Human Resources and Security Specialists should use this tool to determine the correct investigation level for any covered position within the U.S. Federal Government.
Visit this federal site to search for our regulatory notices, proposed and final rules.
See the latest tweets on our Twitter feed, like our Facebook pages, watch our YouTube videos, and page through our Flickr photos.
OPM's mission is to recruit, retain, and honor a world-class workforce to serve the American people. To focus our efforts, OPM developed the goals and strategies contained in the updated 2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan – Recruit, Retain, and Honor.
The Office of Personnel Management exists to support and strengthen the Federal workforce. As such, we strive to be a model of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and workforce development so that all our people feel connected to our mission and responsibly empowered to serve our stakeholders. At OPM, we encourage open, honest and direct dialogue between and among supervisors and employees—genuine, respectful dialogue that values diversity of thought to enable creativity and innovation. We expect supervisors and their teams to be mutually accountable for providing world-class customer service and consistently excellent results. Above all, we are committed to building trust in OPM by listening to those we serve, collaborating with our colleagues, utilizing our collective expertise, and analyzing our results so we may continuously improve. Only by working together in this way can we truly recruit, retain, and honor a world-class workforce to serve the American people.
Evidence demonstrates that organizations with a greater percentage of engaged employees outperform those with a lower percentage of engaged employees and engaged employees are demonstrably more productive than their less engaged colleagues. OPM’s performance is largely dependent on the performance of its employees. OPM products and services – whether policy analysis or claims processing - are labor intensive. In order to attract and engage a diverse and effective OPM Workforce, we must invest in our most valuable resource – our employees. It is critical we make these investments in our people in order to achieve our mission.
OPM has a diverse set of customers that include Federal employees, retirees, Federal human resource professionals, Federal agencies, uninsured Americans, and job applicants. While it may not be possible to have a single approach to customer service to meet the diverse needs of such a wide range of customers, OPM’s customer-facing components stand to gain much from sharing information and strategies with one another. The bottom line is that OPM’s customers should expect a consistently high standard of service quality. Achieving success in this area will go a long way toward establishing an OPM brand that we all can be proud of.
As the Federal government’s HR leader, OPM designs and executes policies that touch all Federal agencies, their leaders, workers, applicants, retirees and survivors. As part of our mission, OPM collects, manages, and analyzes a range of HR data from a variety of sources. In an effort to optimize policy design and practices, OPM needs a cohesive structure to manage and integrate data across the agency and with external partners. This increased focus on data integration will enrich the data that OPM uses to support policy development and operations and enable OPM to contribute further to rigorous research and evaluations. While integrating data sets holds great potential for improving our knowledge base, we will also be vigilant with respect to the need to protect personally identifiable information in compliance with the law and accepted practice.
A significant portion of OPM’s budget is spent on information technology (IT). For the most part, these expenditures are dedicated to the development and support of information technology systems for specific HR business functions. The remainder of the expenditures support OPM’s workforce, such tools as email, calendaring, remote access, Internet access, file storage, etc. There is an opportunity to manage OPM’s IT systems more efficiently and effectively through the development and implementation of an OPM-wide IT strategy. Through this strategy, OPM can leverage IT capabilities in one program area to support other program areas, OPM, and the federal government.
Given the critical importance of information to human resource management, OPM should have a clear, unified IT strategy that will assure scarce resources dedicated to IT are being spent wisely and based on agency business priorities.
The uncertain budget environment imposes an imperative on all agency officials to better manage financial resources and to better position the agency to meet strategic priorities. While agency budgets have been allocated to agency strategies, tracking of expenditures and allocation of resources have been aligned to program areas and object classes. Aligning budget setting and expenditure tracking to agency strategies will ensure a continuous focus on achievement of the agency’s strategic goals. Other tools, such as activity-based costing and common services allocation methodology, will provide clarity to senior managers as they collectively target resources toward achievement of the agency’s strategic goals. In the end, the process must enable the Director and senior officials to prioritize and adjust resources to align with current and future priorities.
To foster a heightened connection between employees and their work and their organization, federal agencies and managers must ensure employees find personal meaning in their work, take pride in their work and their organization, and believe they are valued contributors. Engaged employees are passionate and dedicated to their job and organization. They feel a special bond with their agency and put forth the extra effort needed to improve their own performance and agency results. Employee engagement has been linked to important outcomes, including agency performance, sick leave usage, EEO complaints, and turnover. Engaged employees are less likely to leave their agency, while those who are unengaged will likely start to look for better opportunities elsewhere.
Key drivers of employee engagement are communication, employee involvement, opportunities for development, and recognition. Strong leadership and supervision also are critical to ensuring an engaged workforce as they have a great deal of influence over the factors that drive engagement.
The Federal government’s commitment to its employees does not end when someone retires from service. OPM administers retirement and insurance benefits for approximately 2.5 million annuitants, survivors, and family members. We must ensure quality delivery of those benefits and respond to retiree questions and concerns in a caring and timely manner. While real progress has been made over the last four years and the strategies outlined below have been implemented in part, they are yet to be finalized and our retirees are yet to realize the full extent of the improvements. Additionally, recognizing that successful benefits processing is a result of not just an efficient processing system or communication with agencies but also a fully engaged employee who is preparing to retire.
The integrity of the federal workforce is enhanced through the review of the suitability of individual applicants, ongoing reviews of federal employees, and the oversight of agency human resource systems that promote fairness and merit in all hiring and assessment processes.
As the Suitability Executive Agent, the Director of OPM is responsible for ensuring that those whom agencies select and retain to serve the United States Government and the American people are fit to serve. To do this, we must develop and implement consistent, uniform policies, tools, and processes for determinations of suitability, assignment to sensitive positions, and access to Federal facilities’ and information systems. Executing these responsibilities encompasses the collection of background investigation information. OPM’s activity in support of this goal helps protect our national security and provides the American people a reliable and responsible employee team they can trust in fulfilling important government functions.
OPM is mandated by statute to ensure delegated human resource authorities are carried out in accordance with merit system principles and OPM standards. In addition, Executive Order 13197 (Government-wide Accountability for Merit System Principles; Workforce Information) authorizes OPM to hold Executive departments and agencies accountable to the President for effective human capital management.
This goal establishes OPM’s role in improving the health status of populations covered under OPM- sponsored health insurance programs. Incorporating responsibilities granted through the Affordable Care Act, populations served by OPM-sponsored health insurance programs include employees of tribal organizations and formerly uninsured Americans served by Multi-State Plans as well as Federal employees, Federal retirees, and dependents of Federal employees and retirees.
High quality health insurance promotes access to care, supports better health and better care, empowers enrollee choice, and increases employee loyalty. Better care prevents long term disability and disease, stabilizes chronic conditions, and minimizes hospitalization. Effective worksite wellness programs along with health conscious workers and community environments complement insurance benefits and reinforce positive choices. Additional benefits, such as life, long term care, dental, vision, and flexible spending accounts, improve employee quality of life, meet unique family needs, and increase employee loyalty.
OPM tracks the implementation of its Strategic Plan and achievement of its Performance Goals in several ways. OPM executives champion the implementation of strategies and the Chief Operating Officer and Performance Improvement Officer review the program offices' plans to ensure that programs are properly managing resources.
OPM will support diversity and inclusion by aligning OPM business intelligence tools to help decision makers, like hiring managers and supervisors, analyze key workforce data including applicant flow, attrition/retention, and inclusion indicators. In so doing, decision makers can develop better outreach and recruitment methods; determine what factors contribute to the retention of a talented workforce; experience cost savings through decreased attrition; and create an inclusive work environment that empowers employees to contribute to their full potential. By September 30, 2015, 95% of OPM and 25% of government-wide hiring actions will occur following human resources and/or hiring manager’s use of a tool to review applicant flow data for individual hiring actions, resulting in measurable improvements in manager satisfaction with the quality of new hires.
Ensure that investigations achieve quality standards, while maintaining timeliness goals of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Throughout FY 2014 and 2015, OPM will target 99% or more of all OPM investigations adjudicated as “quality complete” by agencies receiving closed investigations.
Reduce Federal retirement processing time by making comprehensive improvements and move toward electronic processing of all retirement applications. Starting July 1, 2014, process 90% of cases in 60 days or less. By the end of FY 2015, increase the use of services on-line by 25% (from a baseline of 367,000 annuitants), and increase the percentage of complete cases received from agencies to 95% or greater (from a baseline of 89%) with the long term goal of 100% of cases received as complete. In addition, by FY 2015, OPM will develop capabilities to receive electronic retirement applications.
Improve the efficiency of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and affordability of coverage offered to employees. By September 30, 2015, Reduce the rate of growth in per capita spending through a range of activities, including improved data analytics, enhanced accountability measures, and programmatic improvements.
Professionalize the government-wide HR workforce by implementing a comprehensive HR certification program through HR University, which will greatly aid in achieving the long term goal of improving the quality of HR services government-wide, including measurable improvements in manager satisfaction with the quality of new hires. By end of FY 2015, more than 95% of Federal HR professionals (GS-201s/203s) will have registered for HR University. By the end of FY 2015, each HR Technical Area (Employee Relations, Staffing, Compensation, etc.) will have developed its curriculum for the Technical Specialist Role, as a step towards future HR Certification professional recognition.