The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) serves as the chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager for the Federal Government. OPM provides human resources leadership and support to Federal agencies and helps the Federal workforce achieve their aspirations as they serve the American people. OPM directs human resources and employee management services, administers retirement benefits, manages health insurance and other insurance benefit programs, and oversees merit-based and inclusive hiring into the civil service. From shaping how and where Federal employees work in the future, to reestablishing the Federal government as a model employer, OPM is leading the discussion on how to rebuild the Federal workforce.
OPM is fully committed to the whole of government approach to advance equity and support for underserved communities. Per Executive Order 13985, OPM has started to assess whether underserved communities face systemic barriers in accessing benefits and opportunities in programs or services OPM provides. Outlined below is a summary of the three high-impact services OPM reviewed and assessed for potential barriers that underserved communities may face, as well as the actions OPM will take to eliminate any barriers.
Expand Agency Access to and Use of Post-Audit Applicant Flow Data (AFD)
To better support Federal agencies, OPM plans to expand Federal agency access to anonymized and post-audit AFD and strengthen the capacity of Federal agencies to analyze, interpret, and use AFD in a legally appropriate manner. AFD is the demographic information provided by applicants on a voluntary basis for Federal job opportunity announcements through the USAJOBS.gov website. After a job opportunity is closed and all certificates issued under the announcement are audited, Federal agencies may use anonymized, post-audit AFD as part of their efforts to determine the existence of any barriers or disparities in the hiring process, as well as to develop future recruitment efforts. OPM’s role is to ensure agencies have access to anonymized, post-audit AFD and to collaborate with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to provide tools and training for agencies on the appropriate use of AFD. OPM has already taken actions by building AFD reports, providing agencies with a template to pull AFD, and creating a report for agencies to see if job certificates need to be closed out.
Build a New Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Decision Support Tool
OPM administers the health insurance program for eligible Federal government employees; annuitants; employees of entitled and enrolled Tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations; and their eligible family members. The FEHB Program is the largest employer sponsored health benefits program in the world, covering 8.2 million people. An important hallmark of the FEHB Program is providing choice and competition so every eligible and enrolled person, including those from underserved communities, has an opportunity to choose the health plan that best suits their needs. OPM plans to offer a new state-of-the-art Decision Support Tool (DST) that will give every FEHB-eligible and enrolled individual the opportunity and necessary technology to compare FEHB benefits, total cost of care, provider networks, prescription costs, and other health information important to them at the point of enrollment.
Provide Tools to Benefits Officers Across Government to Advance Financial Security
OPM has a responsibility to work with agency benefits officers across government to educate Federal employees on the need for retirement savings and provide information to help them meet their retirement goals. OPM’s goal is to work with agency benefits officers to promote fully informed retirement decisions by employees and educate them on the value for retirement savings, including those in underserved communities. OPM’s effort is targeted at providing tools to benefits officers across government to deliver timely and relevant information in an equitable manner to Federal employees to advance financial security.