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About Us / Strategic Plan / Goal 4: Provide innovative and data-driven solutions

Goal 4: Provide innovative and data-driven solutions

Provide innovative and data-driven solutions to enable agencies to meet their missions, increasing the percentage of users throughout government who agree that OPM offered innovative solutions while providing services or guidance by 4 points.

Overview

NAPA’s recent report emphasized the need to elevate and support human capital as a strategic priority across the federal government.[17] As part of this effort, NAPA recommended that OPM pivot and refresh its approach to federal human capital management – shifting from a compliance-oriented and reactive agency to one that is strategic and forward-leaning, focused on innovation, pilots, and best practices, and increasing the quality of and access to human capital data for agencies. GAO also indicated that OPM has the opportunity to explore how Artificial Intelligence and new technologies can strengthen human capital management – moving away from regulatory approaches to more innovative ones.[18]

Foster a culture of creativity and innovation within OPM. By FY 2026, increase the percentage of employees who agree that innovation is valued by 4 points.

Overview

Stakeholders noted that OPM’s workforce had strong institutional knowledge and expertise, but the agency often did not promote innovative solutions to long-standing federal human capital problems. OPM has the opportunity to shift culture from one perceived as focused solely on compliance to one also grounded in creativity, performance, learning, and an enterprise-wide approach. The Partnership for Public Service emphasized the importance of breaking down the aversion to risk and fear of failure.[19]

Strategies

  • Build leader mindsets, skills, and behaviors that foster innovation in offices, including senior leaders’ abilities to model professional vulnerability, risks, failures, and lessons learned
  • Design forums that encourage cross-organizational communication and collaboration where OPM employees can interact with others and learn from creative leaders
  • Reward or recognize employees and teams for innovation and creativity in a manner that celebrates attempts and positive outcomes

Performance Measures

  • Percent of OPM employees who agree that innovation is valued
  • Percent of OPM leaders trained in innovation techniques

Contributing Organizations

  • OD and HRS

Increase focus on government-wide policy work by shifting more low-risk delegations of authorities to agencies.

Overview

OPM’s policy and oversight roles includes conducting hundreds of transactional approval and adjudicative activities such as approving individual dual compensation waiver requests, approving individual requests for voluntary retirement early authority or voluntary separation incentive payments, approving veterans passover requests, and reviewing individual job grading appeals. Although these requests for approval and adjudication are important to deter noncompliance with merit system principles, consultations with stakeholders revealed that some agencies found the process to be a pain point and expressed they have the expertise to appropriately address a number of decisions that are currently reserved to OPM. In its 2021 report, NAPA recommended that OPM adopt a more decentralized and risk-based approach to executing these transactional approval and oversight responsibilities.[20] Specifically, NAPA recommended that OPM delegate, to the maximum extent possible, decision-making authorities to agencies, and conduct cyclical reviews to verify that appropriate actions were taken. OPM has the opportunity to consider whether some decisions reserved to OPM could be delegated to agencies in a risk-managed approach.

Strategies

  • Identify maximum number of low-risk transactional activities for which OPM is responsible that are appropriate for delegation to agencies, and delegate those that can be done administratively
  • Collaborate with OMB and Congress to enact legislation to authorize OPM to delegate to agencies low-risk transactions that Congress authorized only OPM to carry out and OPM identified as appropriate for agencies to do
  • Provide agencies guidance and optimal training to use in exercising delegations
  • Evaluate agency use and compliance with laws, regulations, policies/procedures, and merit system principles

Performance Measure

  • Percent of low-risk delegations granted to agencies
  • Percent of CHCOs who agree that OPM provides appropriate delegations to agencies
  • Percent of low-risk delegations with errors identified through OPM or agency led evaluations

Contributing Organizations

  • ES, MSAC, SuitEA, CLIA, and HRS

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 12. What strategies are effective in improving oversight efficiency and agency adherence to HR laws and policy guidance?

Expand the quality and use of OPM’s federal human capital data. By FY 2026, increase the percentage of CHCO survey respondents who agree that OPM provides agencies with high quality workforce data and information to be used in decision-making by 20 percentage points.

Overview

Stakeholders indicated that OPM’s human capital data is a strategic and critical asset that the federal human capital community could better leverage to identify government-wide human capital insights, inform policy, and drive decisions. Additionally, several experts within the public and private sectors emphasized the importance of OPM using data to drive innovation and decision making within the federal government. NAPA noted that the agency has the opportunity to use Artificial Intelligence and automation to improve processes and reduce administrative burden on OPM and other agencies.[21] Additionally, stakeholders noted that OPM has the opportunity to facilitate data-sharing across agencies and with outside stakeholders on cross-cutting issues. According to the Deloitte Center for government Insights, sharing data and building specialized data portals for stakeholders could facilitate and streamline customer experience of citizens and enables data authentication between federal agencies.[22] GAO also advocates that OPM and other federal agencies study the role Artificial Intelligence will play on employment, workforce development, training, and retention.[23] The percentage of CHCOs who agreed that OPM provides agencies with high quality workforce data and information to be used in decision-making was 55 percent in FY 2022.

Strategies

  • Develop and advance an OPM enterprise data strategy using the Federal Data Strategy framework
  • Advance data quality, timeliness, and accessibility of key data assets to internal and external customers
  • Upgrade user interfaces, two-way data integration, and other capabilities of priority systems
  • Expand accessibility of HR analytics via reports, tools and services that support critical external customer decision making for talent needs
  • Build and expand OPM’s capacity to use advanced analytical tools and methods like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in support of customer goals
  • Improve OPM-wide data governance, including data privacy considerations, across all critical data efforts
  • Develop the Human Capital Federal Information Business Framework and Human Capital Information Model to provide standardized human capital lifecycle functional, operational, and data components to the extent possible

Performance Measures

  • Percent of CHCO survey respondents who agree that OPM provides agencies with high quality workforce data and information to be used for decision-making
  • Number of users of OPM’s publicly available human capital data sets/files
  • Number of users of OPM’s human capital dashboards

Contributing Organizations

  • HCDMM, OCIO, ES, OC, HRS, and OESPIM

Improve OPM’s ability to provide strategic human capital management leadership to agencies through expansion of innovation, pilots, and identification of leading practices across government. By FY 2026, provide federal agencies with 25 leading practices.

Overview

To strengthen the agency’s role in federal human capital leadership, stakeholders advised that OPM conduct more demonstration projects and pilot innovative practices related to work-life flexibilities, compensation, classification, and other areas. Additionally, NAPA recommended that OPM strengthen its ability to steer efforts that encourage and sustain innovation in federal human capital management and reframe the agency’s role in federal policy making to focus on government-wide strategy, innovation, best practices, and lessons learned.[24] The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service recommends that OPM explore more personnel demonstration-project authorities and expand demonstrated successes across the federal government.[25]

Strategies

  • Identify key human capital strategies through research and successful practices that support improvements across the human capital management lifecycle, which may include creating or amending policy and developing or amending guidance
  • Improve the visibility and highlight the value of research programs and demonstration projects to boost federal agencies’ awareness of these options
  • Identify leading practices across government and create a repository of leading practices for agencies to access on a designated portal

Performance Measure

  • Number of leading practices shared with federal agencies

Contributing Organizations

  • ES, HRS, MSAC, CHCOC, and HCDMM

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 13. Are OPM’s human capital policies and guidance achieving their intended outcomes?

Revamp OPM’s policy-making approach to be proactive, timely, systematic, and inclusive. By FY 2026, increase the percent of CHCOs who agree that OPM’s policy approach is responsive to agency needs by 8 percentage points.

Overview

External stakeholders and NAPA recommended that OPM re-orient how it develops policy – shifting from a reactive to a more proactive, timely, systematic, and inclusive approach.[26] OPM’s current approach largely involves reacting to legislation or Executive Orders by issuing regulations and policy guidance to help agencies implement these laws or Executive Orders. Stakeholders have noted that OPM should take the lead in developing policy – setting the legislative or regulatory agenda rather than just reacting to it – and focus on emerging and future workforce issues. Further, stakeholders have noted that the issuance of policy guidance is not always timely, and the policy development approach overlooked the needs of smaller agencies. The percentage of CHCOs who agreed that OPM’s policy approach was responsive to agency needs was 55 percent in FY 2022.

Strategies

  • Engage agency partners and stakeholders to collect input for the development of policies in human capital areas
  • Develop processes to streamline internal OPM clearance
  • Expand the agency’s overall competencies in regulatory development and analysis
  • Empower a team led by a senior official(s) to track and coordinate policy development across OPM
  • Develop processes to coordinate OPM’s internal policy development process with plans to socialize the policy with internal and external key stakeholders
  • Systematize OPM’s ability to collect input from stakeholders and use evidence to inform and evaluate policy prioritization, development, and implementation
  • Build higher level relationships between OPM leadership and leadership of other agencies and the White House to understand core talent priorities and concerns
  • Strengthen OPM’s capacity to increase awareness and understanding of OPM policies and programs among key stakeholders and customers

Performance Measures

  • Percent of priority policy guidance issued by the deadline
  • Percent of CHCOs who agree that OPM’s policy-making approach is responsive to agency needs

Contributing Organizations

  • ES, OD, OESPIM, OPM HR, OCFO, OC, CLIA, CHCOC, HI, and HCDMM

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 13. Are OPM’s human capital policies and guidance achieving their intended outcomes?

Streamline federal human capital regulations and guidance to reduce administrative burden and promote innovation while upholding merit system principles. By FY 2026, improve CHCO agreement that human capital policy changes resulted in less administrative burden to agencies by 8 percentage points.

Overview

During stakeholder interviews and focus groups, stakeholders noted that federal HR statutes and regulations are copious, complex, and rigid – and often create burdensome and low value reporting requirements on agencies. NAPA’s report No Time to Wait: Building a Public Service for the 21st Century points out that federal HR statutes and regulations “have not had a thorough housecleaning in more than two generations.”[27] Additionally, NAPA also recommends that OPM implement risk-based, data-driven processes that reduce burdensome reporting. Recognizing that while some areas of federal human capital management are governed by prescriptive statutes, Executive Orders, and regulations that require legislative action, OPM has the flexibility to make changes to streamline the federal human capital system on its own in many areas through administrative action.[28] OPM’s role and expertise in advancing merit system principles provide an opportunity for streamlining regulations and reducing administrative burden in a responsible manner.

Strategies

  • Review federal human capital regulations and guidance usage by agencies to identify high level strategic changes to streamline and simplify human capital management
  • Determine what current regulations or guidance needs to be modified to be effective in reducing the burden on agencies, while upholding merit system principles

Performance Measure

  • Percent of CHCOs who agree that the human capital management system changes resulted in less administrative burden to agencies
  • Percent of CHCOs who agree that OPM’s policy approach is responsive to agency needs

Contributing Organizations

  • MSAC, ES, OCFO, OPM HR, HRS, HCDMM, and CHCOC

Footnote 17

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 19

Partnership for Public Service (2020). A Roadmap to the Future: Toward a More Connected Federal Government. Washington, DC.

Footnote 20

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 21

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 22

Deloitte Center for Government Insights (2021) Government Trends 2021: Global transformative trends in the public sector.

Footnote 24

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 25

National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (2020). Inspired to Serve: The Final Report of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. March 2020. Washington, DC.

Footnote 26

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 27

National Academy of Public Administration. (2017). No Time to Wait: Building a Public Service for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: Kettl, Aberbach, Hausser, Raadschelders, Sanders, & Soloway.

Footnote 28

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.