Human Capital:

Practices That Empowered and Involved Employees

GAO-01-1070: Published: Sep 14, 2001. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 2001.

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People are the federal government's most valuable asset. Studies of private and public sector organizations have shown that high-performing organizations value and invest in their employees--human capital--and align their "people policies" to support organizational performance goals. In the federal government, however, strategic human capital management is a pervasive challenge. GAO has included human capital on its high-risk list. The Administration's emphasis on workforce planning and restructuring will require federal agencies to flatten their organizational hierarchy and improve their work processes. To optimize the services provided to citizens, federal employees must understand the link between their daily work and the results their organization seeks to achieve. For the initiatives GAO reviewed, agencies had to overcome organizational and cultural barriers, including a lack of trust, resistance to change and lack of buy-in from front-line employees and managers, and various implementation issues, such as workload demands. The agencies developed strategies to address these barriers, such as maintaining open communication and reassigning and hiring personnel. In implementing the practices to empower and involve employees, agencies identified a range of examples to demonstrate the performance improvements these efforts have accomplished.

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