Supervisors Find HR More Knowledgeable than Effective

Federal supervisors consider HR staff to be more knowledgeable about federal employment laws and rules than effective in carrying them out, MSPB has said.

It said those findings–from its most recent Merit Principles Survey–take on greater weight at a time when HR offices are being called on to help managers with tasks such as improving hiring, closing skills gaps, maximizing employee performance and increasing employee engagement.

Eighty-five percent of supervisors responding agreed that HR staff are knowledgeable about conduct management and 83 percent said the same regarding performance management. Seventy-five and 82 percent, respectively, further said HR staff are essential to their success in those areas, but only 73 and 72 percent agreed that HR staff are effective.

Ratings were lower regarding staffing, with 69 percent calling HR knowledgeable but only 64 percent calling it effective; and regarding classification, at 75 and 64 percent, respectively.

“This suggests that poor HR outcomes may, in some cases, be the product of knowledgeable people working with outdated processes or policies. If so, policy-focused reform initiatives should indeed be part of the solution. Furthermore, in every HR discipline, there is a small proportion of supervisors who believe their supporting HR staffs are neither knowledgeable nor effective. These minority views should not be ignored,” MSPB said.

“Although federal CHCOs may be able to rest assured that the importance of HR is widely accepted, it appears that they should think long and hard about whether HR service and support are good enough–and be honest about what it might take to improve,” it said.