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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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Evolution of Human Capital Management

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There has been an evolutionary progression from “Personnel” to “Human Resources” to “Human Capital” that can be depicted in terms of focus, strategies, and products and services that has led to success during each phase.

Select this link to view a model that depicts the phases of human capital evolution.PDF File [44 KB]

  • The human capital phase does not ignore the HR and personnel areas; instead it builds on and expands the focus, strategies, and products and services of those phases to move to strategic human capital management, which is all encompassing.

  • Each phase is further represented by a metaphor and the fundamental shift in thinking, or paradigm change, that must occur for human capital practitioners to be successful.

The evolution of strategic human capital management is cumulative; the evolutionary phases build on each other.

Select this link to view a model that depicts the cumulative nature of the evolution of strategic human capital management.PDF File [102 KB]

  • All phases are important and need to be considered as integrated building blocks to strategically manage human capital. Thus, a human capital system cannot be credible to its management without demonstrating operational efficiency and meeting legal and regulatory requirements.

  • The challenge today is for HR organizations in Federal agencies to assume a strategic consulting role while maintaining excellence in traditional personnel and human resources services.

Strategic human capital management focuses on results aligned with mission and strategy, not processes. It places the right people in the right jobs at the right time to most effectively perform the work of the organization and has become a focal point of Federal agencies.

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