Human Capital:

Posthearing Questions Related to Succession Planning and Management

GAO-04-270R: Published: Nov 14, 2003. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 2003.

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The Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency Organization, House Committee on Government Reform, requested that GAO respond to follow-up questions subsequent to a hearing on "Human Capital Succession Planning."

GAO reported that government agencies around the world are using succession planning and management to achieve a more diverse workforce, maintain their leadership capacity as senior executives retire, and increase the retention of high-potential staff. Leading organizations recognize that diversity can be an organizational strength that contributes to achieving results. Succession planning and management can help agencies maintain leadership capacity. The federal government faces an estimated loss of more than half of the career Senior Executive Service by October 2007. Effective succession planning and management initiatives provide a potentially powerful tool for fostering broader governmentwide or agencywide transformation by selecting and developing leaders and managers who support and champion change. Succession planning and management can help the organization become what it needs to be, rather than simply recreating the existing organization. In other governments and agencies, top leadership demonstrates its support of succession planning and management when it actively participates in these initiatives. Top leadership also demonstrates its support of succession planning and management when it regularly uses these programs to develop, place, and promote individuals. Lastly, top leaders demonstrate support by ensuring that their agencies' succession planning and management initiatives receive sufficient funding and staff resources necessary to operate effectively and are maintained over time.

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