OPM retools HR analysis

'Agencies will be able to answer questions like what is the average age of their work force, how is salary correlated with age and how many employees are eligible to retire in the next year, two years or five years,' OPM's Rhonda Diaz says.

Olivier Douliery

Even though only about five or six people per agency will have access to the Office of Personnel Management's new work force planning and analysis tools, the tools will affect almost all federal employees.

Agency human resources managers will have a view of the federal work force like never before, said Rhonda Diaz, director of OPM's Enterprise Human Resources Integration project.

'This tool will provide analysis capabilities a lot of agencies do not have today,' she said. 'Agencies will be able to forecast their work force needs and compare their work force statistics against other agencies.'

OPM is developing the tools under EHRI, one of the Quicksilver e-government projects. The work involves modifying the Army's Workforce Analysis Support System and the Civilian Forecasting System, and is entering the final testing phase for a planned September launch.

Once the tools are available, agencies will have eight years of personnel data to search and new data that will be uploaded to the system biweekly from agency personnel systems, Diaz said.

The EHRI project team performed preliminary tests by uploading information on four job series'criminal investigators, procurement personnel, attorneys and computer specialists.

Once the tool is available, it will provide agencies with large-scale statistical analysis and ad hoc reporting capabilities, Diaz said.

'Agencies will be able to answer questions like what is the average age of their work force, how is salary correlated with age and how many employees are eligible to retire in the next year, in two years or in five years,' she said. 'It also will give agencies a snapshot of employees' records.'

Easier analysis

Oversight agencies, such as the General Accounting Office or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also will have an easier time performing governmentwide work force analyses or examining employment trends and scenarios, Diaz said.

Agency human resources managers will use the system by logging into the EHRI portal, which OPM also will launch next month. Once into the system, users will be able to run queries and send them by e-mail to agency officials. The system also lets users break down job classifications into specific functions.

OPM modified the Army's tools to make them more user friendly. The EHRI project team added online help panels and eased the navigation paths.

'We want to make sure everyone who is authorized by their agency can use the tool, not just experts,' Diaz said. 'We are finishing up a privacy assessment and we will work with each agency to make sure the proper people have access.'

The tools also will standardize how the government performs work force analyses, Diaz said. For instance, agencies currently calculate turnover differently and that causes confusion and inconsistent data, she added.

The system uses commercial software to perform the analyses and generate reports. Diaz said the work force analysis tool uses a statistical tool from SAS Institute Inc. of Cary, N.C., and Mathcad from Mathsoft Engineering and Education Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., to calculate and graph statistical results.

The forecasting application uses modeling tools from ILog Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. All of the information is stored on an Oracle9i database.

'The increased amount of data in EHRI will lead to agencies being able to use more data for analyses,' Diaz said. 'Much of this information would be collected annually or biannually, but now we will not have to ask agencies for information because it will be there in EHRI.'

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