FEDweek

GAO Cites Progress on Human Capital Management

GAO has said that one high-risk issues that cuts across agency lines, strategic human capital management, has shown improvement since the prior assessment two years ago, with the leadership commitment element of the rating increasing from partially met to met.

OPM and individual agencies “have taken actions to improve efforts to address mission critical skills gaps” in government-wide occupations such as cybersecurity and acquisition management and in agency-specific occupations such as VA nursing.

“Specifically, OPM has demonstrated leadership commitment by publishing revisions to its human capital regulations in December 2016 that require agencies to, among other things, implement human capital policies and programs that address and monitor government-wide and agency-specific skills gaps. This initiative has increased the likelihood that skills gaps with the greatest operational effect will be addressed in future efforts.

“At the same time, Congress has provided agencies with authorities and flexibilities to manage the federal workforce and make the federal government a more accountable employer. For example, Congress included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 to extend the probationary period for newly-hired civilian DoD employees from 1 to 2 years. This action is consistent with our 2015 reporting that better use of probationary periods gives agencies the ability to ensure an employee’s skills are a good fit for all critical areas of a particular job.”