Presidential and Congressional Transition

  • The Management Agenda provides high-level information for new leaders about the critical management challenges facing the federal government and lays out the actions needed to address those challenges.

  • GAO’s Management Agenda

    Chris Mihm, Managing Director, Strategic Issues, describes how the management agenda can help policy makers and other leaders address existing problems and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of new policies going forward.

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  • Manage Finances to Improve the Nation’s Fiscal Condition

    The incoming Administration and Congress face major challenges to improve the nation’s fiscal condition. These challenges include reducing the gap between revenue and spending, addressing a multibillion-dollar tax gap, reducing billions of dollars in improper payments, and improving the reliability of financial information.

  • Manage Acquisitions to Maximize Cost Savings and Performance

    In recent years, the federal government has spent approximately $440 billion annually to acquire goods and services. To maximize cost savings and performance, Congress and the incoming Administration need to address issues involving major systems acquisitions; the protection of critical technologies and supply chains; federal contracting, and services acquisitions.

  • Develop and Manage Information Technology to Meet the Government's Needs

    Advances in information technology (IT) change the way agencies do business. Managing this technological change government-wide poses a number of challenges for the incoming Congress and Administration, specifically in acquiring and operating these systems.

  • Strengthen Cybersecurity Over Sensitive Data and Protect Critical Infrastructure Systems

    Federal agencies and our nation’s critical infrastructures depend on computerized (cyber) information systems and electronic data to carry out operations and to process, maintain, and report essential information. The security of these systems and data is vital to public confidence and the nation’s safety, prosperity, and well-being.

  • Strengthen Human Capital Capabilities to Enhance Performance

    Strategic federal human capital management is fundamental to maximizing the government’s performance and assuring its accountability to the nation as a whole. Challenges for Congress and the incoming administration include addressing mission critical skills gaps, recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce, aligning human capital strategies across government, and changing agency cultures.

  • Manage the Workforce Strategically

    Challenge: Mission Critical Skills Gaps

    When agencies include human capital planning in their organizational strategic planning, it helps ensure that they have the talent and skill mix they need to accomplish their goals and execute their mission cost-effectively. New capabilities are needed to address existing and emerging government wide skills gaps.

    Our work has shown that skill shortages exist in areas such as cybersecurity, acquisition management, and foreign language capabilities. These skills gaps undermine agencies’ abilities to achieve their missions. Anticipated retirements could make these skills gaps even worse if the federal workforce isn’t managed strategically.

    Key Actions Needed:

    1. Integrate human capital planning with broader organizational strategic planning involving top management, employees, and other stakeholders.
    2. Examine retirements and other forms of turnover, with an eye toward strengthening both current and future organizational capacity.
    3. Develop systems with the predictive capacity to identify newly emerging skills gaps.
  • Percentage of Career Permanent Employees, on Board as of September 30, 2015, Eligible to Retire by 2020 by Agency

  • Notes: Our calculations include permanent employees in the competitive service, the excepted service, and the senior executive service with all work schedules (e.g. full time, part time, seasonal, and intermittent). Retirement eligibility is not affected by work schedule. Temporary and term employees are excluded.

    “Eligible to retire” is defined as the year in which a person is first eligible for retirement with unreduced annuity. Data are from the OPM Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) database.

    EHRI covers federal civilian employees at most Executive Branch agencies and some Legislative Branch agencies. Among those agencies excluded from EHRI are the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence organizations; the U.S. Postal Service; Tennessee Valley Authority; and the White House Office.

    The total number of employees included in our calculations on Jan. 17, 2017 is 1,712,547.

  • GAO Contact

    Robert Goldenkoff

    Director, Strategic Issues

    goldenkoffr@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    Yvonne Jones

    Director, Strategic Issues

    jonesy@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    View Strengthen Human Capital (PDF 5 pages) 

     

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  • Improve Talent Management

  • Challenge: Building and Motivating a Skilled Workforce

    Recruiting, developing, and retaining personnel with the necessary skills are essential to maintaining a workforce that meets each agency’s vital mission.

    Employee engagement—the sense of purpose and commitment employees feel toward their employer and its mission—can lead to better organizational performance.

  • Key Actions Needed:

    Modernize the current employee classification system to meet agencies' needs for flexible talent management tools that enable the government to align employees with mission requirements.

    Tailor recruitment, retention, training, workforce flexibilities, and other strategies to address identified skills gaps.

    Manage agency training and development programs as part of overall performance and include processes to assess and ensure the training’s effectiveness.

    Create a work environment in which people are empowered and driven to continuous improvement and mission accomplishment.

  • Strongest Drivers of the Employee Engagement Index, 2014

    Title: Strongest Drivers of the Employee Engagement Index, 2014

Image: Illustrated table.

Driver of engagement: Constructive performance conversations
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Question: My supervisor provides me with constructive suggestions to improve my job performance (Q46).

Driver of engagement: Career development and training
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Question: I am given a real opportunity to improve my skills in my organization (Q1).

Driver of engagement: Work-life balance
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Question: My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues (Q42).

Driver of engagement: Inclusive work environment
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Question: Supervisors work well with employees of different backgrounds (Q55).

Driver of engagement: Employee involvement 
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Question: How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work (Q63)?

Driver of engagement: Communication from management
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Question: How satisfied are you with the information you receive from management on what’s going on in your organization (Q64)?


Source: GAO analysis of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) data, 2014.  |  GAO-15-585
  • GAO Contact

    Robert Goldenkoff

    Director, Strategic Issues

    goldenkoffr@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    Yvonne Jones

    Director, Strategic Issues

    jonesy@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    View Strengthen Human Capital (PDF 5 pages) 

     

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  • Foster Human Capital Leadership

  • Challenge: Fragmented Human Capital Community

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for implementing civil service laws, rules, and regulations as well as helping agencies shape their human capital management programs. To fulfill these responsibilities, OPM has sought to position itself as a consultant and strategic partner with federal agencies. OPM’s leadership is particularly important as the federal human capital community is highly fragmented with multiple actors inside government informing and executing personnel policies and initiatives in ways that are not always aligned with broader, government-wide human capital efforts. OPM will also need to ensure that its own workforce has the capacity to assist agencies and lead government-wide efforts addressing various federal human capital management challenges.

    Additionally, it will be important for individual agencies to sustain attention to human capital management efforts and manage their employees strategically to help their agencies become high performing organizations.

  • Key Actions Needed:

    Strengthen coordination efforts to address a fragmented human capital community and ensure that OPM has the internal capacity to help agencies bolster their human capital policies and programs.

    Cultivate effective partnerships among OPM, agencies, and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council to build consensus and develop momentum to address various cross-cutting human capital management issues.

    Explore expanded use of enterprise solutions such as shared service centers to more efficiently and effectively address shared challenges.

  • The Federal Human Capital Community is Fragmented

    Title: The Federal Human Capital Community is Fragmented

Image: Illustration of the following entities displayed as puzzle pieces disconnected:

1. Office of Management and Budget
2. Chief Human Capital Officers Council
3. Office of Personnel Management
4. Federal Agencies/Chief Human Capital Officers
5. Labor Unions
6. Federal Management Councils


Source: GAO analysis.  |  GAO-14-168
  • GAO Contact

    Robert Goldenkoff

    Director, Strategic Issues

    goldenkoffr@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    Yvonne Jones

    Director, Strategic Issues

    jonesy@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    View Strengthen Human Capital (PDF 5 pages) 

     

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  • Build Results-Oriented Cultures

  • Challenge: Create Accountable and Inclusive Organizations

    Leading organizations have results-oriented, customer-focused, and collaborative cultures. Several human capital strategies can help agencies change their cultures:

    Organizational and individual performance management: Effective performance management creates a "line of sight" that aligns individual and team efforts with the results the organization needs to achieve and helps agencies retain top talent and address poor performance.

    Diversity planning: Having a diverse, highly professional, motivated and multidisciplinary staff helps agencies fulfill their missions and helps improve the performance and accountability of government for the benefit of the American people.

    Telework: Benefits of telework programs include enhanced continuity of operations during emergency events and potential environmental, energy, and other societal benefits. Also, telework offers a greater work-life balance to better manage work and family obligations.

  • Key Actions Needed:

    Ensure performance management systems have a “line of sight” showing how individual and unit performance contribute to overall organizational goals.

    Develop and implement diversity initiatives that are aligned with each organization’s strategic plan.

    Develop action steps and milestones to demonstrate progress towards establishing and evaluating telework participation and outcome goals.

  • GAO Contact

    Robert Goldenkoff

    Director, Strategic Issues

    goldenkoffr@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    Yvonne Jones

    Director, Strategic Issues

    jonesy@gao.gov

    202-512-6806

    View Strengthen Human Capital (PDF 5 pages) 

     

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  • Collaborate to Achieve National Outcomes

    The incoming Administration and Congress face challenges that involve multiple agencies, specifically: inefficient government operations, insufficient collaboration across agencies, and mismanaged federal grants. Strategies to improve how agencies work together can also help them address these challenges.

  • Improve Federal Performance to Better Achieve Results

    Given the increase in public demands for a more effective and accountable federal government, it is critical that Congress and the incoming administration collect and use evidence to drive improvements and better achieve results. Agencies should use data for decision making, enhance regulatory processes, build evaluation capacity, and improve the visibility of agency-wide risks.

  • Promote Transparency and Open Government to Enhance Civic Engagement and Foster Innovation

    To foster transparency, improve oversight, and enhance public participation in decision-making, Congress and the new administration are challenged to ensure government and public access to reliable and complete federal financial and performance information. Attention to these initiatives can help agencies gather more data, make data more accessible, be more responsive to the public, and involve the public in accomplishing social goals.