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Highlights

The success of the transformation and implementation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is based largely on the degree to which human capital management issues are addressed. Recognizing this, the legislation creating DHS provided it with significant flexibility to design a modern human capital management system. Congressional requesters asked GAO to describe the process DHS has in place to design its human capital system and involve employees, and analyze the extent to which this process reflects elements of successful transformations.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Directorate of Management DHS has developed an effective process to begin the formation of its new human capital system. Moving forward, it is critical that the new human capital system be linked to the DHS strategic plan and that DHS continue to communicate with and involve its employees. Accordingly, once the strategic plan is completed the Secretary of DHS and the Director of OPM should ensure that the options selected for the new human capital system support and facilitate the accomplishment of the department's strategic goals and objectives, as identified in the new strategic plan.
Closed - Implemented
In February 2005, the Department of Homeland Security issued its final regulations for its new human capital system. They provide for employee involvement in the further development of the implementing directives and participation on the compensation committee as well as in the identification of the scope, objectives, and methodology to be used in the evaluations of the system. The Department is also seeking feedback and offered an online survey about the communication effort.
Office of Personnel Management DHS has developed an effective process to begin the formation of its new human capital system. Moving forward, it is critical that the new human capital system be linked to the DHS strategic plan and that DHS continue to communicate with and involve its employees. Accordingly, once the strategic plan is completed the Secretary of DHS and the Director of OPM should ensure that the options selected for the new human capital system support and facilitate the accomplishment of the department's strategic goals and objectives, as identified in the new strategic plan.
Closed - Implemented
In February 2004, the Department of Homeland Security issued its strategic plan. Subsequently, in February 2005, the Department issued its final regulations for its new human capital system. As part of that system, employees' performance expectations must align with and support the Department's mission and strategic goals. Linking organizational goals to individual performance is consistent with leading practice.
Directorate of Management In addition, the Secretary of DHS should clarify the role of the participants in the design effort and other areas of confusion identified by stakeholders during our interviews.
Closed - Not Implemented
The statutory collaboration period, when the Department of Homeland Security would have implemented this recommendation, closed and thus the recommendation was no longer applicable.
Directorate of Management Furthermore, consistent with the DHS communications plan, the Secretary should ensure the message communicated across DHS components is consistent, and maximize opportunities for two-way communication and employee involvement through the completion of the design process, the release of the system options, and implementation, with special emphasis placed on seeking the feedback and buy-in of front-line employees in the field.
Closed - Implemented
In Feb. 2005, DHS issued its final regulations for its new human capital system. These regulations provide for employee involvement in the further development of the implementing directives and participation on the compensation committee. DHS has also offered an online survey about the communication effort.

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