Federal Manager's Daily Report

While federal employees at three distinct levels of the workforce—nonsupervisors, supervisors and SES—agree that producing a quality result is the most important outcome of a work task, they disagree regarding other outcomes, the MSPB has said.

MSPB said that the focus on a high-quality result was not only the highest-rated priority outcome of the eight it listed in its 2016 merit principle surveys but also the one in which the three groups agreed most closely. “What tends to differ, however, is what the members of each group think goes into achieving a quality result. Employees with different leadership experience have different priorities when they plan, perform, and evaluate the success of the same work,” it said in a newly published newsletter.

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For example, among non-supervisors, the next most important outcomes, in order, were following correct procedure, meeting standards, meeting expectations and fairness. In contrast, for senior executives, fairness was next, followed by meeting expectations, meeting standards and following correct procedures. For supervisors, it was fairness, correct procedures, meeting standards and meeting expectations.

Achieving the outcome in a better way, speed, and keeping the cost low were substantially behind for all three groups although there were some notable differences. For example, achieving a better way was the most prominent of the three for SES members and for supervisors, while speed was the most prominent of the three among nonsupervisors—who also were more focused on cost than the other two.

Said MSPB, “It is interesting to note that the least important outcome for all three groups was keeping costs low. The cause of this result is likely that agency employees producing work outcomes often have little control over budgets. Executives can argue for funds for particular projects, but budget decisions are generally made by the top levels of the organization, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress.”