Agencies turn to HRStat to make better sense of workforce data

Wednesday - 2/6/2013, 5:24am EST

Angela Bailey, associate director of employee services and chief human capital officer, OPM

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There was never a dearth of data about agency human capital actions. Agencies had access to time-to-hire data, employee retention information, data on the number of workers eligible to retire in any given year and much, much more.

But departments didn't always have the ability to use that information to make better decisions to ensure they are meeting the demands of their workforce.

The Office of Personnel Management said the HRStat process might just be that missing link that pulls all the data together.

OPM is doubling the number of agencies participating in HRStat sessions to 16 in 2013 with the goal of giving them the tools to analyze human capital data to meet future workforce needs.

"We are using [HRStat] to discuss much of our human capital management data, the trends for analyzing information, the identification of actions that could actually be used to improve performance and, of course, reduce cost, and most importantly for agencies to accomplish their mission," said Angela Bailey, OPM's associate director of employee services and chief human capital officer, in an interview with Federal News Radio. "It's absolutely a forward look, not a backward look. The ultimate goal with HRStat is that when the HR community or the CHCO, in particular, is able to come together with the Performance Improvement Officer, you're able to position the agencies to take on really not just current needs, but to foresee where is that they are headed and how they can avoid or position themselves to be able to tackle any new challenges coming down the pike."

Another "stat" session

OPM first launched the HRStat process in fiscal 2012 as part of the Obama administration's push to use data to make better decisions. HRStat is similar to TechStat or PortfolioStat or the several other "stat" sessions sprinkled throughout government.

Angela Bailey, associate director of employee services and chief human capital officer, OPM

Phase two of the HRStat pilot builds on the progress made by the first eight agencies, Bailey said.

"They have the free will to concentrate on the areas that's most important to them," she said. "Some of them decided to take a look at their mission critical occupations and circle themselves around that. While other agencies chose to take a more holistic view and decided on the specific areas they have pain points that they need to concentrate on."

Bailey said this time around HRStat will incorporate the lessons learned and any refinements after the first set of reviews.

Each pilot agency's CHCO and performance improvement officer (PIO) will collect and analyze the mounds of data to look for specific trends across an office or the entire organization.

Bailey said the HRStat sessions have three main goals:

  • Develop a process to use human capital management goals, measurement and analysis to improve programmatic results as they relate to the workforce. "What we want to do as we are using all the data in front of us, it's really being used in a more strategic way and holistic view than just simply looking at anecdotal stories that are out there."

  • Develop a alternative evaluation mechanism to replace annual human capital management reports. "Let's have these more like conversations and involve the PIOs along with CHCOs and have a good, in-depth conversation of where human capital meets up with mission."

  • Develop recommendations for both CHCO and PIO councils to implement HRStat governmentwide.

"We have a wealth of information and data at our fingertips, so the point is to look at this from a real holistic point of view," Bailey said. "If all you look at is just one element of the Employee View Point Survey or you just look at attrition data or you just look at your time to hire or demographics, you miss where you could pull the thread and see all the interconnections. The whole point of HRStat is to take all of the data that we have available to us and really see what the whole picture tells you versus just one pinpoint of information."

The results of a HRStat session will help agencies understand what their workforce weaknesses are and what some possible steps are to fix them.

Insights into future needs

Along with bringing the data threads together, HRStat uses performance improvement experts to work with the agencies through peer mentoring relationships.

"It puts the agencies at ease because they get their questions answered more quickly instead of having to wait for another meeting," Bailey said. "When we do our HRStat, we bring in not only our PIO, but depending on the part of the organization we are examining, we go in-depth into their data and show them everything they really wanted to know about their operations from an HR standpoint."

She said the HRStat sessions, which usually are held monthly, attempt to give the organization insights into certain skill sets needed in the organization, such as changing competencies or which universities and colleges are offering the curriculum to produce workers with those skills.

"You often hear, 'HR needs to have a seat at the table,' well, OK, you do, but you have to come to the table with something," Bailey said. "This is really an awesome opportunity for us to come to the table with not just data that anyone could run in a report, but instead helping them see the interconnections and helping them see really into the future where they need to go. Not just a backward look, but a more future look so they can help prepare themselves and plan for where they need to go."

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