• Rachel Holly

AG Project Highlight: Consultant & Client Collaboration at the U.S. House of Representatives

by Rachel Holly & Karen Rarick


As a consulting firm that centers itself around the business of people through Human Capital Management (HCM), AvantGarde recognizes the importance of collaboration with our clients. Unlike other types of consulting work, providing HCM and Organizational Development support to federal agencies first requires an in-depth understanding of the organizational culture and strategic objectives. Our recent work at the U.S. House of Representatives illustrates this collaboration and the value it brings our clients.

AvantGarde worked closely with the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) at the U.S. House of Representatives to support the implementation of several strategic organizational enhancement efforts. This included comprehensive human capital support in developing competency models and career paths, creating competency-based position descriptions, developing assessment tools and templates, developing a mentoring program, updating the onboarding and orientation program, providing insight into the performance management process, management development training, and supporting communication and change management efforts across all task areas.

These initiatives directly supported the successful implementation of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)’s integrated Human Capital Model, as well as the execution of CAO’s strategic goal of “fostering a professional and engaged workforce.”

Over the course of two years, the AvantGarde Team worked hand-in-hand with the CAO HR Team to collaboratively implement the eight parallel initiatives encompassed within the Human Capital Strategic Support Project. The AvantGarde Team developed a strong understanding of the CAO culture and nimbly adapted our methodologies, communications, and strategies to fit the realities of the House environment. We executed a variety of data collection efforts and activities, including interviews, focus groups, surveys, and other stakeholder engagement efforts.

Throughout this effort, the AvantGarde Team demonstrated our “with you, not to you” approach to building support for the successful implementation of these human capital initiatives.

We developed a strong, collaborative partnership with our teammates at CAO HR, as well as an intimate understanding of the CAO mission and strategic vision. This partnership and knowledge allowed us to work with CAO HR as a cohesive team, creatively identifying and implementing culturally appropriate adjustments and enhancements to our approach while building synergy across the organization.

The consultant-client collaboration in the field of Human Capital Management is a multifaceted endeavor, requiring genuine dedication to working in parallel and in partnership with the client to reach their objectives, and the appropriate path to help them there according to their values and organizational culture. Prioritizing and optimizing this collaboration is what has allowed AvantGarde to develop innovative solutions for clients over the past eleven years, making us a trusted partner to more than 20 agencies across the federal government facing Human Capital challenges.

Interested in learning more about AvantGarde’s capabilities and solutions? Read more here.

Also, check out one of the recent Culture Makers Podcasts that features the CHRO of the U.S. House of Representatives where he talks about changing the culture by having a steadfast approach in rolling out his integrated Human Capital Model!

Written by: Rachel Holly & Karen Rarick

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