FY 2021 Annual Performance Plan and Report - Major Management Priorities

Fiscal Year 2021
Released March, 2020

Major Management Priorities

The Department has identified four Major Management Priorities:

  • Moving to a 21st Century Workforce
  • Restoring Market Forces
  • Making HHS More Innovative and Responsive
  • Generating Efficiencies through Streamlined Services

Below HHS has provided detailed information on its progress with each initiative, including performance goals, performance indicators, and milestones.

Moving to a 21st Century Workforce

Supporting Initiative: Maximize Talent

The Maximize Talent Initiative aimed to transform HHS's business processes and practices to meet modern-day human capital management and human resources operational challenges now and in the future. Through the Maximize Talent efforts, the Initiative enhanced the Department's most important resource – its people. The transformation focused on three primary goals:

  1. Optimizing HR Service Delivery by exploring ways to standardize core HR processes and implementing more efficient, effective, customer-focused, and cost-effective service delivery models.
  2. Transforming the Employee Performance and Engagement Culture by taking steps to institutionalize an environment that empowers and engages employees to maximize their talents to their full potential and enhance our performance management program to motivate, reward, and recognize high performance.
  3. Modernizing Human Resources Information Technology Infrastructure by upgrading and integrating enterprise IT systems that support the workforce and increase the data available to inform management decision-making.

Salient accomplishments under the Maximize Talent Initiative include:

  • Envisioned a culture of accountability and data-driven decision making to improve workforce conditions and took action to achieve that vision:
    • HHS FEVS Employee Participation increased by 14.7 percentage points to 71.9 percent
    • HHS Employee Engagement Index increased by 0.7 percentage points to 73.5 percent;
    • Effective Communication Index increased by 0.8 percentage points to 71.2 percent; and
    • Global Satisfaction increased by 0.5 percentage points to 71.7 percent.
  • Implemented a simplified recruitment process in the District of Columbia Health Resources Center, which included sharing certificates with multiple managers with similar hiring needs to expedite the hiring process. The simplified recruitment process reduced the average time to issue a certificate of eligible candidates to hiring officials using the new shared certificates process from 140 calendar days, on average, to 65.5 calendar days, on average and decreased the time-to-hire by saving 74.5 calendar days, on average, in the hiring process. Since February 2019, 80% of candidates were selected from simplified recruitments; with a 200% increase in number of new hires on-boarded.
  • Implemented two pilots of Better Assessment Tools for Better Quality Candidates in partnership with OPM, including USA Hire, purchased now for use Enterprise-wide; and Subject Matter Expert Quality Assurance in collaboration with US Digital Services - HHS Office of the Chief Information Officer and Office of the Chief Technology Officer selected 35+ qualified candidates to fill critical vacancies.
  • Transitioned SES performance management from manual, paper-based processes to electronic system in October 2018, automating all tracking/reporting for SES HHS-wide.
  • Successfully launched the Enterprise Human Capital Management system upgrade from PeopleSoft 8.9 to 9.2 in May 2019, creating a lasting baseline for managing HHS personnel transaction and reporting, using a single enterprise cloud-based solution.

On September 30, 2019, HHS transitioned the work of the Maximize Talent Initiative to the Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) within the Office of Human Resources (OHR). SIG is responsible for coordination, communication, development, and implementation of transformational and strategic initiatives for OHR. SIG activities focus on Maximize Talent's three primary goals: Optimizing HR Service Delivery; Modernizing HR Information Technology; and Improving the Employee Performance and Engagement Culture at HHS. OHR will continue to identify, pilot, scale improvements and reforms across HHS through the SIG.

Designated Official: Bahar Niakan, Former Initiative Lead, Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer

Performance Goal: Increase overall HHS employee participation in the FEVS survey, as well as the overall Employee Engagement Index Score by August 2019.

Data Source and Validation: Employee Engagement Score and Participation Rate from FEVS Survey. Validated by OPM.

Performance Indicator: FEVS Employee Engagement Index

  FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021
Target N/A N/A N/A 70% 72.5% 73% 75% 75%
Result N/A N/A N/A 72.2% 72.8% 73.5% 09/30/20 09/30/21
Status N/A N/A N/A Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Pending Pending

Performance Indicator: FEVS Employee Participation55

  FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021
Target N/A N/A N/A 54% 56% 58% 60% TBD
Result N/A N/A N/A 58.5% 57.2% 71.9% 09/30/20 09/30/21
Status N/A N/A N/A Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Pending Pending

  Milestones Planned Completion Date Status
1. 2019 FEVS guidance from the ASA to OPDIV and STAFFDIV Heads and Executive Officers 10/31/2018 Completed
2. Held Employee Engagement Forum Kickoff 10/17/2018 Completed
3. Held FEVS Program Managers Best Practice Exchange 11/01/2018 Completed
4. Provided pre-populated OPM reporting template to FEVS Program Managers 11/06/2018 Completed
5. Compiled initial report of HHS 20 by 20 by 2020 data for submission to OPM 11/15/2018 Completed
6. Submit HHS Report to OPM 11/23/2018 Completed
7. ASA/CHCO Endorsement of "Sprint to 2019" and "Marathon to 2020" 11/23/2018 Completed
8. Set Up EVS ART Training for OpDiv/StaffDiv 01/19/2018 Completed
9. Leaders at all levels present FEVS data to work units and commit to action. 03/31/2019 Completed
10. Collect insight on employee engagement from the employee perspective. 02/28/2019 Completed
11. Release a call for Organization Development services/providers to support SPRINT 2019 02/28/2018 Completed
12. Managers and supervisors lead work units in action planning for quick sprint improvement. 03/29/2019 Completed
13. Active, visible, and meaningful action to improve employee engagement. 04/30/2019 Completed
14. Encourage participation in the FEVS. 06/21/2019 Completed
15. Employ long term strategies for success including FEVS Program Manager offsite, lessons learned from SPRINT to 2019, assessment of FEVS program metrics (leading and lag indicators), continued engagement of Employee Engagement Community of Practice, and other 06/21/2019–08/30/2020 Ongoing

Restoring Market Forces

Supporting Initiative: Bring Common Sense to Food Regulation; Enhance state produce safety infrastructure to improve farm compliance with Produce Safety Rule.

The Bring Common Sense to Food Regulation Initiative aimed to increase collaboration between food regulatory programs to minimize dual jurisdiction and improve state produce safety infrastructure. To address these issues, this Initiative consisted of two sub-Initiatives: Regulatory Oversight and State Produce Safety Infrastructure. The core objective of the Regulatory Oversight sub-Initiative was to increase regulatory efficiency and advance food safety in the context of "dual jurisdiction establishments," where the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service both have jurisdiction to conduct food inspections and exercise oversight. The objective of the State Produce Safety Infrastructure sub-Initiative was to fully develop and implement a state produce safety infrastructure to assist FDA in implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety regulations.

On September 30, 2019, HHS transitioned the work of this Initiative to the Office of Regulatory Affairs and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition within FDA. In ongoing efforts to implement the FSMA, FDA has provided over $80 million in support to 48 participating states out of 55 (50 states and 5 territories) to conduct training and technical assistance. By working with states to develop these programs and having states conduct their own inspection and compliance/enforcement work, FDA is working towards building an Integrated Food Safety System where states and FDA can mutually rely on each other's work. FDA is also working on joint efforts between USDA and FDA to reduce the duplication of inspections and create efficiencies with regulatory oversight. This includes the consolidation and updating of existing Memorandums of Understanding between the Agencies and the creation of a Field Management Directive.

Designated Official: Erik P. Mettler, Former Initiative Lead, Assistant Commissioner for Partnerships and Policy

Performance Goal: Create a more effective and efficient food safety system by increasing the role of the states in improving produce safety as measured by 85 percent of states and territories (out of 55 total, 50 states and 5 territories) participating in the Produce Safety Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program (State CAP) by September 30, 2019.

Data Source and Validation: State CAP

Performance Indicator:Number of States and Territories (Grantees) Participating in State CAP56

  FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021
Target N/A N/A Baseline Baseline 47 47 48 48


N/A 42 43 47 48 07/31/20 07/31/21
Status N/A N/A Actual Actual Target Met Target Exceeded Pending Pending

Performance Goal: Create a more effective and efficient food safety system by increasing the role of the states in improving produce safety as measured by an increase in inspections being conducted by state partners participating in State CAP by December 31, 2021.

Data Source and Validation: State inspection reporting.

Performance Indicator: Number of Inspections being conducted by State Partners Participating in State CAP57, 58

  FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021
Target N/A N/A N/A Baseline Result +10% Result +10%
Result N/A N/A N/A 12/31/19 06/30/20 06/30/21
Status N/A N/A N/A Pending Pending Pending

  Milestones Planned Completion Date Status
1. Complete detailed assessment of state produce regulatory programs, to include projected availability of resources and jurisdictional assessment. 06/2019 Completed
2. Develop detailed Implementation Plan which may include: potential funding sources, partners for leveraging, outreach opportunities, and measures of success for increasing the role of states in produce safety inspection. 12/2019 On-Track
3. Execution of Implementation plan 06/2021 On-Track

Making HHS More Innovative and Responsive

Supporting Initiative: Optimize NIH

The Optimize NIH Initiative aimed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of administrative functions for employees and the agency and improve support for the NIH mission. Optimize NIH is focused on administrative areas that could be more effective and efficient if: 1) managed enterprise-wide, 2) managed through service centers, or 3) harmonized.

With regard to managing enterprise-wide, Optimize NIH initially focused its efforts on achieving efficiencies in: Committee Management, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and Ethics. As the Acquisitions, Information Technology Security, Title 42(f) Processing, Travel, and Property functions continue to evaluate their functions, NIH will determine if functions are best served through enterprise-wide improvements or by the service center model. Salient accomplishments under Optimize NIH in managing enterprise-wide include:

  • Expanded the Committee Management Module within existing Electronic Research Administration grants systems to develop complete automation of nomination slates and appointments. When fully automated, eliminating Committee Management courier services to HHS has a projected cost savings of $17,000 per year. NIH piloted a human resources onboarding system for Special Government Employees (SGEs), which resulted in saving time and reducing wasteful spending. As such, the pilot is being prepared for a full roll-out to all of NIH.
  • Rolled out a customizable commercial off-the-shelf FOIA platform (FOIAXpress) and public access portal in early 2019 to improve FOIA management and standardize processes across all 27 of NIH's Institutes and Centers. Since the launch of FOIAXpress and the portal, the number of requests received through portal has risen to 90 percent, the number of processed FOIA requests increased by 125 percent, and the backlog decreased by 24 percent. FOIAXpress can be leveraged across HHS.
  • Expanded the capabilities of the NIH Ethics Enterprise System, including electronic submission of the OGE Form 450 Confidential Financial Disclosure Report for SGEs and 278T Periodic Transaction Report.

Designated Official: Janet Shorback, Initiative Lead

Performance Goal: Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of NIH administrative functions to better support the agency's mission while maintaining support of the workforce, increasing employee engagement, and overseeing the use of taxpayer dollars.59 HHS will pursue the following performance goal by 2020: Make management of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests more efficient by reducing the number of systems used to track and submit FOIA requests by December 17, 2018.

Data Source and Validation: Tracking system – systems to track and submit FOIA reports. The new, unified system permits data review and validation at the individual FOIA request level to monitor and improve quality of data and process management.

Performance Indicator: Number of Systems Used to Track and Submit FOIA Reports60

  FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020
Target N/A N/A N/A N/A Baseline 1 Discontinued
Result N/A N/A N/A N/A 8 1 N/A
Status N/A N/A N/A N/A Actual Target Met N/A
  Milestones Planned Completion Date Status
1. Due diligence to identify suitable FOIA platform 07/2018 Completed
2. Finalize FOIA implementation plan 08/2018 - 09/2018 Completed
3. Begin implementing FOIA plan 09/2018 Completed
4. Selected platform for FOIA effort and began portal customization 10/2018 Completed
5. Customize selected FOIA platform and perform user-acceptance testing 11/2018 Completed
6 Train all NIH FOIA staff on selected FOIA platform 12/2018 Completed
7. Launch selected FOIA platform across NIH 12/2018 Completed
8. Customize portal and launch customized portal to public 03/2019 Completed

Generating Efficiencies through Streamlined Services

Supporting Initiative: Buy Smarter

The Buy Smarter Initiativeis transformative and data-driven, leveraging the collective purchasing power of HHS to secure lower prices, achieve operational efficiencies, and generate cost avoidances on goods and services. Buy Smarter is creating a leaner, more accountable, and efficient government by using technology to improve underlying business processes and mission outcomes.

Buy Smarter serves the mission and acquisition communities. The immediate beneficiary is the HHS acquisition community through the group purchasing model. This will ultimately benefit HHS's overall mission, through efficiencies gained from the rationalization of duplicative contracts and lower variance on prices paid for similar products and services.

Buy Smarter established an operating model, developed an implementation plan, and created a funding strategy for procurement process improvements that will realize projected cost avoidances. The Buy Smarter Operating Model is based on the General Services Administration (GSA) Category Management structure. Buy Smarter uses Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) technology to analyze current HHS contract data and the underlying mission requirements. This identifies opportunities to consolidate contract vehicles across HHS to ensure best pricing and smarter buying for the federal government.

Buy Smarter is moving from the planning phase to the implementation phase along the parallel tracks of people, process, and technology, which will result in millions of dollars in savings when the improvements are implemented and realized. Buy Smarter leverages new and emerging technologies (e.g., cloud-native technology, A.I., machine learning, etc.) to analyze HHS-wide spend data, identifying an annual savings opportunity of $720 million on goods and services when fully operational across all of the HHS Operating Divisions.

Designated Official: David Dasher, Initiative Lead

Performance Goal: Achieve $720 million in cost savings61 once fully implemented by September 30, 2025 by utilizing new and emerging technologies to leverage the enormous purchasing power of HHS ($24 billion per year) and enhance and streamline the end-to-end procurement process.

Data Source and Validation: Five HHS contract writing systems. Data from all five contract writing systems will be consolidated in HHS's Accelerate model, which leverages Blockchain Technology and Artificial Intelligence for advanced data analytics.

Performance Indicator: Achieve increased year over year cost savings62, based on implementation, across the HHS enterprise, of the Buy Smarter operating model, in an evolutionary manner. HHS follows category management principles to manage spend.

  FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021
Target N/A N/A N/A N/A NA $8 million $22 million $25.5 million
Result N/A N/A N/A N/A NA 09/30/20 09/30/21 09/30/22
Status N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Pending Pending Pending
  Milestones Planned Completion Date Status
1. Analyzed 18 months of HHS-wide spend data through an A.I. tool to give never-before visibility into HHS-wide goods and services spending. 03/2018 Completed
2. Determined initial savings hypotheses based on category benchmarks. 03/2018 Completed
3. Establish BUYSMARTER Operating Model framework for all GSA Categories, which will cover all HHS spending. 07/2018 Completed
4. Developed an overview of current spending, including top categories and vendor fragmentation. 12/2018 Completed
5. Establish Category Collaborative Model to focus on GSA Categories of Spend 1/2019 Completed
6. Leverage Accelerate block chain data layer for initial BUYSMARTER Operating Model. 03/2020 Ongoing
7. Conducted initial business-case analysis to focus on understanding current purchasing fragmentation and potential inefficiencies of the current acquisition function (e.g., initial spend analysis, initial acquisition function review). 07/2019 Completed
8. Conducted additional validation and implementation (e.g., detailed spend analysis, detailed acquisition function review). 10/2019 Completed
9. Implement A.I. microservices for initial BUYSMARTER Operating Model. 03/2020 Ongoing
10. Implement e-commerce platform. 12/2020 Pending
11. Share contracts in place for 80 percent of A.I. identified common spend categories. The 80 percent metric covers the majority of HHS's spend while recognizing that there are unique requirements that may not fall under common spend categories. 10/2022 Pending

55 The FY 2021 target will be established upon evaluation of 2019 FEVS results.

56 State CAP year runs from July 1 – June 30. Data reported are from that timeframe.

57 Many states did not start inspections until June 2019. HHS anticipates that baseline data will be available once analysis is completed for the period April 2019 through September 2019.

58 State CAP year runs from July 1 – June 30. Data reported are from that timeframe.

59 Since HHS has met this performance goal, the Department is discontinuing the measure.

60 The HHS target for FY 2019 was to reduce the number of systems from eight to one. HHS has achieved this target and is discontinuing this performance indicator.

61 Percent of savings is in some part a cost avoidance and some savings will be reallocated back to primary missions.

62 Ibid.

Content created by Office of Budget (OB)
Content last reviewed