Doris Tirone

Providing training so that Federal employees are knowledgeable about how to handle PfP is far easier than making sure their training is being used in constructive and meaningful ways. The Feds have a notorious past (and present) of rewarding employees, not for their performance, but for their “likeability” and their willingness to do their supervisors’ biddings. Sadly, this type of behavior is the same as the way in which political appointees evaluate civil service subordinates. And, because the Fed employer is such a large organization, this type of behavior is more of an expectation than a surprise! I too spent many years in the private sector and, even with large corporations, there was a greater ability to keep PfP and Award programs in check than has proven possible in the Federal government; it was much easier to hold supervisors and managers accountable for their actions. Witnessing accountability is somewhat of a crap shoot for the Fed employer in that “accountability” in this organization is more about achieving a political end rather than an appropriate (or even “reasonable”) business objective. In theory, PfP is a far better way to reward employees who achieve milestones attached to a business plan; in practice, there is and always will be too much room for subjectivity to creep into this type of employee evaluation process. The Step System may not be much better but at least it has more chance of being evenly applied.