An MSPB report on elements of good performance management found that even among poor performers who left a workplace, only a small share were fired on those grounds.
The report, using data from MSPB’s recent merit principles survey, noted that imposing a performance improvement plan–some agencies use different but similar terminology–is the most common first step to address performance deficiencies.
“If the agency is successful in preventing poor performance and addressing it when it does occur, removals would become unnecessary,” it said. “Additionally, poor performers can leave an organization in any one of several different ways — a performance-based removal action is not even the most common of these.”
The survey asked supervisors who had indicated that a poor performer is no longer in their organization what happened. Fifty-seven percent said the employee chose to leave (resigned, retired or to work elsewhere), almost four times the 15 percent who said the employee was removed on performance grounds.
Amount the same percentage, 13 percent, said the employee was removed on conduct grounds, which may reflect a choice of procedure to deal with an employee exhibiting problems in both ways; no improvement opportunity is required to discipline an employee for misconduct. Another 7 percent of the employees were moved (promoted, demoted, reassigned) and various other results were cited for the rest.