In 1967, President Johnson signed an executive order that provided agency leaders and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) the presidential guidance on how training programs should be implemented at government agencies. The order requires OPM to support agencies in developing adequate training programs and to provide assistance with planning, programming, budgeting, operating, and evaluating training programs. Specifically, leaders working in OPM’s Training and Executive Development (TED) Group offer direction on how to implement training programs within agencies, as well as, provide counsel to ensure that those training programs support strategic human capital investments. In fact, OPM created five guides that agencies can use to reference when deciding on specific training programs for their staff. These guides include Human Resources Reporting, Training Evaluation Field Guide, Draft Training Policy Handbook, Collection and Management of Training Information, and Strategically Planning Training and Measuring Results.
Many struggles that federal agencies are facing today include building and maintaining the talent pool of employees, preparing the next generation of leaders, and bridging the gap of multigenerational workers. Overcoming these challenges requires appropriate training programs and government leaders must know how to implement that training in order to achieve the agency’s mission. Below is a list of eight best training practices that the United States Government Accountability Office recommends all agencies implement in order to support effective training investment decisions.
Practice 1: (a) Identify the appropriate level of investment to provide for training and development efforts and (b) prioritize funding so that the most important training needs are addressed first.
Practice 2: Identify the most appropriate mix of centralized and decentralized approaches for its training and development programs.
Practice 3: Consider government-wide reforms and other targeted initiatives to improve management and performance when planning its training and development programs.
Practice 4: Have criteria for determining whether to design training and development programs in-house or obtain these services from a contractor or other external source.
Practice 5: Compare the merits of different delivery mechanisms (such as classroom or computer-based training) and determine what mix of mechanisms to use to ensure efficient and cost-effective delivery.
Practice 6: Track the cost and delivery of its training and development programs agency wide.
Practice 7: Evaluate the benefits achieved through training and development programs, including improvements in individual and agency performance:
(a) Has a formal process for evaluating employee satisfaction with training.
(b) Has a formal process for evaluating improvement in employee performance after training.
(c) Has a formal process for evaluating the impact of training on the agency’s performance goals and mission.
Practice 8: Compare training investments, methods, or outcomes with those of other organizations to identify innovative approaches or lessons learned.
Source: GAO analysis based on prior GAO reports, other related expert studies, and federal training requirements.
How many of the practices listed above has your agency put into practice?
On September 26th, several agency leadership training developers will be discussing the training initiatives that are working within their agency and how you can fund and implement a training program in your agency. Learn more about how you can join and participate in that conversation.