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Highlights

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for licensing and inspecting the nation's nuclear power plants to ensure their safety and security. By 2010, about one third of NRC's workforce with mission-critical skills will be eligible to retire. At the same time, NRC's workforce needs to expand because NRC expects to receive at least 20 applications for 29 new nuclear power reactors beginning in October 2007. GAO assessed NRC's ability to meet its workforce needs by examining the extent to which NRC (1) has aligned its human capital planning framework with its strategic mission and programmatic goals; (2) is effectively recruiting, developing, and retaining critically skilled personnel; and (3) is addressing future uncertainties that could affect its overall workforce capacity. GAO examined strategic workforce planning and implementation documents, interviewed cognizant managers on NRC's human capital framework and activities, and surveyed these managers about NRC's human capital flexibilities and measures.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission To improve NRC's ability to meet its current and future needs for a critically skilled workforce, the NRC should promote the coordination and integration of human capital planning and implementation activities by completing the agencywide human capital implementation plan; ensuring that the Human Capital Council provides strategic direction, advice, and recommendations on addressing human capital issues; and providing the appropriate level of resources to implement knowledge management program and strategic training and development plan.
Closed - Implemented
During the past year, NRC has completed its Human Capital Implementation Plan, which focused on specific actions taken to align human capital strategies with strategic direction and addressed outstanding human capital challenges. In addition, the Human Capital Council has provided strategic direction and recommendations on several key issues, including hiring and retention, training and development, human capital funding, and performance management.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission To improve NRC's ability to meet its current and future needs for a critically skilled workforce, the NRC should systematically assess the effectiveness of NRC's use of tools, authorities, and flexibilities for recruiting, developing, and retaining its workforce and adjust their use and targeting, as necessary, to meet workforce needs.
Closed - Implemented
During the past year, NRC's Office of Human Resources, in coordination with the senior leadership team and a panel of senior managers, has given increased attention to reviewing NRC's use of flexibilities and improving guidance on the use of certain authorities. NRC also periodically reviews its need for and the design of specific flexibilities, such as group recruitment and relocation/retention incentives.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission To improve NRC's ability to meet its current and future needs for a critically skilled workforce, the NRC should periodically and comprehensively evaluate and share information among NRC's offices on the usefulness of human capital measures, intended outputs, and targets to enhance NRC's ability to monitor trends, reliably measure progress, and inform program office managers in achieving critical human capital tasks.
Closed - Implemented
During the past year, NRC has integrated certain of its Operating Plan's measures with the Senior Performance Officials assessment process. Specifically, some key human capital measures in the Operating Plan have also been incorporated into SES performance plans. NRC is sharing these measures throughout the agency in real time through Sharepoint, a Web-based tool. NRC also is implementing several recommendations for improving the efficiency of tools and flexibilities that were made by a Lean Six Sigma review of its staffing process.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission To improve NRC's ability to meet its current and future needs for a critically skilled workforce, the NRC should survey employees during fiscal year 2007 on their satisfaction with NRC's human capital program, including new initiatives and offices' use of flexibilities to maintain a quality work environment.
Closed - Implemented
The Office of Personnel Management administered NRC's 2007 Annual Employee Survey and received responses from 2,531 of NRC's 3,575 employees. The survey collected information from employees on their satisfaction with the NRC Human Capital Program and assessed new initiatives and offices' use of flexibilities to maintain a quality work environment.

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