A guide to government HR service delivery transformation

Effective HR transformation models are essential to government’s success

Deloitte and The Partnership for Public Service collaborated on a report to examine how effective human resources services can contribute to government’s success—and where opportunities lie to implement HR service delivery models to create more effective federal agencies.

HR in the public sector

The Biden administration has a unique opportunity to rebuild the capacity of the federal government to meet our nation’s biggest challenges. But for this to happen, federal leaders must help their agencies operate more effectively. Human resources teams in the federal government play a critical, yet often underestimated, role in helping agencies work better and achieve their missions.

In this issue brief, The Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte examine how effective HR service delivery models contribute to government’s success. We highlight that there are opportunities throughout government to build on initial HR transformations taking place and that further investing in these efforts is critical to creating more effective federal agencies. Our brief also outlines several opportunities to transform HR—through designing more customer-focused services, better leveraging data and technology to improve operations, and streamlining service delivery models to reduce duplication—along with tips that will help leaders successfully drive these changes.

HR transformation models: The benefits for federal leaders

To investigate the current state of government HR service delivery, we interviewed nearly 20 federal leaders working in HR and related fields across seven agencies. We learned that many federal HR offices are ripe for transformation and have the potential to better meet the needs of their workforce.

The experts we interviewed detailed how transforming an agency’s HR services to better support the mission is hard work, fraught with the challenges that inevitably come with organizational change. But they also emphasized that progress is possible and outlined a set of strategies to increase the odds of success. By clearly communicating a vision for change, building trust, maintaining a customer focus, and empowering and developing HR staff, leaders improve how their agencies deliver critical HR services in the public sector.

Signs that your agency should consider an HR transformation:

  • Spending on HR is high compared to peer agencies and reasonable benchmarks.
  • The ratio of HR staff to overall employees is high compared to peer agencies and reasonable benchmarks.
  • There are many HR teams across different offices or subcomponents to augment the primary HR function—often called “shadow HR.”
  • HR relies on manual, paper-based processes or antiquated IT systems, rather than automated and integrated technology solutions.
  • There is no clear human capital strategy.
  • The agency has a high number of vacant positions, especially in mission-critical areas.
  • HR frequently processes routine transactions, such as payroll and benefits information, slowly or incorrectly.
  • The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey indicates low or declining employee engagement scores for HR staff.

Strengthening government HR service delivery

To complement individual agencies’ efforts to improve HR service delivery models, the new administration should make strengthening HR a key element of its management agenda by driving governmentwide improvements for recruiting, hiring, and managing the federal workforce.

For example, there is new funding available to make improvements to the technology that supports HR. Agencies can submit proposals to the Technology Modernization Fund for IT modernization initiatives, including projects that will improve the IT infrastructure used by HR. Congress approved $1 billion for this fund in March 2021 through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Through efforts like these, the White House and federal agencies can work together to ensure our government recruits, hires, and manages the workforce it needs to meet the pressing challenges of the 21st century.

Read the full report

Transforming Human Resources: A guide to Delivering the HR Services that Government Needs

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