Foreign Assistance: Strategic Workforce Planning Can Help USAID Address Current and Future Challenges

GAO-03-946 Published: Aug 22, 2003. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2003.
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The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) oversees humanitarian and economic assistance--an integral part of the U.S. global security strategy--to more than 160 countries. GAO recommended in 1993 that USAID develop a comprehensive workforce plan; however, human capital management continues to be a high-risk area for the agency. GAO was asked to examine how changes in USAID's workforce over the past 10 years have affected the agency's ability to deliver foreign aid and to assess its progress in implementing a strategic workforce planning system.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
U.S. Agency for International Development To help ensure that USAID can identify its future workforce needs and pursue strategies that will help its workforce achieve the agency's goals, the USAID Administrator should develop and institutionalize a strategic workforce planning and management system that reflects current workforce planning principles. This effort should include the implementation of a reliable personnel information system, an agency-wide assessment of staff's skills and abilities, workforce strategies that address identified staffing gaps in the foreign and civil services, and a periodic evaluation of how these efforts contribute toward the achievement of the agency's program goals.
Closed – Implemented
In response to GAO's recommendation, USAID initiated a comprehensive workforce analysis and planning effort to predict workload and staffing demands for the future, identify current workforce gaps, and develop necessary solutions to close those gaps. The workforce plan institutes a process that will allow the agency to project its staffing requirements and to develop targeted initiatives to meet those requirements. Plans have been made to integrate the workforce planning model and its results into other agency planning processes.

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