Top Performers at DoD Penalized – what do you think?

Home Forums Human Resources Top Performers at DoD Penalized – what do you think?

This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Henry Brown 8 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #102931

    Doris Tirone
    Participant

    “Nearly three-quarters of employees transferred out of the Defense Department’s controversial pay-for-performance system so far got pay increases as they returned to the General Schedule, the Pentagon said last week … http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20100613/BENEFITS01/6130304/0/

  • #102939

    Henry Brown
    Participant

    Not surprised … When DOD “brought” a large group, that I had some association with, into PfP there was a “significant” rush to retirement for those that were eligible and at that time it was all about money nothing less nothing more.
    And a significant number of DOD folks continued to “complain” that the system was designed as a buddy system where your pay was based on what your Personal relationship was with your supervisor and not Performance.

  • #102937

    Heather Richtfort
    Participant

    I’m still a newbie to civil service – coming up on my 1 yr mark soon. Given my Fortune 500 background, it’s been very interesting to witness the demise of PfP. I have heard far more bad than good experiences with NSPS from my peers about how it was a buddy-system, which would indicate that the top-performers are not being penalized – just the people who were “in” with upper management.

    In >10 yrs of supervisory experience in the private sector, pay for performance is NOT a bad thing, however it is only as good as the training put into the managerial ranks. If you don’t train a person how to be a manager (e.g., give constructive feedback on a regular basis, perform frequent 1-on-1’s and/or staff meetings to set expectations and review performance in a real-time basis, and taking corrective action for under-performance), you will never be able to implement pay-for-performance in a manner that isn’t perceived as a buddy system.

    Personally, I really liked the pay-for-performance world both as a manager and as an employee. I would like to see it implemented again, but only if there is a concerted effort at training the managerial staff and working with the rank & file individual contributors to address their concerns.

  • #102935

    Doris Tirone
    Participant

    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.

  • #102933

    Heather Richtfort
    Participant

    Good point. The way one of my private sector employers worked through this issue was to implement on-line “skip-level” surveys. Director could initiate the survey for Manager A’s employees. (In my department, they were required twice annually, and were a required input for our performance reivew). The survey asked a host of specific questions that would help (Director) gauge their direct reports’ management skills (leadership skills, communication skills, timeliness of feedback, delegation skills, follow-up, equity in dealing with performance issues, etc). This company had (luckily) understood from their annual employee surveys that the strongest correlating factor with employee motivation / productivity / willingness to stay with the firm was “manager quality” — i.e., how good was their manager at BEING a manager. It all comes back to training, and yes, accountability for being a good manager.

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