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Performance Management in Federal Agencies

With the Federal Government as the largest employer within the U.S., there are over 2 million full time employees across a myriad of agencies and offices, worldwide. Given this, the Human Resources departments have their hands full with negotiating and managing such a large and diverse workforce. Challenges are plentiful, and more importantly is the need for a successful performance management system.

Only the most effective performance plan process can streamline communication, shape management and leadership attributes, represent strategic goals and objectives, and address personnel, compensation, and human resource needs. Many of these challenges include retirements, administrative changes, hiring, policies, compliance and accountability factors, and more; The extra stress of aligning organizational goals and objectives with employee skill sets is another critical task that must be performed in order for the process to be holistic and successful.

Retirement opportunities for federal employees have exploded over recent years; currently, more than 31% of the workforce is eligible. Given this, succession planning across organizations is critical in order to meet future demands. Federal employees sometimes possess low or moderate morale and engagement based on their job satisfaction.

Changes are underway to optimize performance management within Agencies across the enterprise and most recently President Trump signed an Executive Order focusing on streamlining personnel actions. OMB-17-22 is guidance directing agencies to develop employee performance plans in accordance with any short or long term reviews of the workforce. This guidance is aimed to create opportunities for employees to better understand expectations, work on areas of weakness, and improve their overall job performance.

Many organizations are currently making adjustments to their performance management workflows that are part of OMB-17-22’s target initiatives. Implementation is steadfast yet flexibility is key; with a myriad of areas involved, communication is a critical component for success.

Leadership Development, for example, is one area where organizations can capitalize on by supporting personalized training, enhancing skill development (to include soft skills), and establishing a workforce succession planning foundation. Involvement, communication and notification to the workforce is critical so that expectations are set and interest is assured.

Goal alignment is another area that can be addressed where employees are motivated to engage with a thorough understanding of organizational goals and objectives and how they are contributing to the big picture. Finally, performance management software can capture metrics, archive data and create additional efficiency across organizations when analyzing, developing and managing criteria. By making improvements such as these, organizations can make better decisions, strategically align performance management, increase flexibility and posture themselves for meeting their needs, as well as those of their employees.

In closing, Human Resource departments across the federal government are working diligently to ensure the ‘right’ performance process is in place. With the need for a more modernized, diverse and technologically advanced workforce, so too is the need for sustainable and accountable performance measurement systems.

Strategic organizational goals and objectives serve as the foundation for this new initiative; employees will understand expectations better, and align themselves to the mission, easier. Flexibility, as well as compliance and accountability are critical for these processes to be implemented and managed successfully. Finally, open communication with leadership, human resource personnel and the employees will ensure a robust and holistic approach to managing performance successfully.

Reference: Agency Challenges Through Performance Management

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages

About The Author

Dr. Donna Day is a Manager at the Department of Defense, where she has been for more than 30 years. With a background in Information Assurance, Customer Engagement and Marketing, more recently she has been studying Cyber security Policy and Management at the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). She earned her Doctor of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science Degree in Technology Management at UMUC and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Day is also an Adjunct Professor at Norwich University in Vermont, where she teaches Cyber security, Critical Infrastructure and Information Assurance courses to a myriad of students, worldwide, from across the intelligence community. A published author, Baltimore Ravens fan, and life-long learner, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.