Federal Manager's Daily Report

OPM has streamlined its system for certifying whether agency performance evaluation systems for SES and non-executive senior career employees meet its standards of making meaningful distinctions in level of performance. When agencies have that certification, they may pay up to a higher limit both in salary and in combined salary and awards.

“The majority of agencies now have extensive experience with SES and SL/ST certification and have well-established policies and procedures that operationalize the certification criteria. Therefore, the changed process focuses less on verifying operational compliance and more on the results of agencies’ appraisal systems, thereby saving time and resources,” OPM said in a memo.


The new process features automatic renewal for two more years of fully certified appraisal systems based on OPM/OMB review of an annual data submission; no requirement that agencies submit performance plans with certification requests; and more ways for agencies to demonstrate pay differentiation by level of performance.

Agencies with an approved SES or SL/ST system will be able to use the changes effective with their fiscal 2018 performance cycle adjustments and awards. OPM will also extend agency appraisal system certifications scheduled to expire before January 7, 2019, to transition to the new process.

“This trust but verify approach is long overdue,” said the Senior Executives Association. “A common complaint we receive from SEA members is that their agency performance appraisal system certification process is too bureaucratic and sacrifices process to true performance management. OPM’s actions will fix that problem.”