We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience and analyze our traffic. By using our site, you consent to cookies. Privacy policy

View the latest results of the Employee Retention Index

At a glance:

Navigating OMB’s new organizational health guidance

A 3-minute guide for federal agencies

What?

On April 13, 2023, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) called on agencies to increase meaningful in-person work and announced new measures to improve organizational health and organizational performance. OMB Memo M-23-15 outlines steps executive departments and agencies will take to:

  • Continue to improve organizational health and performance in order to meet agency missions
  • Use data to make informed decisions on where to improve agency work environments

Organizational Health is an organization’s ability to drive performance results collectively in support of its mission, deliver programs and services, and meet stakeholder needs and priorities on an ongoing basis. An organization’s health may include considerations such as resilience, capability, and capacity. 

Organizational Performance is an organization’s effectiveness in delivering mission aligned results. Effectiveness and results can be measured by a range of indicators and evidence, both internal and external to the organization. 

How?

The goal of the memo is to ensure agency decisions regarding work environments continue to improve organizational health and performance. To that end, agencies are required to: 

  1. Update Work Environment Plans 
  2. Establish routines to assess and improve organizational health and performance 
  3. Identify a set of indicators to measure organizational health and performance to increase data-driven decisions
  4. Build a culture of continuous improvement 

Who?

Agencies:

Agriculture

Commerce

Defense

Education

Energy

Environmental
Protection Agency

Health and
Human Services

Housing and Urban
Development

Homeland Security

Interior

Justice

Labor

National Aeronautics
and Space Administration

State

Transportation

Treasury

Veterans Affairs

Responsible for monitoring and reporting on agency organizational health and performance:

  • Deputy Secretary
  • Performance Improvement Officers (PIO)

Responsible for continuously improving agency organizational health and performance:

  • Organizational Health and Performance Leads 
  • Agency Leaders (e.g., CHCO, COO, CFO, CIO, CTO)

When?

April 13, 2023

Memo issued.

30 days

Identify Agency Organizational Health and Performance Lead and submit updated HQ Work Environment Plans.

60 days

Submit updated customer-facing and remaining operational units’ Work Environment Plans.

90 days

Convene major operating unit level organizational health and performance leads. Recommend agency-wide guidance and consistent approaches to measure, monitor, and improve organizational health and performance. 

Summer 2023

Present to OMB key findings related to organizational health indicators, routines to monitor progress, approaches to foster a culture of continuous improvement, and actions or changes to Work Environment Plans. 

150 days

Organizational health and performance leads review organizational health and performance data, assess processes, and identify gaps, summarize findings, and share with Deputy Secretary or PIO.

Ongoing

Deputy Secretary or PIO outlines process, meets regularly with agency leadership to continually improve organizational health and performance, and develops regular data-driven routines for leadership to review progress.

The path forward

The memo gives agencies a clear directive to take a closer look at performance, employee satisfaction, and customer experience. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, agencies can be intentional as they chart their path forward. Here’s how:

Communicate
  • Communicate early. It’s important to foster trust through honest conversations. Be transparent with staff about what changes they can expect to see and how they’ll be involved throughout the process.
  • Ask employees what they need. Check in with staff through channels like surveys, focus groups, office hours, and all-hands meetings. 
  • Listen to staff feedback – and act. Engage employees and create buy-in by establishing feedback loops. Identify concerns and resistance points, create key messages, and respond with timely communications.
Plan
  • Establish your response and planning team. Identify the main players and extended support team. Define expectations, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Understand the status quo. Conduct a rapid organizational assessment to get a current-state view of existing processes, data, and metrics.
  • Develop an action plan with clear objectives. Align on assessment implications, desired outcomes, and timeline.
Act
  • Leverage existing information. Gather and analyze existing organizational performance data, identify gaps, and develop an outline for what measurements need to be captured. 
  • Initiate workforce planning.
    Ensure you have the right people, roles, and capacity to optimize agency performance and deliver the mission.
  • Lead with facts. Drive changes to organizational health and performance through data-based insights.

We can help you stay flexible in ensuring organizational health, performance, and mission delivery.

Kathleen Kennard

Director, Federal Practice
703.229.8600