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USPTO – Human Capital Support Initiatives

The Client’s Need

AG first started providing support to USPTO in FY12, at the special request of the CHCO of USPTO. USPTO’s enormous backlog of nearly 600,000 unexamined patent applications led to some large-scale human capital goals, including hiring 1,500 patent examiners within one year. USPTO also had experienced tremendous growth and was in dire need of help managing and prioritizing its strategic goals.

In order to achieve the Agency’s vision, the Office of Human Resources (OHR) engaged the expertise of AG, to help execute human capital business process improvements, marketing and outreach, customer service and HR system implementation, HR Connect, in order to keep pace with the organization’s growth.

In addition in FY14, the agency moved to implement the HRIS solution HR Connect.  The agency engaged the AG team to provide comprehensive consulting support in the soup-nuts prep for the implementation, training to managers and post module roll out.  Today our senior HR connect team is still on the ground at USPTO serving in a key role in support of the HR Connect operation and maintenance.

Our Approach

AG developed a multi-faceted, integrated approach to define, implement and operationalize OHR’s initiatives:

  • HRIS HRConnect Implementation and Training Support. To better manage organizational data and human capital, OHR needed help implementing HR Connect, the federal Human Resource Management System. At the time, OHR used a paper-based SF-52 process which was outdated and ill-equipped to manage its daily volume of personnel actions. Working closely with the Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) division, AG supported all stages of the roll-out and provided a Senior Advisor to assist with end-to-end project management and documentation. Since AG CEO was responsible for the HR Connect implementation as the former CHCO of US Treasury, keen insights, learnings and planning implantation strategies were brought to the table by the team. The AG Team provided much needed assistance in pre and post implementation, help desk support, training, and change management support. The support continues today.

 

  • HC Strategy. The OHR Director’s Office recognized the need for long term organizational planning in order to better manage both short and long term changes and achieve exceptional customer service. OHR also needed a way to identify and address inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and barriers in its current hiring process and customer service initiatives. The AG team began by meeting regularly with stakeholder groups to conduct planning sessions and collect feedback on human capital strategies and tactics that ensured OHR’s agility in responding to its customers and mission. The team then identified long-term solutions and recommendations to some of OHR’s most pressing and persistent customer service issues.

 

  • Business Process Re-Engineering. The AG team documented, designed and communicated several processes to achieve consistent, accurate and timely execution of HR activities. Our senior consultants designed and developed large-scale process map on USPTO’s Patent Examiner Hiring Process that comprehensively catalogs all of its HR operational activities and customers. The team also provided a critical A-123 mapping in preparation of an OPM audit. The support continues today.

 

  • Marketing & Communications for Large Scale Recruitment. OHR needed help educating external audiences about what makes USPTO employer of choice; however, it was not positioned to tell the “USPTO story.” Simultaneously, the Office continued to face pressing hiring needs. AG Team developed high-impact recruitment communications and social medial strategy plan to support numerous large scale wide campaigns and initiatives for OHR, such as the Veterans Hiring Initiative and its New Employee Orientation Program. The support continues today.

The Result

With AG’s support and innovation in process improvement and cross-functional collaboration, USPTO has increased its operational efficiency, met several of its strategic human capital priorities, and exceeded its hiring goal by bringing on 1,500 new Patent Examiners in less than one year. With AvantGarde’s guidance, HRIS deployed HR Connect right on schedule. USPTO was one of the first DOC agencies to move successfully to full scale implementation of the shared service HR solution! The management of the project was widely regarded as a model for excellence across the Federal community. In support of the achievement of operational excellence, AvantGarde helped OHR identify, plan and execute a number of process improvement projects that saved the resource hours, reduced errors and communication issues, and improved customer satisfaction. By implementing AvantGarde’s solutions, OHR experienced an 85% reduction in deficiency findings over a two year period (2014-2015). After five years of service to USPTO, our team continues to be an integral part of the OHR mission and a highly valued “go to” partner!