OPM has issued a Performance Appraisal System Certification Reference Guide to assist agencies in designing evaluation systems that would meet standards for making meaningful distinctions in performance among employees at senior levels.

Such certification allows for a higher cap on basic pay and a higher cap on total compensation for employees in the SES, senior level and senior scientific and technical positions.

Key factors in gaining certification, it said, including aligning performance requirements to results, making distinctions in performance and translating them into differences in pay, and “verification of organizational assessment and guidelines, oversight, and communication of system application results.”

OPM encouraged agencies to use the guide “to gain an understanding of the criteria with which an agency appraisal system must demonstrate compliance to be eligible for certification and how the certification process supports agencies in establishing and maintaining effective performance appraisal systems for their senior leaders.”