Federal Agency Plans Workforce for the Future

North Highland worked with the GSA's Office of Human Resource Management (OHRM) to develop and launch a new enterprise workforce planning process and approach. We ensured GSA had the right people, with the right skills, in the right jobs, at the right cost and time.

Public Sector Case Study


The General Services Administration (GSA) is an agency with over 11,000 employees dedicated to fulfilling its mission of delivering the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to government and the American people. As the Agency’s priorities shifted in reaction to their constituents’ needs and the need to provide services in a cost-effective manner, GSA was faced with shortages of workforce capabilities needed to support its mission. Attention was required for the more than 35 percent of GSA's workforce which was eligible for retirement in the next five years, putting the Agency at risk of losing essential knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). These developments, combined with the fact that GSA's mission requires workforce segments with specialized skills that are not widely found across government such as in acquisition and real estate- required the Agency to implement innovative approaches to workforce, recruitment, and development strategies.


Working from a decentralized and locally-driven strategic workforce planning process, North Highland, in partnership with Censeo Consulting Group, played a critical role in helping OHRM build a standardized, repeatable, and documented enterprisewide strategic workforce process and capability. With GSA’s workforce challenges and human capital focus areas, North Highland conducted a workforce analysis of GSA’s Services and Staff Offices to identify emerging trends, competency gaps, and human capital recommendations to meet current and future human capital goals. Leaders were asked to assess their organizations for human capital-related strengths, opportunities for improvement, skills and tools necessary to accomplish their specific mission and vision, including the impact of workplace culture and climate. Additional quantitative information such as workforce trends, demographics, attrition, hiring, engagement data, and retirement data were gathered, analyzed and documented. We then provided a set of recommendations to address GSA’s human capital requirements.

The final and critical step towards improving workforce planning at GSA was the development of the Workforce Action Plans. These Action Plans provided each Service or Staff Office with a better understanding of current challenges within their respective organization, actionable human capital improvement activities, and mechanisms to support implementation of these activities.

North Highland played a critical role in helping OHRM build a standardized, repeatable, and documented enterprise-wide strategic workforce process and capability.


North Highland helped GSA develop and launch a consistent and reusable process that will enable an informed and data-backed approach to workforce planning and human capital management. Workforce planning has become an important extension of GSA’s human capital strategic planning and budget planning processes. It is an integral process and system for achieving strategic goals and empowering GSA leadership to make informed strategic decisions about their workforce. Workforce planning has enabled GSA to identify potential areas where they can revise current processes and procedures, reduce costs and increase efficiency within the current workforce. GSA now has a comprehensive view of gaps in current and desired sets of KSAs, and is working to close workforce gaps across the enterprise. Targeted staffing plans are in place for each Service and Staff Office in an effort to be more proactive about addressing vacancies and skill needs. In support of workforce restructuring efforts within GSA, OHRM can now help organizations maintain the right size, right composition, and right skill mix within their workforces to keep up with changing needs and evolving missions.

Lastly, as a thought leader in the federal government, workforce planning, and human capital, North Highland partnered closely with OHRM to share knowledge, best practices, and training to enable HR employees to drive workforce planning going forward. Armed with a best in class workforce planning process and standard operating procedures (SOPs), OHRM, with North Highland’s support, is now better equipped to achieve a mission ready workforce for the future.

Workforce planning has become an important extension of GSA's human capital strategic planning and budget planning process.