Jul 27, 2009
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation directed the Army to move Army Human Resources Command (HRC) from its locations in Alexandria, Virginia, Indianapolis, Indiana, and St. Louis, Missouri to Fort Knox, Kentucky and to consolidate all functions there by September 2011. Additionally, the Department of the Army directed a 30 percent reduction in HRC's staff, requiring reorganization of the command. RAND Arroyo Center was asked to examine HRC's ability to meet the Army's military personnel demands with a modified organizational structure in its new location. Arroyo identified numerous complications arising from the reduced organizational structure. Many of the complications centered on shortfalls in the kinds of staff expertise required to handle difficult issues occurring in a new organizational context. In light of the difficulties these shortfalls would eventually pose for HRC and the Army, HRC asked Arroyo to help resolve the problem.
To identify the competencies required by personnel at each level of HRC (executive, senior, and line levels), Arroyo developed personnel competency models for those positions that would survive HRC's reorganization. Arroyo also did a "gap analysis" of differences between competencies that key HRC staff would need to have in the future and HRC's ability to address them over the near and longer terms (i.e., beyond 2012), in terms of skill and manpower availability in the greater Fort Knox area. Arroyo researchers also developed training concepts to close gaps between the future workforce's competency needs and the availability of these skills, taking the new location and organizational structure into account. To ascertain what competencies might be required in the new organization, Arroyo researchers crafted 150 survey questions related to HRC competencies identified in the professional literature and in interviews with HRC staff. These questions were subsequently posed in a web-based survey. Competencies required for effectiveness in respective positions, associated proficiency levels, and the types of education, training, and work experience perceived as required were all surveyed, with a response rate of 68 percent.
The research led to the following three findings.
The findings led Arroyo researchers to make four recommendations. First, HRC should formulate an institutional human capital strategy to provide a coherent framework to guide marketing, hiring, training, performance evaluation, and other activities designed to create, develop, and retain a new workforce. Development and implementation of this strategy should begin now. Designation of an executive-level staff agent to lead the development of its human capital strategy is essential. HRC would further profit by designating a Chief of Training and Staff Development at this crucial time, to integrate personnel competency requirements into training activities across the organization and to work with HRC supervisors and employees to determine staff development needs and strategies.
Second, HRC should use personnel competency modeling results from Arroyo research to determine competency and proficiency requirements. Setting down these requirements will aid HRC in developing training curricula, defining specific job requirements, and enhancing the ability of supervisors to evaluate worker performance and make recommendations for staff development.
Third, HRC's plan for a new training framework should rest on four concepts. Specifically, HRC must (1) narrow quantitative and qualitative gaps over the short term (from 2010 to 2012), (2) close those gaps over the longer term (beyond 2012), (3) use outcome-driven, competency-based recruiting, training, and evaluation, and (4) conduct continuous training, evaluation, and upgrading of skills to build long-term workforce capacity and stability.
Fourth, HRC should partner with Kentucky's educational institutions to produce the necessary competencies. With adjustments by HRC as appropriate, the approach should provide a basis for operational specifications of competencies and proficiency levels, as well as means to attain them.