Human Capital:

A Guide for Assessing Strategic Training and Development Efforts in the Federal Government (Exposure Draft) (Superseded by GAO-04-546G)

GAO-03-893G: Published: Jul 1, 2003. Publicly Released: Jul 1, 2003.

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George H. Stalcup
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This publication has been superseded by GAO-04-546G, Human Capital: A Guide for Assessing Strategic Training and Development Efforts in the Federal Government, March 2004. This guide introduces a framework, consisting of a set of principles and key questions that federal agencies can use to ensure that their training and development investments are targeted strategically and are not wasted on efforts that are irrelevant, duplicative, or ineffective. Effective training and development programs are an integral part of a learning environment that can enhance the federal government's ability to attract and retain employees with the skills and competencies needed to achieve results for the benefit of the American people. Training and developing new and current staff to fill new roles and work in different waqys will be a crucial part of a federal government's endeavors to meet its transformation challenges. Ways that employees learn and achieve results will also continue to transform how agencies do business and engage employees in further innovation and improvements.

This guide consists of three sections. The first section provides an overview of the four components of the training and development process: (1) planning/front-end analysis, (2) design/development, (3) implementation, and (4) evaluation. The second section of this guide includes key questions to consider when assessing each of the four components of an agency's training and development questions ask, for example, how the agency identifies the appropriate level of investment to provide for training and development efforts and prioritizes funding so that the most important training needs are addressed first (planning/front-end analysis). In looking at how agencies assess the extent to which their training and development efforts contributed to improved performance and results, and guide asks about the extent to which the agency systematically plans for and evaluates the effectiveness of its training and development efforts (evaluation). The third section of this guide summarizes our observations on the core characteristics that make a training and development process effective and strategically focused on achieving results. These characteristics include, for example, ensuring stakeholder involvement throughout the process and effectively allocating resources to maximize training investments.

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