Do you know what a CHCO is? If you don’t, you should!

Ensuring a government agency is meeting its goals and responsibilities requires the right moving parts to be in the right places, or better known as, human capital management. In an effort to better manage employee responsibilities of a government agency on a higher level and ensure each department is functioning at best, the role of a Chief Human Capital Officer Act (CHCO) was established as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The Chief Human Capital Officers Act of 2002 allows government agencies to appoint a chief policy advisor to oversee and manage all human resources management issues, requiring the heads of 24 Executive Departments and agencies to designate a CHCO in supervising the necessary tasks of creating and maintaining of a productive workforce.

Not to be confused with Human Resources Directors, the CHCO goes beyond typical HR duties. This overarching position requires detailed advising and assistance to the head of the agency and other agency officials in successfully carrying out an agency’s goals, strategic plans, responsibilities, greater work productivity, as well as proper implementation of rules and regulations of the President and the Office of Personnel Management. Some of a CHCO’s primary duties include: workforce development, identifying future needs to better accomplish goals and meet performance, developing a culture in which an agency can retain and attract valued talent, identify the agency’s best practices by measuring work statistics, performance, and growth.

What this means for you?

This position doesn’t have the authority to make budgetary decisions or have hands on oversight of information technology projects, which prohibits the ability to make some necessary improvements in human capital management across the agencies. Congress previously recognized this problem, and created a CIO, Chief Information Officer, with the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), giving CIOs the ability to oversee budgets and the execution of HR IT projects; but, if there is to be a forward movement in human capital management, the best scenario would be to reform the CHCO Act by implementing legislation like FITARA to combine abilities of a CHCO and CIO, giving the CHCO greater actionable authority to help deliverability of strategic plans, as well as more hands on authority throughout.

MFN 51 (5/8/2018)

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Chief HRO, May 7, 2018


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