OPM, OMB outline plans for major rewrite of HR policies

Friday - 5/3/2013, 6:36pm EDT

The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget are doing a major rewrite of federal human resource policies and procedures in an effort to streamline and focus agencies on goals.

Acting OPM Director Elaine Kaplan outlined the plans in an April 26 memo to chief human capital officers, which OPM posted online just this week.

The initiative focuses on two broad objectives:

  • Implement workforce strategies that advance each agency's mission.
  • Streamline core federal HR policies, procedures and technology to support hiring, engaging and retaining employees, while reducing time and costs.

"OPM is considering regulatory changes that will allow agencies to use Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) strategic plans and annual performance plans, instead of preparing separate human capital plans and reports, to identify and address HR issues, strategies and planned actions essential to making progress on the goals and objectives," Kaplan wrote describing the approach to the first goal.

As for the second objective, Kaplan wrote, "[W]e plan to identify and promote best practices and increase shared delivery and co-investment in common HR functions and systems that strengthen HR services. Possible areas of opportunity include increasing managerial engagement in the hiring process, addressing agency-wide problems identified by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, processing retirement applications more quickly and accurately, and improving labor-management relations."

Kaplan took over for John Berry on April 13 when Berry's term expired.

Under those two objectives, OMB and OPM detailed four specific areas aimed at improving the management and processes of HR.

The first includes refining the roles and responsibilities of CHCOs and other HR managers.

Kaplan said for this effort, OPM is finalizing an update to the Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework (HCAAF). OPM said it released the draft version in early 2013.

"As part of this framework, the roles and responsibilities of CHCOs and other leaders, hiring managers and HR professionals will be reassessed in relation to shared responsibility for the revised HCAAF and its implementation," Kaplan wrote.

OPM and the CHCO Council first initiated the update to the framework in 2012.

The second area of focus, and the one that may see the biggest changes, involves how agencies set HR goals and engage in strategic planning. This effort also meshes well with another goal listed in the memo, which aims to reduce and modernize human capital reporting.

Kaplan said OPM and OMB want to eliminate 12 reports and consolidate or reduce the requirements of five others.

"Criteria for recommending steps to pursue elimination includes assessment of the data's value of strategic human capital management at the agency and governmentwide level, and the Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) system's ability to automatically capture reliable and valid data provided in existing reports," Kaplan wrote.

By reducing the number of annual reports, OPM and OMB also want agencies to use their GPRA plans to identify HR improvements, including the consolidation of human resource functions, implementing the Pathways internship program and making agency improvements based on the results of the Employee Viewpoint Survey.

"OPM is currently crafting a proposal to amend the regulatory language at 5 CFR Part 250 to integrate agencies' strategic human capital plans within their strategic and annual performance plans," Kaplan wrote. "OPM intends to propose elimination of the requirement for agencies to submit separate Strategic Human Capital Plans in time for the preparation of the next agency strategic plans that will be released with the FY 2015 budget."

Finally, OPM and OMB want to use the HRStat process, which 16 agencies currently are testing, to review progress toward the GPRA goals.

"Agencies that agreed to pilot the HRStat process will use this method as a substitution for the annual Human Capital Management Reporting requirement for FY 2012," Kaplan wrote. "All other agencies are required to submit their final Human Capital Management Report for FY 2012, and will be expected to begin implementing HRStat following guidelines issued by OPM in FY 2013."

Kaplan offered no specific timetable for many of the changes, except for saying they will be part of the fiscal 2015 budget planning process.

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