Human Capital: Key Principles From Nine Private Sector Organizations
(Letter Report, 01/31/2000, GAO/GGD-00-28).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO identified the private sector's
key principles for strategically and effectively managing their human
capital to provide federal agencies with information and examples to
help them improve their human capital management.

GAO noted that: (1) each of the 9 private sector organizations that GAO
reviewed implemented human capital strategies and practices that were
designed to directly support the achievement of their specific missions,
strategic goals, and core values; (2) GAO identified 10 underlying and
interrelated principles of human capital management that are common to
the 9 organizations and viewed as the foundation for their ongoing
success and viability: (a) treat human capital as being fundamental to
strategic business management by integrating human capital
considerations with the organization's mission, strategic goals, core
values, and operational policies and practices; (b) integrate human
capital functional staff into management teams and expand the strategic
role of the staff beyond providing traditional personnel administration
services; (c) supplement internal human capital staff's knowledge and
skills with outside expertise from consultants, professional
associations, and other organizations, as needed; (d) hire, develop, and
sustain leaders according to leadership characteristics identified as
essential to achieving specific missions and goals; (e) communicate a
shared vision that all employees, working as one team, can strive to
accomplish by promoting a common understanding of the mission, strategic
goals; and core values toward which all employees are directed to work
as a team to achieve; (f) hire, develop, and retain employees according
to competencies--knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors--needed to
achieve high performance of mission and goals; (g) provide incentives,
including pay and other meaningful incentives, to link performance to
results and hold employees accountable for contributing to the
achievement of mission and goals; (h) support and reward teams to
achieve high performance by fostering a culture in which individuals
interact and support and learn from each other as a means of
contributing to the high performance of their peers, units, and the
organization as a whole; (i) integrate employee input into the design
and implementation of human capital policies and practices to develop
responsive policies and practices; and (j) measure the effectiveness of
human capital policies and practices by evaluating and making fact-based
decisions on whether human capital policies and practices support high
performance mission and goals; and (3) federal agencies need only to
adopt and adapt to these principles, if necessary, to give human capital
higher priority as they implement performance-based management to
achieve success and higher performance.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  GGD-00-28
     TITLE:  Human Capital: Key Principles From Nine Private Sector
	     Organizations
      DATE:  01/31/2000
   SUBJECT:  Federal agencies
	     Private sector
	     Private sector practices
	     Industrial productivity
	     Performance measures
	     Industrial relations
	     Labor force
	     Human resources utilization
	     Personnel management
	     Productivity in government

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United States General Accounting Office
GAO

Report to Congressional Requesters

January 2000

GAO/GGD-00-28

HUMAN CAPITAL
Key Principles From Nine Private Sector

Organizations

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Contents
Page 221GAO/GGD-00-28 Private Sector Human Capital Principles
Letter                                                                      1
                                                                             
Appendix I                                                                 24
Private Sector
Organizations
                                                                             
Appendix II                                                                26
GAO Contacts and Staff
Acknowledgments
                                                                             
Related GAO Products                                                       28
                                                                             

B-283776

Page 19GAO/GGD-00-28 Private Sector Human Capital
Principles
     B-283776

     January 31, 2000

Congressional Committees:

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993
(GPRA) requires federal agencies to set goals,
measure performance, and report on their
accomplishments as a means of achieving results.
Effective implementation of performance-based
management, as envisioned in GPRA, hinges on
agencies' ability to strategically manage all of
their resources-financial, information technology,
and people-to achieve their missions and goals.
However, agencies' discussions on how they plan to
strategically manage their most important
asset-their people or "human capital"-to achieve
results has been notably absent from many federal
agencies' annual performance plans.1  The federal
workforce represents the largest portion of the
federal government's operating costs, yet many
agencies have not sufficiently indicated how they
will identify their human capital needs, nor how
they will acquire, develop, and deploy their human
capital to improve the economy, efficiency, and
effectiveness with which they serve the American
people.

As part of your Committees' ongoing efforts to
provide federal agencies with information that may
help them better implement performance-based
management, you asked that we identify what common
principles, if any, underlie the human capital
strategies and practices of private sector
organizations regularly cited as leaders in the
area of human capital management.  This report
provides case illustrations that offer practical
examples for federal agencies to consider as they
work to improve their own human capital
strategies.

To gather this information, we interviewed
representatives of nine private sector
organizations that have been recognized in the
current literature as being innovative or
effective in strategically managing their human
capital: Federal Express Corp.; IBM Corp.;
Marriott International, Inc.; Merck and Co., Inc.;
Motorola, Inc.; Sears, Roebuck and Company;
Southwest Airlines Co.; Weyerhaeuser Co.; and
Xerox Corp., Document Solutions Group.  Appendix I
provides more details on the organizations
included in our review.

Certain fundamental differences exist between the
private and public sectors that may raise
questions regarding the applicability or
transferability of management principles derived
from private sector practices.  Not only does the
government not operate for profit, but it also
takes on duties (such as defense) that are
prescribed by the Constitution, is subject to
statutory requirements that do not apply to the
private sector, and takes actions in the public
interest (such as securities or environmental
regulation) that the private sector is not
empowered to take.  Moreover, the government must
meet social, political, or even moral expectations
that may or may not coincide with economic
efficiencies, and government decisionmakers must
operate in a fishbowl, often with legal
requirements for open deliberations and public
involvement that make the decisionmaking process
both lengthy and subject to controversy.
Notwithstanding the unique challenges facing
federal agency leaders, our previous work has
shown that many management principles identified
from the private sector are indeed applicable to
the federal sector, and that these principles can
be applied without changing current law in many
cases.2  This report is intended to provide human
capital principles and associated illustrative
examples that federal managers may wish to
consider as they steer their agencies toward
higher performance.

Results in Brief
Each of the nine private sector organizations in
our review implemented human capital strategies
and practices that were designed to directly
support the achievement of their specific
missions, strategic goals, and core values.
Although human capital management alone cannot
ensure high performance, proper attention to human
capital is a fundamental building block to
achieving an organization's mission and goals.  On
the basis of the information they provided, we
identified 10 underlying and interrelated
principles of human capital management that are
common to the 9 organizations:

     1.  Treat human capital management as being
fundamental to strategic business management.
Integrate human capital considerations when
identifying the mission, strategic goals, and core
values of the organization as well as when
designing and implementing operational policies
and practices.

     2.  Integrate human capital functional staff
into management teams.  Include human capital
leaders as full members of the top management team
rather than isolating them to provide after-the-
fact support.  Expand the strategic role of human
capital staff beyond providing traditional
personnel administration services.

     3.  Leverage the internal human capital
function with external expertise.  Supplement
internal human capital staff's knowledge and
skills by seeking outside expertise from
consultants, professional associations, and other
organizations, as needed.

     4.  Hire, develop, and sustain leaders
according to leadership characteristics identified
as essential to achieving specific missions and
goals.  Identify the leadership traits needed to
achieve high performance of mission and goals, and
build and sustain the organization's pool of
leaders through recruiting, hiring, development,
retention, and succession policies and practices
targeted at producing leaders with the identified
characteristics.

     5.  Communicate a shared vision that all
employees, working as one team, can strive to
accomplish.  Promote a common understanding of the
mission, strategic goals, and core values toward
which all employees are directed to work as a team
to achieve.  Create a line-of-sight between
individual contributions and the organization's
performance and results.

     6.  Hire, develop, and retain employees
according to competencies. Identify the
competencies-knowledge, skills, abilities, and
behaviors-needed to achieve high performance of
mission and goals, and build and sustain the
organization's talent pool through recruiting,
hiring, development, and retention policies and
practices targeted at building and sustaining
those competencies.

     7.  Use performance management systems,
including pay and other meaningful incentives, to
link performance to results.  Provide incentives
and hold employees accountable for contributing to
the achievement of mission and goals.  Reward
those employees who meet or exceed clearly defined
and transparent standards of high performance.

     8.  Support and reward teams to achieve high
performance.  Foster a culture in which
individuals interact and support and learn from
each other as a means of contributing to the high
performance of their peers, units, and the
organization as a whole.  Bring together the right
people with the right competencies to achieve high
performance as a result of, rather than in spite
of, the organizational structure.

     9.  Integrate employee input into the design
and implementation of human capital policies and
practices.  Incorporate the first-hand knowledge
and insights of employees and employee groups to
develop responsive human capital policies and
practices.  Empower employees by making them
stakeholders in the development of solutions and
new methods of promoting and achieving high
performance of organizational missions and goals.

     10.  Measure the effectiveness of human
capital policies and practices.  Evaluate and make
fact-based decisions on whether human capital
policies and practices support high performance of
mission and goals.  Identify the performance
return on human capital investments.

     These 10 principles of human capital
management demonstrate that the 9 organizations
viewed human capital as the foundation for their
ongoing success and viability.  Because these
principles could generally be applied in federal
agencies without statutory changes in many cases,
agencies need only adopt and adapt, if necessary,
these principles to give human capital higher
priority as they implement performance-based
management to achieve success and higher
performance.

Background
The human capital idea centers on viewing people
as assets whose value to an organization can be
enhanced through investment.  As with any
investment, an organization's goal is to maximize
the value of its people to increase organizational
performance capacity, and thus its value to
clients and other stakeholders, while managing the
related costs and risks.3  Like many
organizations, federal agencies are trying to
determine how best to manage their human capital
in the face of significant and ongoing change.
Moreover, GPRA requires that agencies incorporate
human capital management into their annual plans.
This report is intended to provide perspectives on
how some private organizations recognized for good
human capital practices go about managing their
people to achieve their missions and goals.

Scope and Methodology
To gather the requested information on private
sector organizations' human capital management
strategies and practices, we interviewed officials
representing nine private sector organizations on
their approaches to human capital management,
using questions that we developed on the basis of
our previous work on human capital.  We provided
these questions in advance, and we pretested them
during the first of the nine interviews.  We also
analyzed documents and data that were provided by
the organizations or that were publicly available,
including annual and strategic planning documents,
human capital policies, manuals, and other
guidance.  We did not independently verify the
organizations' responses regarding their specific
human capital strategies, policies, and practices,
nor did we speak with the organizations' employees
or unions regarding the organizations' practices.
Our characterizations of the organizations'
practices in this report are based primarily on
what they told us they did.

We used a summary of the organizations' responses
as our primary vehicle for identifying common
human capital principles that described strategies
or practices exhibited by five or more of the nine
organizations.  We prepared case illustrations to
show how the organizations managed their human
capital to respond to their unique circumstances
and needs to achieve organizational missions and
goals.

To identify the private sector organizations
included in our review, we reviewed our previous
work on human capital issues and completed an
extensive review of the current human resources
literature as well as published reports and case
studies.4  For example, we reviewed reports
published by the National Academy of Public
Administration (NAPA) and descriptions of Malcolm
Baldrige National Quality Award winners.  We then
judgmentally selected the organizations to
represent a range of industries, professions, and
organizational sizes.  Appendix I provides more
information on the organizations included in our
review.

The principles of human capital management that we
have identified may not be generalizable to the
universe of all private sector organizations,
because we judgmentally selected the small number
of organizations included in our review from a
limited number of organizations that have commonly
been recognized as leaders in the field of human
capital.  The selection of a different group of
organizations might have yielded different
principles.

We asked the representatives with whom we
consulted to review and comment on a draft of this
report.  These comments are discussed at the end
of this letter.

We performed our review in Washington, D.C.;
Memphis, TN; Armonk, NY; Raleigh, NC; Bethesda,
MD; Hoffman Estates, IL; Dallas, TX; Seattle, WA;
and Rochester, NY; between April 1999 and October
1999, in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards.

Principle 1: Treat Human Capital Management as
Being Fundamental to Strategic Business Management
The private sector organizations included in our
review said they integrated human capital
management with their strategic and day-to-day
business management efforts.  Representatives of
these organizations told us that human capital
issues were of strategic importance to overall
business management because recruiting, hiring,
developing, and retaining employees who have the
specific knowledge, skills, abilities, and
behaviors needed to support missions and goals
enabled the organizations to achieve high
performance.  For this reason, the organizations
explicitly considered and incorporated human
capital issues when developing their strategic
missions, strategies, and core values as well as
when designing and implementing specific policies
and practices.  For example, the organizations
told us that they (1) included language on the
importance of human capital as part of their
corporate missions, (2) included human capital
goals in their strategic plans, and/or (3) adopted
core values and management models that incorporate
human capital and strategic business management.

Case Illustration:
Sears, Roebuck and Company
In response to Sears, Roebuck and Company's poor
financial performance and increasing competition
in the retail industry during the mid-1980s and
early 1990s, representatives told us that the
organization adopted strategic goals that focused
on the importance of managing its human capital as
a means of achieving a financial turnaround.
Since that time, its three strategic goals were to
make the organization a compelling place to work,
a compelling place to shop, and a compelling place
to invest.  In adopting these goals, the
organization recognized the importance of
investing in the capacity of its people as a means
of improving employee performance and satisfaction
and ultimately satisfying the organization's
customers and shareholders.  The organization's
top management team derived these goals, referred
to internally as "the three compellings" or "the
three Cs," on the basis of their human capital
staff's evaluation of employee and customer
surveys as well as financial data that
demonstrated the value of proactively managing an
employee-customer-profit chain.  According to the
representatives, the organization's top management
team integrated human capital and strategic
planning as it designed and implemented many of
its organizational processes, including training
and employee development programs, performance
management programs, and systems for rewards and
recognition.

Case Illustration:
Xerox Corp., Document Solutions Group
According to a representative of Xerox Corp.,
Document Solutions Group, the organization adopted
a management model to guide the design,
implementation, and evaluation of its strategic
goals and objectives in an effort to compete more
effectively for both customers and skilled
employees in the highly competitive and fast-paced
technology industry.  The organization's model
included human capital as one of the key
components that managers must address as a means
of achieving organizational high performance.  The
model also included components on leadership,
business process management, and maintaining a
market focus.  Each model component identified
specific issues that managers were to consider as
they implemented strategies and policies.  Because
the model was directly linked to the
organization's overall mission and goals, its
application was intended to keep managers focused
on the achievement of those goals as they made
strategic and day-to-day decisions.  The
representative told us that management teams used
the model to assess their human capital needs
regarding existing and needed employee
competencies, training, and career paths, and the
extent to which each business unit promoted an
empowering work environment, as a regular part of
their decisionmaking process.

Principle 2: Integrate Human Capital Functional
Staff Into Management Teams
     The private sector organizations in our
review included human capital functional staff on
management teams rather than isolating them
organizationally.  Representatives of these
organizations told us that human capital staff
must assume responsibility beyond providing
personnel administration services by participating
as full members of management teams and ensuring
that those teams proactively address human capital
issues.  By acting in this capacity, the human
capital staff could directly contribute to the
development of a pool of employees who were
capable and motivated to accomplish the
organizations' missions and goals.  For example,
the organizations told us that they involved their
human capital staff as decisionmakers and internal
consultants by having leaders or members of their
human capital staff (1) serve on senior executive
planning committees, (2) consult directly with
line managers regarding specific human capital
strategies, and/or (3) offer expert advice via
centralized human capital offices or Intranet
sites.

Case Illustration:
IBM Corp.
In response to IBM Corp.'s significant downturn in
the early to mid-1990s during which it experienced
business losses and a declining stock price,
representatives told us that the organization
placed a renewed focus on its human capital
strategies and practices.  To incorporate human
capital issues into all strategic business
planning and decisionmaking, the organization
included its human capital functional staff on
management teams at all levels of the
organization.  For example, the organization's
Vice President for Talent served on the top
management team responsible for all high-level
strategic business planning and implementation.
The organization also organized a group of human
capital staff, referred to as HR Partners, to
serve as internal consultants and work directly
with management teams throughout the organization.
The HR Partners served on teams with managers and
provided guidance and expert assistance on
designing and implementing human capital programs
that were legally sound and supported individual
units' goals as well as the organization's overall
strategic goals of improving profitability and
market share within the computer hardware and
software industries.

Case Illustration:
Marriott International, Inc.
A Marriott International, Inc., representative
told us that the organization integrated its human
capital function with strategic planning and
implementation efforts at both the corporate and
operational levels on the basis of internal
research that indicated staff performance was one
of the primary determinants of the organization's
business success.  According to the
representative, two human capital executives
served as members of the Chief Executive Officer's
senior executive committee to help that committee
incorporate human capital management
considerations into the organization's strategic
plan.  Human capital staff also contributed to the
decisionmaking processes of the operational
managers.  For example, the organization required
that business expansion plans receive the approval
of the organization's human capital staff before
they could be implemented.  The representative
told us that this policy ensured that any plans to
build and open a new hotel included an analysis
showing that the targeted area had a sufficient
talent base of the employees-housekeeping, hourly
staff, chefs, and managers-needed to support the
proposed expansion and that the organization had
the resources and ability to compete for that
area's best workers.

Principle 3: Leverage the Internal Human Capital
Function With External Expertise
The private sector organizations included in our
review leveraged the knowledge, skills, and
abilities of their human capital staff by seeking
outside expertise from consultants, professional
associations, and other organizations.
Representatives of these organizations told us
that such outside experts (1) provided cost-
efficient and specialized expertise on an as-
needed basis, (2) introduced a fresh perspective
to addressing the organizations' human capital
challenges, (3) allowed the organizations to
benchmark their human capital policies and
practices against those of other organizations,
and (4) ensured confidentiality when obtaining
employees' input on human capital issues.

Case Illustration:
Motorola, Inc.
A representative of Motorola, Inc., told us that
this organization uses outside consultants to
augment its human capital staff when they do not
have the knowledge, skills, abilities, or
experience to support certain human capital
initiatives.  For example, the organization's
Cellular Infrastructure Group tasked a team of
senior leaders with identifying core leadership
principles upon which to develop a cadre of
leaders capable of sustaining the unit's long-term
success.  The group worked with several outside
consultants in developing these principles.  The
team initially attended team-building activities
led by contractor staff and held at off-site
locations.  The team also contracted with retired
military officers to gain an understanding of
military leadership principles.  As part of this
process, the organization's executives took guided
tours of Civil War battlefields to learn how
different leadership practices and styles
influenced the outcomes of specific battles.  On
the basis of these experiences, the team
identified leadership principles that were
specifically tailored to support the
organization's success at satisfying customers'
increasingly complex needs in the fast-paced
communications industry.  While the organization
could have researched and developed leadership
competencies on its own, the representative told
us that the senior leaders and human capital staff
benefited from the contractors' first-hand and
highly specialized expertise on team building and
effective leadership characteristics.

Case Illustration:
Xerox Corp., Document Solutions Group
A Xerox Corp., Document Solutions Group
representative told us that the organization
improved its human capital strategies and
practices on the basis of external human capital
expertise afforded through its participation in a
national management award competition-the Malcolm
Baldrige National Quality Award Program.5  As part
of the award process, the organization completed a
rigorous self-assessment of its human capital and
other business policies and practices (using award
criteria) and submitted paperwork that was
subsequently reviewed and commented on by outside
examiners who were trained and experienced in
quality management.  A group of the examiners
subsequently visited the organization to observe
its operations and interview key employees.  Upon
the completion of that review, the organization
received a written report that summarized what the
examiners identified as strengths and weaknesses,
relative to the award criteria, of the
organization's various management policies and
practices, including those related to human
capital.  According to the representative, the
organization used this information to improve and
strengthen its internal operations and maintain
the competitiveness of its documents consulting
business.  The organization also adopted a
modified version of the award criteria to continue
guiding the design, implementation, and evaluation
of its human capital policies and practices.

Principle 4: Hire, Develop, and Sustain Leaders
According to Leadership Characteristics Identified
as Essential to Achieving Specific Missions and
Goals
The private sector organizations in our review
considered developing and sustaining their leaders
to be a critical success factor to effective human
capital management and, ultimately, to achieving
organizations' missions and goals.  Each of the
organizations identified its own unique set of
leadership characteristics that it believed were
essential for achieving organizational results and
long-term success, and that served as the basis
for policies designed to recruit, hire, develop,
and sustain leaders who embody the identified
leadership characteristics.6  The organizations
commonly established central training sites, or
universities, that provided training specifically
targeted at assessing, developing, and maintaining
those leadership characteristics among their
current and future leaders.

Case Illustration:
Federal Express Corp.
Federal Express Corp. representatives told us that
their organization used highly structured
leadership development and succession programs to
maintain a pool of employees capable of assuming
positions as first-level managers and executives
to ensure the organization's ongoing business
success in the dynamic global express delivery
industry.  As the basis for all of its leadership
programs, the organization identified core
leadership competencies that defined the
knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors that
the organization believed its leaders must possess
to effectively manage its global workforce.  The
organization required all first-level management
candidates to complete a series of assessments,
including a face-to-face interview, designed to
determine the extent to which they possessed the
identified leadership competencies.  The
organization used the assessment results to screen
and select amongst candidates when filling open,
first-level management positions.  Senior
executives were required periodically to assess
the extent to which mid-level managers exhibited
the organization's desired leadership
characteristics (using an automated, Intranet-
based tool), any unmet development needs, and
their readiness for further promotion.  The
organization supported its leadership programs by
providing internal training that focused on
helping managers develop and maintain their
leadership skills, and that included courses on
teamwork, coaching, diversity, and personal
effectiveness.

Case Illustration: Weyerhaeuser Co.
In response to significant changes in needed
organizational capabilities and an expected
increase in retirements, Weyerhaeuser Co.
representatives told us that the organization
viewed leadership development and succession
planning as essential to maintaining a cadre of
leaders with the customer focus, interpersonal
skills, motivation, and industry-specific
knowledge needed to achieve the organization's
ongoing success in the forest products industry.
The organization centered its leadership programs
on the use of individual employee development
plans.  Specifically, it required leadership
candidates, with the assistance of their immediate
supervisors, to complete individual development
plans that outlined the candidates' career goals
and their strategies (including training and
developmental assignments) for achieving those
goals.  The candidates also received 360-degree
feedback from peers, supervisors, and other
employees with whom they worked on the extent to
which they exhibited the leadership competencies
that the organization identified as essential for
competing and succeeding in the forest products
industry.  This feedback was gathered using a
questionnaire, the results of which were used by
the candidates and their supervisors to identify
any deficiencies or needed amendments to the
candidates' development plans.  Thus, the
individual development plans were living documents
that were changed and updated to reflect each
candidate's progress toward developing their full
leadership potential.

Principle 5: Communicate a Shared Vision That All
Employees, Working as One Team, Can Strive to
Accomplish
The private sector organizations included in our
review generally said they communicated a
consistent vision about the organizations'
missions, goals, and core values.  As a result,
representatives of these organizations told us
that their employees had a shared or common
understanding of how their individual-and more
importantly, their combined-efforts contributed to
the organizations' overall results and successes.
The representatives told us that the organizations
used several communication formats to build
organizational teamwork, including formats that
encouraged or enabled two-way communication
between leaders and employees, to create a line-of-
sight between employees' efforts and their
organizations' outcomes.

Case Illustration:
Federal Express Corp.
To build employees' sense of organizational
teamwork in the face of their being physically
dispersed around the world, Federal Express Corp.
representatives told us that the organization
viewed communication as a key factor in achieving
the organization's mission and goals.  To help
employees understand how their individual efforts
contributed to serving customers in the global
express shipping industry, one of the
organization's primary communication strategies
was to establish a company television station,
referred to as FXTV, that broadcasted a daily 5-
minute message (via videotape) to all work sites.
The broadcast was repeated throughout the day to
accommodate employees' varied work schedules.
Senior managers also used the broadcast system on
a monthly basis to hold town hall meetings or call-
in shows that allowed employees to directly
communicate with the organization's leadership.
In addition to the organization's use of
technology, the representatives stated that
Federal Express also continued to rely upon its
work-site managers to effectively communicate the
shared vision of the organization with employees.
Federal Express provided managers with printed
material as a supplement to the messages televised
on FXTV so that their communication with employees
was accurate and consistent.  According to the
representatives, the organization believed that
these broadcasts and employees' communication with
managers encouraged employees to identify
themselves as members of a larger team working
together to achieve the success of the
organization.

Case Illustration:
Southwest Airlines Co.
Southwest Airlines Co. representatives told us
that the organization believed that continuous
formal and informal communication among and across
all levels of staff was essential to instilling
and maintaining their employees' strong sense of
organizational teamwork, pride, and commitment
that contributed to its ability to provide
affordable airfare for its customers, job security
for its employees, and profitability for its
investors in the highly competitive passenger
airline industry.  Recognizing the difficulties of
communicating consistently with employees who are
located at geographically dispersed work sites and
who may additionally be airborne at any given
moment, the organization relied on multiple
avenues of formal communication.  For example,
their communications staff published regular
newsletters and other written publications;
sponsored on-site bulletin boards; produced
videotapes; and more recently, maintained a
redesigned company Intranet.  All communications
were intended to keep employees informed of the
organization's strategies, performance, programs,
and current events.  The organization also
encouraged informal communications by sponsoring
regular "celebrations" and community-based
charitable events that provided increased
opportunities for employees to interact with each
other.

Principle 6: Hire, Develop, and Retain Employees
According to Competencies
Given recent high employment labor markets, the
private sector organizations in our review placed
particular emphasis on maintaining a pool of
employees who exhibited competencies-commonly
defined in the private sector as including
knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors-that
they deemed essential to achieving their specific
missions and goals.  After identifying these
competencies, the organizations implemented human
capital policies and practices that were designed
to competitively hire, develop, and retain
employees with the desired competencies within
their industry and market locations.

Case Illustration:
Marriott International, Inc.
A Marriott International, Inc., representative
told us that the organization placed special
emphasis on developing its employees' skills to
support personal development as well as the
organization's mission and goals of maintaining
and expanding its market share in the lodging and
hospitality services industries.  Specifically,
the organization adopted a career-banded pay
system that explicitly identified the skills and
abilities needed for broad categories of jobs and
that was designed to focus employees more on
achieving long-term professional development than
on periodic pay increases.  The system's career
bands allowed employees to take lateral
assignments that could potentially develop their
professional skills and broaden their experience
within the organization without necessarily
affecting their rate of pay, as was often the case
under the organization's previous pay system.  The
representative also told us that the organization
planned to provide all employees with access to an
assessment survey (originally available only to
executives and managers) that he said would help
employees identify their career development goals
and develop action plans to help them achieve
those goals.  The organization also sponsored a
variety of training opportunities, provided
internally or by a contractor, that were intended
to support all employees' career development
goals.

Case Illustration:
Merck and Co., Inc.
A Merck and Co., Inc., representative told us that
in 1995, senior management concluded that the
organization needed to develop the leadership
skills of all of its employees to enhance their
ability to respond effectively and efficiently to
changes in the marketplace and successfully
accomplish the organization's mission of
developing drugs and other treatments to improve
human health.  To respond to this challenge, the
organization developed a leadership model
consisting of core competencies that guided the
design and implementation of its recruitment,
selection, development, evaluation, rewards, and
retention strategies.  For example, the
organization explicitly evaluated all job
candidates on the extent to which they exhibited
the organization's identified competencies and
hired those individuals whose behaviors, skills,
and attitudes helped to fill certain perceived
gaps in the organization's workforce.  The
organization's formal training and development
programs also focused on developing those same
competencies, and managers were required to work
with employees in preparing individual development
plans that did likewise.  Decisions on informal
rewards as well as merit and incentive pay were
again linked to employees' performance regarding
the core competencies.

Principle 7: Use Performance Management Systems,
Including Pay and Other Meaningful Incentives, to
Link Performance to Results
The private sector organizations included in our
review used performance management systems,
including pay and other meaningful incentives, to
link performance to the achievement of the
organizations' missions and goals.  To promote
this linkage, the organizations generally
implemented pay for performance, profit sharing,
variable pay, and/or some combination of these
approaches as well as various incentive policies.
The organizations commonly attempted to balance
their pay and incentive programs to encourage both
individual and team-based high performance. For
example, the representatives of one organization
told us that they specifically limited the use of
cash incentives because they believed that (1)
such incentives promoted internal competition at
the expense of organizational teamwork and (2)
employees might view extra cash payments as
entitlements rather than rewards for exceptional
performance.

Case Illustration:
IBM Corp.
IBM Corp. representatives told us that the
organization used a dynamic performance appraisal
system tied to incentive pay to increase
employees' accountability for and reward their
success at personally aligning their efforts to
support the success of their business units and
the organization as a whole.  After senior
managers completed the annual strategic planning
process, the organization required that all
employees develop personal business commitments
that described what specific contributions they
would make to help their team, business unit, and
the organization to achieve that year's strategic
goals.  Employees were then assessed on the extent
to which they subsequently met their commitments
during year-end performance appraisals, and
managers used appraisal results to distribute any
available bonus money within and across business
units.  Such a system is said to be dynamic
because the standards for high performance change,
and often become more challenging, from year to
year.  The representatives told us that allowing
employees to set their own goals and limiting the
percentage of employees eligible to receive an
enhanced share of available bonus money motivated
employees to set higher goals each year and
ultimately enabled the organization to regain its
profitability and ongoing viability after
suffering business losses and stock price declines
during the early to mid-1990s.

Case Illustration:
Sears, Roebuck and Company
Sears, Roebuck and Company representatives told us
that the organization's performance management
system evaluated and rewarded employees on the
basis of whether their contributions helped the
organization achieve its three strategic goals of
making the organization a compelling place to
work, a compelling place to shop, and a compelling
place to invest.  The organization also evaluated
the extent to which employees possessed certain
competencies and how well they fulfilled
individual goals that they established with their
supervisors.  Employees were eligible for various
cash awards, including stock options and bonuses
linked to a specific store's financial
performance.  The specific performance appraisal
and reward processes varied according to whether
employees were full-time and salaried versus part-
time associates.  Moreover, the executive
performance appraisal process also included a 360-
degree feedback component that allowed their
performances to be measured on the basis of input
provided by supervisors, peers, and other
employees as well as financial performance data.

Principle 8: Support and Reward Teams to Achieve
High Performance
The private sector organizations included in our
review commonly supported and rewarded teams as a
means of achieving high performance.  The
organizations implemented a variety of mechanisms
to promote doing work as teams, including the use
of cross-functional (or matrixed) teams to address
strategic goals or customer-specific needs, and
team-based incentives and reward programs.

Case Illustration:
Motorola, Inc.
A Motorola, Inc., representative told us that the
organization often relied on cross-functional and
cross-business unit teams to address strategic
business issues, design internal work systems and
processes, and meet customer demands more
effectively.  For example, the representative told
us that two distinct divisions of the organization
worked together to provide cellular services in
Japan-one designed cellular phones while the other
developed the cellular network infrastructure.
These divisions formed teams, which also included
external stakeholders, such as customer and
supplier representatives, to align their efforts
to meet customer demands.  Also, to support and
reward teamwork, the organization sponsored
competitions in which manufacturing and service
delivery teams established objectives and competed
with each other on the basis of how well their
team's members worked together to satisfy their
customers.  According to the representative,
thousands of employees working in hundreds of
teams representing organizational divisions
worldwide entered the competition, and a group of
these teams were recognized annually by being
selected to participate in a final round that was
judged by the senior management team.

Case Illustration:
Southwest Airlines Co.
Southwest Airlines Co. representatives told us
that the organization's employees viewed
themselves as one unified team working together to
achieve the organization's mission and strategic
goals in the passenger airline industry.  To
support and reward employees for working together
as one team, the organization explicitly
incorporated maintaining teamwork as a component
of nearly every human capital strategy.  However,
the organization believed that the key to
maintaining its team-oriented workforce was
through carefully recruiting and selecting new
employees primarily on the basis of their
attitudes as opposed to their skills, which the
organization believed could generally be taught
either on-the-job or during formal training.  The
representatives stressed that pilots and mechanics
were also required to exhibit appropriate
attitudes in addition to clearly meeting skills
requirements.  The organization, with assistance
from a consulting organization, identified the
high performance attributes associated with
specific jobs and administered a behavioral
interview process to identify which job candidates
possessed those desired characteristics.  The
organization generally hired 1 of every 50
candidates it interviewed.  Moreover, the
organization kept only those employees who fit its
culture, and the representatives told us that
employees who did not fit generally elected to
leave on their own within a short time-about 20
percent of new hires left the organization during
the initial 1- to 5-week training period and
another 15 percent left within their first 6
months.

Principle 9: Integrate Employee Input Into the
Design and Implementation of Human Capital
Policies and Practices
The private sector organizations included in our
review commonly sought their employees' input on a
periodic basis and explicitly addressed and used
that input to adjust their human capital
strategies and practices.  The organizations
collected employees' input using employee
satisfaction surveys, convening focus groups,
and/or including employees on task forces.  They
sought to draw on employees' frontline knowledge
of work processes and customer needs and to
empower employees to contribute constructive ideas
for improvement to the organizations' existing
human capital policies and practices.

Case Illustration:
Federal Express Corp.
Consistent with the Federal Express Corp.
management philosophy that investing in employees
leads to customer satisfaction and profitability,
representatives told us that the organization
explicitly considered employees' input when
designing and implementing human capital
strategies and practices to support its mission
and goals.  The organization used a structured
survey-feedback-action process in which it
periodically distributed a voluntary and
confidential survey to collect employee views on
managers, strategies and practices, and the work
environment.  The representatives told us that the
organization began using this survey-feedback-
action process in 1979 and approximately 97
percent of its employees elected to participate
each year.  First-line managers discussed the
survey results with their employees to elicit
employees' ideas on which issues were of most
concern and what corrective actions were needed.
Managers submitted this information, including who
would be accountable for implementing each
proposed action and within what specific
deadlines, to the next highest level of management
where implementation of the action plans was
monitored.  As an additional accountability
measure, a portion of the survey also comprised
the organization's leadership measure; thus,
survey results could affect managers' annual
bonuses.

Case Illustration:
Weyerhaeuser Co.
Weyerhaeuser Co. representatives told us that the
organization included employees who represented
multiple units on teams that were tasked with
addressing human capital or business process
challenges identified using employee satisfaction
surveys because the organization believed it could
improve efficiency and effectiveness and lower
overall costs by more consistently implementing
strategies and practices across its varied forest
product units.  The organization created task
teams to develop new or redesigned strategies and
practices to address perceived challenges
consistently throughout the organization.  The
teams, which generally consisted of managers,
employees, union representatives, and outside
consultants, followed a structured process to
define desired outcomes or measures of success for
new/redesigned policies, identify and assess
possible options, and consider any barriers or
boundaries to successful and consistent
implementation of the option they ultimately
proposed.  As part of their proposed solutions,
the teams also designated individuals within the
organization who should be accountable for ongoing
implementation.  The representatives told us that
this task team process not only allowed employees
to influence the organization's human capital
practices, but also provided them with training
and developmental opportunities that supported the
organization's leadership development and
succession programs.

Principle 10: Measure the Effectiveness of Human
Capital Policies and Practices
The private sector organizations included in our
review generally measured the effectiveness of
their human capital policies and practices using a
wide variety of approaches and indicators.  They
emphasized the importance, but also the
difficulty, of developing fact-based measures by
which to judge not only bottom-line results but
also the success of specific human capital
strategies and practices.  The organizations'
representatives told us that measures of
organizational performance, outputs and outcomes,
and customer and employee satisfaction helped
their employees understand how their efforts
directly contributed to the organizations'
success.  They also told us that the use of such
measures helped hold managers accountable for
designing and implementing human capital
strategies that supported the organizations'
missions and goals.

Case Illustration:
Sears, Roebuck and Company
Sears, Roebuck and Company representatives told us
that they evaluated the success and effect of
their human capital strategies and policies using
measures that they believed to be as rigorous and
auditable as more traditional financial measures.
The organization developed its human capital
measures with the assistance of an
econometric/statistical firm to provide managers
with information on the likely drivers of future
financial performance.  These measures included
employee and customer satisfaction survey data as
well as financial performance data.  The
representatives told us that, among other things,
the measures consistently demonstrated that career
advancement, responsive first-line supervision,
and access to training opportunities directly
affected employee satisfaction and ultimately
supported the organization's ability to achieve
its mission and goals in the highly competitive
retail industry.  Thus, the organization used its
evaluation results to adjust its human capital
strategies and practices to help the organization
continuously improve its performance.

Case Illustration:
Merck and Co., Inc.
A Merck and Co., Inc., representative told us that
the organization periodically measured and
evaluated the effectiveness of its human capital
policies and practices because it believed that
treating employees with dignity and respect would
lead to high performance of the organization's
mission to develop drugs and other treatments that
improve human health.  In 1999, the organization
completed a global assessment of its human capital
strategies and practices by visiting several of
its locations throughout the world to collect
employees' views on whether these policies and
practices were supporting the organization's
mission and goals.  The global assessment
consisted of convening focus groups of employees
who were assembled to respond to a satisfaction
survey and discuss in more detail specific results
of that survey and the impact of certain human
capital policies and practices.  The
representative told us that senior managers used
employees' input to help identify the extent to
which each human capital policy supported the
organization's mission and goals and under what
conditions.  Moreover, the senior managers could
opt to redesign or revise certain human capital
policies on the basis of employee input to improve
the organization's ability to achieve its mission
and goals.

Observations
Representatives of the nine private sector
organizations included in this review emphasized
that their organizations strategically managed
their human capital as a means to achieve success
and high performance of their missions, goals, and
core values.   The 10 principles of human capital
management that we identified demonstrate that
these organizations viewed human capital as the
foundation for their ongoing success and
viability.

The people that define agencies' character and
capacity to perform-their human capital-are also
the foundation for achieving high performance in
federal agencies.  Yet reforming the management of
agencies' human capital remains an unfilled gap in
the recent overall management framework that
Congress has created for federal agencies, which
addressed financial management, information
technology management, and performance-based
management.  However, the application of the 10
principles of human capital management identified
in this report would not require statutory changes
in many cases.  Agencies need only adopt and
adapt, if necessary, these principles as part of
their efforts to give human capital a higher
priority as they implement performance-based
management.  Although many factors ultimately
contribute to highly performing organizations,
agencies, like the private sector organizations we
reviewed, could increase the likelihood of
achieving success and high performance by
incorporating these principles into the management
of their human capital.

Organization Comments and Our Evaluation
We requested that knowledgeable representatives
from each of the nine private sector organizations
review and comment on a draft of the principles,
case illustrations, and corporate information for
accuracy and completeness.  We received a mixture
of written and oral responses from all of the
organizations, and they agreed that the principles
we identified and the case illustrations we
provided accurately described the organizations'
human capital strategies for achieving their
missions, goals, and core values.  Several
organizations offered comments of a technical or
clarifying nature.  We made changes, as
appropriate, to this report to reflect these
comments.

We are sending copies of this report to the
Honorable Janice R. Lachance, Director, Office of
Personnel Management, and the Honorable Jacob J.
Lew, Director, Office of Management and Budget.
Copies will also be made available to others upon
request.

Key contributors to this report are listed in
appendix II.  If you have any questions, please
call me or Jennifer Cruise at (202) 512-8676.

Michael Brostek
Associate Director, Federal Management
   and Workforce Issues

List of Congressional Committees

The Honorable Fred Thompson
Chairman
The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable George V. Voinovich
Chairman
The Honorable Richard J. Durbin
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Oversight of
   Government Management, Restructuring, and
   the District of Columbia
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United State Senate

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman
The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on International
   Security, Proliferation and Federal Services
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United State Senate

The Honorable Dan Burton
Chairman
The Honorable Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Government Reform
House of Representatives

The Honorable Stephen Horn
Chairman
The Honorable Jim Turner
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Government Management,
   Information, and Technology
Committee on Government Reform
House of Representatives

The Honorable Joe Scarborough
Chairman
The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Civil Service
Committee on Government Reform
House of Representatives

_______________________________
1 See Managing for Results:  Opportunities for
Continued Improvements in Agencies' Performance
Plans (GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215, July 20, 1999).
2 See Transforming the Civil Service: Building the
Workforce of the Future-Results of a GAO-Sponsored
Symposium (GAO/GGD-96-35, Dec. 20, 1995).
3 See Human Capital:  A Self-Assessment Checklist
for Agency Leaders (GAO/GGD-99-179, Sept. 1999).
4See GAO/GGD-99-179; GAO/GGD-96-35; and Major
Management Challenges and Program Risks:  A
Governmentwide Perspective (GAO/OCG-99-1, Jan.
1999).
5 Xerox Business Services, which formerly included
the Document Solutions Group, was awarded the
Malcolm Baldrige Award for Quality in 1997.
6 The organizations in our review generally
regarded their specific identified leadership
characteristics as proprietary and essential to
their organizations' competitive advantage.  Thus,
we did not include examples of the specific
characteristics they identified in this report.

Appendix I
Private Sector Organizations
Page 25GAO/GGD-00-28 Private Sector Human Capital
Principles
The following is summary information about the
private sector organizations' respective
industries, workforce sizes, and workforce
compositions.  The percentage of unionized
employees varied among the organizations from 0
percent to 85 percent.

�    Federal Express Corp., a global express
distribution corporation, delivers packages to
approximately 210 countries each work day. The
organization employs a workforce of 148,000
individuals worldwide, including couriers, package
handlers, drivers, and pilots as well as corporate
management.

�    IBM Corp. creates, develops, and manufactures
computer systems, software, networking systems,
storage devices, and microelectronics among other
information technologies.  The organization also
offers advanced technology consulting services
worldwide through its professional solutions and
services businesses.  IBM employs approximately
300,000 individuals worldwide, including 150,000
employees in the United States, and has business
operations in 164 countries.

�    Marriott International, Inc., is a worldwide
hospitality company with a broad portfolio of
hotels, resorts, senior living services, and food
distribution services. The organization's
workforce consists of over 140,000 employees,
including hotel staff-hourly associates,
supervisors, and managers-and corporate managers.

�    Merck and Co., Inc., is a global research-
driven pharmaceutical company that discovers,
develops, manufactures, and markets a broad range
of human and animal health products.  The company
has a workforce of about 57,000 employees.

�    Motorola, Inc., is a worldwide provider of
wireless communications, semiconductors, and
advanced electronic systems, components, and
services. The organization employs over 133,000
employees in approximately 50 countries throughout
the world as technicians, software technicians,
manufacturers, salespeople, marketing executives,
project managers, administrative personnel, and
corporate executives and officers.
�

Sears, Roebuck and Company operates more than 850
retail department stores and 2,100 specialty
stores, including automotive and hardware stores.
The organization's workforce consists of
approximately 330,000 employees, most of whom are
part-time employees, in a variety of positions,
including local sales associates, service
technicians, credit specialists, and store
managers as well as corporate executives and
officers.

�    Southwest Airlines Co. provides passenger
airline service to 56 cities in the United States.
With a workforce of about 29,000 individuals, the
organization employs reservation agents, flight
attendants, customer service representatives,
mechanics, ramp agents, pilots, administrative
staff, and corporate executives and officers.
�    Weyerhaeuser Co. is an international forest
products company that grows and harvests trees;
manufactures, distributes, and sells pulp, paper,
and packaging products; and constructs and
develops real estate. The organization employs
more than 35,000 individuals in the United States
and Canada in a variety of professions, including
production employees, construction workers,
research scientists, information technology
specialists, and operational specialists in areas
such as finance, human capital, and corporate
management.
�    Xerox Corp., Document Solutions Group is a
document consulting organization that provides
business services, such as document outsourcing,
systems integration, Internet and software
assistance, manufacturing, and graphic artistry.
The organization employs more than 20,000
employees, including copier and computer
technicians, salespeople, manufacturers,
administrative personnel, operational specialists,
and corporate executives and officers.

Appendix II
GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Page 26GAO/GGD-00-28 Private Sector Human Capital
Principles
GAO Contacts
Michael Brostek, (202) 512-8676
Jennifer S. Cruise, (202) 512-8676

Acknowledgments
     In addition to the individuals named above,
Stephen Altman, Thomas C. Fox, Martin De Alteriis,
Robert J. Heitzman, and Alan N. Belkin made key
contributions to this report.

Related GAO Products
Page 30GAO/GGD-00-28 Private Sector Human Capital
Principles
Human Capital: A Self-Assessment Checklist for
Agency Leaders (GAO/GGD-99-179, Sept. 1999).

Federal Workforce: Payroll and Human Capital
Changes During Downsizing (GAO/GGD-99-57, Aug. 13,
1999).

Managing for Results: Opportunities for Continued
Improvements in Agencies' Performance Plans
(GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215, July 20, 1999).

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: A
Governmentwide Perspective (GAO/OCG-99-1, Jan.
1999).

Performance Management: Aligning Employee
Performance With Agency Goals at Six Results Act
Pilots (GAO/GGD-98-162, Sept. 4, 1998).

Federal Employees' Compensation Act: Percentages
of Take-Home Pay Replaced by Compensation Benefits
(GAO/GGD-98-174, Aug. 17, 1998).

Management Reform: Agencies' Initial Efforts to
Restructure Personnel Operations (GAO/GGD-98-93,
July 13, 1998).

The Results Act: An Evaluator's Guide to Assessing
Agency Annual Performance Plans (GAO/GGD-10.1.20,
Apr. 1998).

Agencies' Annual Performance Plans Under the
Results Act: An Assessment Guide to Facilitate
Congressional Decisionmaking (GAO/GGD/AIMD-
10.1.18, Feb. 1998).

Trends in the Growth of Advisory and Assistance
Service Contracting (GAO/GGD-97-12R, Oct. 31,
1996).

Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the
Government Performance and Results Act (GAO/GGD-96-
118, June 1996).

Transforming the Civil Service: Building the
Workforce of the Future (GAO/GGD-96-35, Dec. 20,
1995).

Retention Allowances: Usage and Compliance Vary
Among Federal Agencies (GAO/GGD-96-32, Dec. 11,
1995).

Civil Service Reform: Changing Times Demand New
Approaches (GAO/T-GGD-96-31, Oct. 12, 1995).

Managing for Results: Critical Actions for
Measuring Performance (GAO/T-GGD/AIMD-95-187, June
20, 1995).

Federal Hiring: Reconciling Managerial Flexibility
With Veterans' Preference (GAO/GGD-95-102, June
16, 1995).

Managing for Results: Experiences Abroad Suggest
Insights for Federal Management Reforms (GAO/GGD-
95-120, May 2, 1995).

Federal Quality Management: Strategies for
Involving Employees (GAO/GGD-95-79, Apr. 18,
1995).

Managing for Results: State Experiences Provide
Insights for Federal Management Reforms (GAO/GGD-
95-22, Dec. 1994).

Federal Employment: How Government Jobs Are Viewed
on Some College Campuses (GAO/GGD-94-181, Sept. 9,
1994).

Government Contractors: Measuring Costs of Service
Contractors Versus Federal Employees (GAO/GGD-94-
95, Mar. 10, 1994).

Federal Personnel: Employment Policy Challenges
Created by an Aging Workforce (GAO/GGD-93-138,
Sept. 23, 1993).

Improving Government: Measuring Performance and
Acting on Proposals for Change (GAO/T-GGD-93-14,
Mar. 23, 1993).

Federal Performance Management: Agencies Need
Greater Flexibility in Designing Their Systems
(GAO/GGD-93-57, Feb. 24, 1993).

Federal Employment: How Federal Employees View the
Government as a Place to Work (GAO/GGD-92-91, June
18, 1992).

Senior Executive Service: Opinions About the
Federal Work Environment (GAO/GGD-92-63, May 1,
1992).

The Changing Workforce: Comparison of Federal and
Nonfederal Work/Family Programs and Approaches
(GAO/GGD-92-84, Apr. 23, 1992).

The Changing Workforce: Demographic Issues Facing
the Federal Government (GAO/GGD-92-38, Mar. 24,
1992).

Organizational Culture: Techniques Companies Use
to Perpetuate or Change Beliefs and Values
(GAO/NSIAD-92-105, Feb. 1992).

Federal Workforce: Continuing Need for Affirmative
Employment (GAO/GGD-92-27BR, Nov. 27, 1991).

Federal Labor Relations: A Program in Need of
Reform (GAO/GGD-91-101, July 30, 1991).

Performance Management: How Well Is the Government
Dealing With Poor Performers? (GAO/GGD-91-95, July
16, 1991).

Federal Recruiting and Hiring: Making Government
Jobs Attractive to Prospective Employees (GAO/GGD-
90-105, Aug. 22, 1990).

*** End of Document ***