The Office of Personnel Management – the Federal government’s chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager – won some praise in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report for its efforts to help agencies close workforce skills gaps, but has more work to do in addressing skills gaps in its own operations.
In particular, the GAO report cited 2022 results from an independent workforce assessment commissioned by OPM that showed the agency was seeing skills gaps in the areas of leadership development, project management, organizational performance, and data analytics.
These gaps, said GAO, could “compromise OPM’s ability to implement its strategic objectives related to closing government-wide skills gaps.”
The assessment, GAO said, “determined that OPM faces a significant risk of being unable to implement nine of the 11 strategic objectives that we determined would help agencies address government-wide skills gaps.”
Those include “implementing policies and initiatives that embrace the future of work … with respect to hiring, talent development, competitive pay, benefits, and workplace flexibilities,” GAO said.
According to GAO, OPM officials said they “generally agreed with the assessment’s findings and were addressing them.”
“However, OPM has yet to develop an action plan that includes all elements directed by OPM guidance to manage this effort,” GAO said. The watchdog agency said “OPM did not list its skills gaps as a risk to implementing its strategic objectives, an essential element of enterprise risk management.”
“Doing so would better position OPM to have the near- and long-term capacity to help other agencies close skills gaps across the federal government,” GAO said.
GAO gave two recommendations to OPM, including creating an action plan to address its skills gaps, and documenting actions taken under that plan. OPM concurred with both of the recommendations.