Appendix D

Management's Changing Expectations of HRD*

High-performing organizations set and meet strategic goals and performance objectives. They reflect vitality and continuous learning. Human Resource Development (HRD) plays several key roles in facilitating high-performance in organizations. Both the HRD activity and the organization itself benefit from the conditions that foster high performance.


The President's Management Council (PMC) is committed to improving the performance of the federal government. Furthermore, the PMC has recognized that human resource development leads to improved federal performance. In April of 1995, the President's Management Council asked for specific actions on making HRD more effective in improving the performance of the federal government. This is the response of the governmentwide Human Resource Development Council:

The best way to improve government HRD is to have high expectations of HRD — and to communicate and reinforce those expectations. The central expectation of HRD is that its contributions result in high- performing federal agencies.
In most organizations, HRD has its roots in the training activity. However, HRD has evolved to include career development, organizational development, and performance improvement. This guide defines high performance in federal agencies and shows how HRD can help achieve high performance. Executives and managers can use this guide as a basis for ongoing dialogue with their partners in the HRD community. That dialogue should include a discussion of how HRD contributes to achieving the agency's strategic goals. The dialogue should also address how to help HRD evolve from traditional training and development into a new performance improvement business.
What Is a High-Performing Federal Agency?

Dozens of executives, customers, and leadership experts contributed to this guide. When asked "What does a high-performing federal agency accomplish?", here is what they said. A high-performing federal agency:

  • works better and costs less,
  • achieves significant results for the money spent,
  • provides value to customers and stakeholders,
  • delivers products and services on time, and
  • achieves recognition for the services it provides.

When asked "What does a high- performing federal agency look like?", they described an agency:

  • where every employee understands the mission of the agency and how his or her job helps achieve that mission;
  • with high levels of trust, commitment, enthusiasm, and fun;
  • that utilizes effective, empowering labor-management partnerships;
  • that is healthy in all aspects—including morale, individuals' physical and mental health, and the organization's physical environment;
  • that provides opportunities for employees to use their diverse talents; and
  • that is self-sustaining and self-generating.
How HRD Contributes to the Bottom Line

HDRD is an integral part of a high-performing federal agency. Organizations need people who get the job done. People get the job done when they are highly skilled, continually improve their skills, and are in an environment designed to capitalize on their skills. HRD provides a planned and systematic way for people to identify and learn the skills they need to get the job done.

Minding the Organization's Business

What is the mission (or business) of HRD? A traditional view too often is restricted to organizing and supporting formal training as the only approach to improving performance. A more appropriate view of HRD extends beyond training into a much wider array of tools for enhancing performance.

The business of HRD is the business of the agency. HRD contributes to the business of the agency by performing the following roles:

    1. Clarifying Business Goals

A federal agency can be high performing only if the people in the agency are clear about the agency's business. Using their knowledge of the organization's business, HRD professionals work with leaders and managers to clarify the business of the agency. HRD facilitates the process of answering:

  • What business are we in?
  • What customers do we serve?
  • What are our value-added niches?
  • How do we know our own success?
  • Do we have the workforce capacity to achieve our business goals?
  • Do we have the technology and systems to achieve our business goals?

HRD designs and teaches easy-to-use tools that foster business clarity.

    2. Consulting on Performance Improvement

Employees need appropriate resources and support to accomplish what their leaders expect of them. HRD, in moving beyond its traditional training role, works with organizational clients to diagnose performance problems and anticipate issues before they become "problems." Partnering with management, HRD helps in:

  • Reducing bottlenecks in information moving from one part of the organization to another;
  • Preparing employees to operate new equipment;
  • Maintaining current information on client needs; and
  • Supporting human performance is what helps and organization run and run well, enabling it to accomplish its mission and add value to our society.

    3. Promoting Systems Thinking and a Future Orientation

The learning organization needs to have systems in place to help it understand its current reality and focus on the ideal future state. The role of the HRD professional is to constantly stay abreast of new methods and ideas for helping organizations define their ideal future and assess present performance against it.

HRD supports management in achieving its organizational mission and goals through the use of a systems approach to planning and decisionmaking. By facilitating learning networks, the HRD provider gives everyone an opportunity to anticipate future challenges and aspire to higher levels of excellence.

The HRD provider continuously scans the new frontiers of organizational learning and shares this information in ways that are relevant and timely to the internal customer. The futurist role helps create workplaces that become laboratories for new ways of improving management practices, assessment tools, and learning systems.

    4. Building Coalitions

Improved performance agencywide requires HRD to build coalitions with others who influence the resources and environment of the organization, such as managers, labor representatives, strategic planners, and specialists in personnel, information resource management, facilities, and procurement.

A high-performing individual or team simultaneously needs well-designed working space, state-of-the-art technology, up-to-date knowledge and skills, supporting systems, and incentives. Consequently, an organization needs to improve its coordination of resources and systems across functional lines.

Traditionally, HRD has been concerned with only its role — offering courses to update knowledge and skills. To implement performance improvement solutions, HRD will need to identify the resource providers and build effective coalitions that improve the agency's bottom line.

    5. Facilitating Workplace Learning

Traditional "training" has often involved a one-way communication from a teacher to a student. "Learning," on the other hand, comes from within the learner. Learning involves moving from what you know and can do, to acquiring new knowledge and capabilities.

The role of the HRD individual as learning facilitator includes helping individuals move through the process of acquiring new knowledge and capabilities. Facilitating workplace learning means ensuring that, as changes take place in the organization's technologies, systems, environment, and programs, learning opportunities are integrated where needed.

With HRD as facilitator of workplace learning, employees at all levels have the capabilities required so that the organization can effectively and efficiently achieve its goals, produce its results, and have its desired impact.

    6. Integrating People and Technology

Technology has had an important and growing impact on our organizations. As each new wave of technology had been introduced into the organization, it has often been implemented without understanding the impact on human dynamics.

HRD has a key role to integrate the use of technology for learning into the business practices of the agency. HRD assists in planning, implementing, and utilizing technology — for learning and workforce improvement. HRD's goal is to help workers access information, performance support, and learning where and when they need it.

    7. Brokering Talent and Services

HRD professionals provide a variety of learning services and support systems. In addition to providing these services directly, they serve as brokers and talent scouts — reviewing and acquiring external programs.

Identifying internal training and development providers, and helping them develop their platform skills, mentoring capability and facilitation skills is a part of the HRD professional's role in bringing the best talent to the task at hand.

    8. Modeling High-Performance Behaviors

People lead by example. Gandhi followed this practice; he taught that each of us must be the change we wish to see in the world.

HRD professionals must see themselves as change agents. As such, they must demonstrate the personal, interpersonal, and professional competencies they encourage and help develop in others. They must be able to demonstrate in their everyday business lives those behaviors that are essential to developing high- performing agencies.

Performance improvement is enhanced when people understand desired organizational outcomes and see the behaviors that contribute to these outcomes.

*The HRD roles were prepared by the Model and Strategy Committee of the HRD Council, chaired by Renelle Rae of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and including members Georgianna Bishop (EPA), Anna Doroshaw (EPA), B.T. High (Department of Veterans Affairs), Bette Novak (Department of Education), Ruth Salinger (Department of Health and Human Services), and John Zottoli (Office of Personnel Management). This information has been presented in workshops sponsored by the National Performance Review and is currently used as guidance by several agencies.
Appendix C       Appendix E       Table of Contents