MSPB has cited the Naval Sea Systems Command as a model for effective training of supervisors in the merit system principles and prohibited personnel practices under federal employment law.

While it is important that federal personnel at all levels understand the so-called MSPs and PPPs, “agencies are particularly obligated to educate their supervisors, since they are responsible on a daily basis” for making decisions in which those issues arise, it said.

It said that during research for a recent report it found several actions to be especially important, starting with support from the top. “Strategic agency leaders understand that making sure supervisors comprehend how to apply the merit principles to their daily decisions provides an excellent return on investment as it enables supervisors to manage more effectively,” it said.

“NAVSEA’s leadership communicates their support through not only their words, but also their actions. For example, in addition to telling supervisors that they would be held accountable for supporting the MSPs and avoiding PPPs, they demonstrated their commitment by requiring all supervisors to receive adequate training and giving them the necessary time to do so,” it said.

“NAVSEA’s HR staff also invested substantial time and effort into developing and delivering a variety of training modules. These varied by content to ensure that decision makers were aware of the ‘Merit System Principles Basics,’ as well as the potential risks should they commit a PPP,” a recent MSPB publication said.

That training was designed so it could be delivered through a variety of modes, including online, in-person and a combination, it added.

“Although the MSPs and PPPs may seem straightforward on paper, applying them to real life situations can be more challenging. We hope more agencies will follow NAVSEA’s lead and look for ways to educate their employees regarding the Federal merit systems,” the MSPB said.