Managing for Results:

Human Capital Management Discussions in Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plans

GAO-01-236: Published: Apr 24, 2001. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 2001.

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J. Christopher Mihm
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The Government Performance and Results Act calls for agencies to address human capital in the context of performance-based management. The act requires that annual performance plans describe how agencies will use their human capital to accomplish their goals and objectives. Designing, implementing, and maintaining a strategic human capital management focus are critical to maximizing performance and ensuring that government is accountable to the American people. GAO found that the human capital challenges described in fiscal year 2001 performance plans reflected the different levels of attention agencies are to pay this critical issue. GAO contends that the breadth, depth, and specificity of many related human capital goals and strategies needs to be increased. The plans' discussions of human capital increasingly need to focus on describing human capital challenges. The plans need to specify the what, why, how, and when of the strategies to address those challenges. The discussions should also better link human capital management and the agencies' strategic and program planning to maximize performance and ensure optimal resource allocation. Overall, the fiscal year 2001 plans showed that substantial opportunities exist for goals and strategies as they focus on a more systematic, in-depth, and continuous effort to evaluate and improve their human capital management. Agencies will need to follow up to determine whether their plans actually improve human capital management and program outcomes.

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