Federal Manager's Daily Report

OPM has told agencies to report by May 17 on performance ratings, pay and awards they paid to their SES, senior level and senior scientific and professional employees in fiscal 2018.

“Data submitted is consolidated and included in OPM’s annual report on executive pay for performance,” a memo says. “OPM also analyzes the data to determine the correlation of performance ratings and ratings-based pay and awards when reviewing organizations’ requests for certification of SES and SL/ST performance appraisal systems.”

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OPM said the goal is to determine whether performance appraisal processes result in meaningful distinctions being made based on relative performance, and whether ratings are the primary basis for annual performance-based compensation decisions. Prior reports on the SES, for example, have consistently showed that about half are rated at the top of five levels, nearly all the rest at the next highest level, and almost none in the bottom two.

The memo added that under recent changes to the process for determining whether appraisal systems make meaningful distinctions, agencies need to submit less documentation and OPM’s reviews “will focus more heavily on the analysis of data provided by agencies.” Agencies that have that certification, as almost all do, can pay both higher base salaries and higher total compensation—base pay and awards combined—than those that don’t.

Agencies must protect personally identifiable information in their submissions.