OPM Provides Information on Abolishment of Human Capital Officers Role

A recent memo from OPM to chief human capital officers outlines details about upcoming changes to the agency’s HR management policy.

A recent memo from OPM to chief human capital officers says that effective governance in the 21st century depends on a strategic approach to HR management offering both ongoing policy direction as well as the opportunity for exploring innovative strategies. To that end, the agency is setting up a new organization within Employee Services and the memo provides details about what can be expected with the upcoming changes.

The full memo is listed below.



Angela Bailey
Associate Director, Employee Services

Subject: Employee Services Reorganization and Abolishment of the Human Capital Officers Role

As many of you know, the OPM Employee Services group is readjusting its services that provide technical assistance to the HR Community.  We are convinced that effective governance in the 21st Century is dependent upon a strategic approach to HR Management that offers both ongoing policy direction as well as the opportunity for exploring innovative strategies.

OPM is taking a significant step towards realizing this goal by standing up a new organization within Employee Services.  The Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) center, led by Dr. Sydney Smith-Heimbrock, focuses on three essential objectives:

  • Providing accurate, timely forecasts about trends and future scenarios;
  • Designing and supporting integrated strategies that address emerging workforce priorities; and
  • Enabling innovation in the Federal workforce’s policy and practices.

Aside from notifying you of these organizational and directional changes, I want to assure you that our offices and staff will continue to be available to assist you over the next few weeks as we finalize our realignment.  Briefly, here is what to expect.

First, for those of you that have been working with our Human Capital Officers (HCOs) for guidance and advice regarding HR policy and its application, we will be transitioning this role to our policy offices and their staffs.  This will not only provide you a direct line for guidance on employment programs, policy advisories and approvals, and technical assistance, it will also expand your opportunity to share ideas on policy, solutions and practices directly with our policy staff who deal intimately with these issues.  To help guide this transition, your current HCO will be contacting you directly with this information.

The HCOs will shift their focus from servicing a specific list of agencies, to driving innovative new practices across government through pilot projects that address the Administration’s most critical priorities.  Changing their name to “HR Strategist”, OPM is asking these HR professionals to partner with you to design, implement and assess pilot projects in areas such as skills gap closure, workforce restructuring, and other priority areas of HR.  Your current HCO will share with you the opportunities we have for partnering with OPM on these exciting initiatives.

This shift in focus will allow our new Center for Strategic Workforce Planning to provide direct support to key interagency workgroups, and to convene cross- government events that expose our community to future focused thinking around workforce trends and performance.  Stay tuned as we prepare to announce events and activities designed to expose you to the latest thinking on people management and leadership.

I hope that you share my enthusiasm and belief that the quality of governance is a reflection of the quality of its people, and, in that, we have a critical role to play as HR Managers and professionals.  Working together, we will design a strategic approach to HR policy that will enable us to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century.  I am committed to assuring a seamless transition for you as we shift the focus of our HCOs and integrate our agency services back into our policy offices.  I am confident that in the end, we will be able to better to serve you and amplify your voice to the broader community.

We will be reaching out to many of you personally over the next few weeks to help orient you to these changes.  In addition, attached please find the contact information sheet which reflects the points of contacts from the various OPM policy offices who are available to service your human capital needs.

cc:  Human Resource Directors


Post-Reorganization Transition Points of Contact

Employee Services Policy Offices

Pay and Leave:  (202) 606-2858; pay-leave-policy@opm.gov

Recruitment and Hiring Policy:

Hiring Policy (202) 606-0960; employ@opm.gov

Classification and Assessment Policy (202) 606-3600; fedclass@opm.gov

Recruitment and Outreach (202) 606-0830; outreach@opm.gov Pathways Programs for Students & Recent Graduates (202) 606-1040; pathways@opm.gov

Partnership and Labor Relations:  (202) 606-2930; plr@opm.gov

Veteran Services:  Berlyn Cooper, (202) 606-2536; berlyn.cooper@opm.gov

Senior Executive Service and Performance Management:

General inquiries may be directed to Patricia (Trish) Chatman, (202) 606-8046; patricia.chatman@opm.gov

Performance Management questions may be directed to Karen Lebing, (202) 606-1633; karen.lebing@opm.gov

Leadership Development questions may be directed to Julie Brill, (202) 606-5067; julie.brill@opm.gov

SES transactional services questions (e.g., QRB, SES/SL/ST allocations, non-career appointments) should be directed to (202) 606-2246; SERS@opm.gov

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.