GAO calls for more HR integration

Officials at federal human resources departments must abolish stovepipes and silos in the much the same way that agency officials are streamlining information technology systems, states a General Accounting Office report released May 18.

One way they are trying to integrate personnel systems is by implementing the Chief Human Capital Officers Act, the report states.

But 24 federal agencies that have appointed human capital officers to deal with personnel issues still have a long way to go in overhauling federal hiring practices to help agencies achieve their missions and find the right talent, according to the report.

"By their very nature, the problems and challenges facing agencies are crosscutting and thus require coordinated and integrated solutions," GAO's study found.

Kay Coles James, director of the Office of Personnel Management, testified the same day at a hearing before the House Government Reform Committee's Civil Service and Agency Organization Subcommittee about the issue and said the law which went into effect last year has raised the profile of the issue.

"It is no longer adequate to say we'll open the doors, and people will come," James told the subcommittee.

She said human resources officers must work hard to recruit the best and brightest and figure out a way to compete with the private sector, which often offers better jobs and more money.

At the same time, she said, "you must involve the stakeholders at every level."

OPM will soon launch a Web site with information about the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and officials are working to develop a new pay scale for federal executives.

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