Human Capital:

Managing Human Capital in the 21st Century

T-GGD-00-77: Published: Mar 9, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed ways to improve the federal government's approach to managing its people.

GAO noted that: (1) federal employees should be viewed not as costs to be cut but as assets to be appreciated; (2) strategic human capital management recognizes that employees are a critical asset for success, and that an organization's human capital policies and practices must be designed, implemented, and assessed by the standard of how well they support the organization's mission and goals; (3) the experiences of leading private sector firms underscore these ideas; (4) in studying nine selected private sector organizations known for innovative or effective human capital management, GAO found that human capital considerations were commonly included at all stages of management, from strategic planning through day-to-day business operations, and these firms focused on building and maintaining the competencies of their leaders and other employees and rewarded them for performance; and (5) although the civil service system is viewed by many as outdated and in need of reform, there is much that can and should be done today--by individual federal agencies, the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, GAO, and Congress--to improve the way the federal government manages its human capital, even in the absence of any fundamental legislative change.

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