The Postal Service carried out its pay for performance program for about 49,000 non-bargaining employees in supervisory, technical, administrative and managerial positions in accordance with its policies and procedures, an IG audit has found.

However, it added that “guidance documents could be more accurate and updated more timely,” raising “the risk of inconsistent application of process, noncompliance, or lack of employee accountability.”

It further found that certain distinctions drawn in the program “did not provide employees with the same opportunity to be evaluated for their individual contributions.” Based on a closer examination of about a third of the sub-organizations, auditors said that if employees had been evaluated based on individual contributions for their assigned location, ratings of 30 percent would have been higher and ratings of 8 percent would have been lower.

Auditors said that some of the supervisors they interviewed “perceived the PFP process as not fairly recognizing individual accomplishments. Perceived unfairness in the PFP process may increase the risk of employees becoming disengaged if they feel management does not recognize the accomplishments of individual units or that the poor performances of others mask their contributions.”

Successfully operating pay for performance programs so that they are fair yet draw meaningful distinctions among employees has been a long-running challenge for federal agencies.