and development programs at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and the Department of State.

GAO noted that: (1) high-performing organizations consistently approached the design and implementation of their training and development programs by: (a) identifying the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors employees need to support organizational missions and goals, and measuring the extent to which employees actually possess those competencies; (b) designing and implementing training programs to meet any identified gaps in those needs; and (c) evaluating the extent to which training programs actually increase employees' individual competencies and performance levels as well as overall organizational performance; (2) the agencies recognized the importance of identifying the knowledge and skills needed by their employees to support the agencies' missions and strategic goals; (3) the agencies were developing a comprehensive approach for identifying mission-critical competencies and measuring the extent to which all of their employees had these competencies; (4) the agencies had training curricula for developing employee skills in selected occupations, required or recommended that employees complete training on specific topics or meet a minimum number of training hours, and made training slots available each year on the basis of estimated needs, priorities, and available resources; (5) the agencies generally gave higher priority to entry-level employees because of limited resources; (6) the agencies each recognized the importance of measuring the extent to which their training programs contributed to increased employee skills and improved support of agency missions and strategic goals; (7) most were still developing more comprehensive evaluation techniques to determine the extent to which training was actually increasing employees' knowledge, skills, and job performance.

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