Human Capital:

Selected Agency Actions to Integrate Human Capital Approaches to Attain Mission Results

GAO-03-446: Published: Apr 11, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 11, 2003.

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Successful strategic human capital management requires the integration of human capital approaches with strategies for accomplishing organizational missions and program goals. Such integration allows the agency to ensure that its core processes efficiently and effectively support mission-related outcomes. Based on the recommendations of various human capital experts, GAO identified six executive branch agencies that had taken key actions to integrate their human capital approaches with their strategic planning and decision making. The agencies were the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the General Services Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Geological Survey. These key actions may prove helpful to other agencies as they seek to ensure that their human capital approaches are aligned with their program goals.

The executive branch agencies GAO reviewed have taken key actions to integrate their human capital approaches with their strategies for accomplishing organizational missions and to shift the focus of their human capital office from primarily compliance activities to consulting activities. Agency leaders included human capital leaders in key agency strategic planning and decision making and, as a result, the agencies engaged the human capital organization as a strategic partner in achieving desired outcomes relating to the agency's mission. Human capital leaders took actions to transform the agencies' human capital organizations by establishing clear human capital strategic visions, restructuring their organizations, and improving the use of technology to free organizational resources. Human capital leaders also promoted a transition to a larger strategic role for human capital professionals with their focus being more on consulting rather than compliance activities. The human capital profession is in transition from valuing narrowly focused specialists to requiring generalists, who have all the skills necessary to play an active role in helping to determine the overall strategic direction of the organization. Jointly, agency leaders and human capital leaders are having human capital professionals and agency line managers share the accountability for successfully integrating strategic human capital considerations into agency strategic planning and decision making.

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