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FY-2018-EEOC-MANAGEMENT-CHALLENGES

BACKGROUND

In accordance with the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is reporting what it has determined are the most serious management and performance challenges facing the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  This annual report provides our views on the most serious management and performance challenges facing EEOC for inclusion in the 2018 Agency Performance and Accountability Report.

MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES

EEOC faces barriers to significantly advance its mission to “prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace.”  We identify three challenges — (1) strategic performance management, (2) data analytics, and (3) human capital.  Of these, human capital is the only challenge not included in our 2017 Management Challenges.  In fiscal year 2018, EEOC improved management of data analytics.  In addition, we believe that EEOC is improving its human capital processes to correct serious and long-standing performance management inadequacies.

Strategic Performance Management         

The Agency continues to face serious challenges in managing strategic performance, particularly in strategic planning and performance measurement.  In fiscal year 2018, the Agency developed a new Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022, (adopted February 12, 2018).  In FY 2018, as well as in fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the Agency met some of its performance targets (nine met, two partially met, one not met, based on EEOC’s preliminary data as of October 11, 2018).

In our most recent Management Challenges, we advocated that in developing the new strategic plan, the Agency should track progress towards reducing unlawful employment discrimination. The new strategic plan contains 12 performance measures, but lacks the measurement of employment discrimination. The Office of Management and Budget recommended that EEOC develop a baseline to measure and study EEOC’s impact in reducing employment discrimination.  EEOC acknowledges that it is important to collect data and conduct research to measure performance.   We agree and believe EEOC should make it a higher priority to measure EEOC’s impact on reducing employment discrimination.

In addition, it contains three performance measures that assess “activity or milestones” rather than critical outcomes directly related to accomplishing the mission.  For example, in Performance Measure 3 “EEOC reports on its efforts to identify and resolve systemic discrimination.” This is not highly useful because the measure does not quantify the effectiveness of EEOC’s efforts.  As we noted in last year’s management challenges and in our March 2013 evaluation of the strategic plan’s performance measures (https://oig.eeoc.gov/reports/audit/2012-010-pmev), EEOC needs to better measure critical outcomes for its stakeholders and customers.    

 

Data Analytics

EEOC made significant progress in data analytics in FY 2018, but faces barriers to effectively create and implement a strong data analytics program.  EEOC recognizes both the challenges and opportunities for managing data analytics.  In FY 2018, EEOC made major improvements to its data analytics organizational structure and its capacity to produce data analytical work, by reorganizing the Office of Research, Information and Planning (ORIP) into the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA).  ORIP had been the office responsible for overseeing data analytics, but did not have a centralized analytics team focused on multiple stakeholders throughout the enterprise.

OEDA includes a Data Analytics Division and establishes an enterprise data governance framework.  EEOC added new leadership and key staff to OEDA and formed a data governance board.  The Acting Chair, Victoria Lipnic, led development of these improvements and continues to champion the development of a robust data analytics capability.

In September 2018, an OIG evaluation performed by Elder Research Inc. stated that EEOC lacks analytics teams in four key areas and the foundational components of infrastructure to support both reporting and data analytics initiatives.  The evaluation recommends improvements for EEOC’s data analytics activities (https://oig.eeoc.gov/reports/audit/2017-002-EOIG).  The improvements are divided into five areas—culture, people, analytical capability, process, and infrastructure.

As the evaluation noted, EEOC needs some “quick wins” to ensure data analytics is seen as valuable to stakeholders who benefit from the wins. Examples of near-term target areas EEOC could focus on are in the areas of automating methods to prepare data for analysis and emerging trend identification.

As the data analytics evaluation states, EEOC should not be discouraged, but “[r]ather, the EEOC should be encouraged by the opportunity that lies ahead: effective implementation of the recommendations contained within this report holds the potential to unlock substantial value and significantly improve the EEOC's ability to accomplish its core mission.” OIG will monitor EEOC’s progress in its management of data analytics.

Human Capital

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducted a periodic evaluation of the Agency’s human capital activities.  OPM conducted similar evaluations in 2009 and 2013. OPM conducts evaluations of federal agencies to assess strategic management of human capital, the efficiency and effectiveness of its human resources programs, and compliance with merit system principles, laws, and regulations.   The merit system principles provide a framework for responsible behavior and are key to mission success. The five component processes of effective performance management — planning, monitoring, developing, appraising, and rewarding.  

The January 2018 OPM evaluation, Human Capital Management Evaluation, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, identified several important areas for improvement. Many of the areas where improvement is required match those identified in OPM’s 2009 and 2013 reports.   The OPM report requires EEOC to take 19 actions to address these deficiencies. Both EEOC operations and credibility may suffer until this challenge is met.    

OPM stated in its January 2018 report that although actions have been taken to improve human capital programs, many longstanding issues identified in previous OPM reports remain. These challenges include staffing problems that reveal quality control gaps and lack of Agency accountability structures including continued failure to comply with provisions of EEOC’s Interagency Delegated Examining Agreement with OPM.  OPM stated that improving the culture of evaluation and accountability over EEOC's human capital programs is imperative.

The OPM report found deficiencies within strategic planning and alignment, performance culture, talent management, and evaluation (using data to support decision making) areas of EEOC’s human capital management.  Major areas to improve include:

  • tying performance goals to improvements in human capital policies and programs
  • improving the Performance System (employee performance standards and related matters)
  • managing talent (e.g., recruiting)

Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) began to complete many of the required actions. The previous and current Chief Human Capital Officers took significant steps including hiring OCHCO staff and contractors and meeting with both groups to ensure OPM required actions occur.  For example, OCHCO advised staff to promptly notify job applicants of their status and to audit case files in a timely manner.  Moving forward, EEOC needs to follow through in the coming year to complete all the required actions and conduct appropriate follow-up to ensure thorough implementation.