Objective 5.3: Uphold effective and innovative human capital resource management resulting in an engaged, diverse workforce with the skills and competencies to accomplish the HHS mission

HHS supports strategies to uphold effective and innovative human capital resource management.  HHS is focused on building and sustaining a strong workforce through improved recruitment, hiring, and retention efforts.  The Department is leveraging training and professional development opportunities to develop and manage a high-performing workforce while providing leaders and managers with the insight and tools to effectively carry out change management, organizational learning, and succession planning.

Objectives represent the changes, outcomes and impact the HHS Strategic Plan is trying to achieve.  This objective is informed by data and evidence, including the information below.

  • Strengthening and empowering the federal workforce is a priority for the President’s Management Agenda.  The priority is supported with three strategies: Attract and hire the most qualified employees, who reflect the diversity of our country, in the right roles across the federal government; make every federal job a good job, where all employees are engaged, supported, heard, and empowered, with opportunities to learn, grow, join a union and have an effective voice in their workplaces through their union, and thrive throughout their careers; and reimagine and build a roadmap to the future of federal work informed by lessons from the pandemic and nationwide workforce and workplace trends.  (Source: The President's Management Agenda)
  • In the 2020 U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (OPM FEVS), HHS ranked 4th as the best place to work among large federal agencies; the HHS engagement score was 75.3.  The engagement score is based on responses to three different questions: I recommend my organization as a good place to work; considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?; and considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization?  (Source: 2020 OPM FEVS Governmentwide Management Report)
  • HHS hiring increased more than 14 percent in FY 2020 compared to FY 2019 and more than 52 percent from FY 2018.  Even with more customers and hardships brought by the COVID-19 crisis, HHS's HR operations transitioned well to maximum telework with no loss of productivity in the recruitment process.  Average end-to-end Time to Hire decreased from 113 days to 83 days.  (Source: FY 2022 Annual Performance Plan and Report - Goal 5 Objective 2)
  • Critical skill gaps exist in federal agencies, especially in science, technology, and cybersecurity.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office found three areas to address: (1) workforce planning; (2) recruiting a diverse, high-qualified science and technology workforce; and (3) factors that affect the work environment.  (Source: Strengthening and Sustaining the Federal Science and Technology Workforce)
  • Regarding government-wide skills gaps within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations, OPM officials stated they are initially focusing their efforts on addressing the shortage of cybersecurity professionals.  Focusing on cybersecurity may help close this skills gap.  However, there are STEM occupations that are critical to agencies’ missions—such as medical professionals and biomedical researchers—that also need to be addressed.  (Source: Strategic Human Capital Management)
  • Agency operations are being deeply affected by a set of evolving trends in federal work, including how work is done and the skills that employees need to accomplish agency missions.  (Source: Talent Management Strategies to Help Agencies Better Compete in a Tight Labor Market)  Key practices for telework that federal agencies should implement to ensure successful telework programs include recruitment and retention strategies, performance, policy, training, technology, and evaluation.  (Source: Federal Telework: Key Practices That Can Help Ensure the Success of Telework Programs)

Contributing OpDivs and StaffDivs

All OpDivs and StaffDivs contribute to achievement of this objective.
HHS OpDivs and StaffDivs engage and work with a broad range of partners and stakeholders to implement the strategies and achieve this Objective.  They include: the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and Human Capital Collaborations.


Build and sustain a strong workforce through improved recruitment, hiring, and retention efforts

  • Develop and implement the HHS Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the HHS workforce and remove any potential barriers to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workforce, including establishing a framework to address workplace harassment.
  • Leverage incentives and flexibilities to enhance the Department’s competitiveness in the job market, and develop mechanisms to the recruitment, hiring, and retention of a high-caliber and qualified workforce. 
  • Increase diverse demographic representation and promotion outcomes by partnering with hiring managers and leveraging data to make informed decisions regarding recruitment, promotion, and retention strategies consistent with Merit System Principles.
  • Facilitate regular engagement between hiring managers, human resources professionals, leaders, and other stakeholders, and support collaborations with public, private, and academic sectors to advance opportunities to recruit, support, and train an ethnically, socially, and experientially diverse workforce.
  • Invest in diversity and inclusion efforts, including Employee Resource Groups and interest groups, to increase involvement and participation of the workforce in cultivating a culture of inclusion and equity across the Department.

Leverage training and professional development opportunities to develop and manage a high-performing workforce

  • Ensure better performance and greater job satisfaction by fostering a performance-focused culture aimed at bolstering existing skillsets and competencies while closing the mission-critical skill gap in emerging areas of high value, including both technical and soft skills, that benefit employees in advancing the mission of HHS.
  • Increase leaders' and managers' accountability for delivering results in improving diversity and equity outcomes in their hiring practices and promoting a culture that supports employees in identifying, accessing, and receiving professional development opportunities that are unique to their career needs and aspirations.
  • Increase access to diversity and inclusion training and developmental opportunities for HHS leaders, managers, and staff to foster a culture of inclusion and equity among an increasingly diverse workforce.

Provide leaders and managers with the insight and tools to effectively carry out change management, organizational learning, and succession planning

  • Modernize human resource systems, policies, and processes using data and best practices for effective recruitment, staffing, retention, succession planning, and workforce planning.
  • Apply best practices in change management to improve how employees are managed and supported in today’s fast-changing workplace environment, contributing to recruitment and retention efforts while promoting transparency, trust, and accountability across the organization.
  • Facilitate engagement, collaboration, and communication between HHS leaders, managers, and employees in ensuring a work environment that promotes inclusive policies and flexibilities, such as work schedule flexibilities and remote work opportunities, that are responsive to the Department’s evolving needs.
  • Promote succession planning for mission-critical occupations to increase organizational resilience and effectiveness by facilitating the regular transfer of institutional knowledge among the workforce.
  • Take a data-driven approach to advancing policies that promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within the HHS workforce, while protecting the privacy of employees and safeguarding all personally identifiable information and protected health information.
  • Support, coordinate, and encourage HHS efforts to conduct research, evaluation, and other evidence-building activities to identify leading practices, and other promising practices, for broadening participation and opportunities for advancement in HHS employment, and to assess and promote the benefits of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for federal performance and operations and barriers to achieving these goals.

Performance Goals

The HHS Annual Performance Plan provides information on the Department’s measures of progress towards achieving the goals and objectives described in the HHS Strategic Plan for FY 2022–2026.  Below are the related performance measures for this Objective. 

  • Intrinsic Work Experience (From Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey)
  • Employee Satisfaction with Opportunities for Professional Development and Growth (From Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey)
  • Employee Engagement Index (From Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey)

Learn More About HHS Work in this Objective

  • CMS CyberVets Program: The CyberVets program is a six-month rotation at CMS where service members will engage in both authentic problem-based and “on the job” cybersecurity training, learning the skills required to protect our data and network.  The program begins with a solid foundation in networking fundamentals and network security essentials; and then progresses into more advanced areas such as reverse engineering, threat management, policy, and compliance management.  Participants will be able to develop the skills and confidence necessary for exploring modern cybersecurity theories through hands-on learning experiences and to communicate threat statuses to senior leadership.
  • Minority Leaders Development Program: This is an Office of Minority Health (OMH) initiative to develop and implement a fellowship program at HHS to provide training in health equity issues and leadership to early career individuals to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority and other disadvantaged populations.
  • UNITE: The UNITE initiative was established in 2021, to identify and address structural racism within the NIH-supported and the greater scientific community.  With representation from across the NIH Institutes and Centers, UNITE aims to establish an equitable and civil culture within the biomedical research enterprise and reduce barriers to racial equity in the biomedical research workforce.

Content created by Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
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