Federal Manager's Daily Report

Council: That 56 percent of poor performers remain in their work units represents an opportunity for "possible leadership action." Performance management is among the lowest-rated of the aspects of federal employment.

New questions in this year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey provide “additional insights into employee perceptions regarding poor performers,” according to a presentation at the most recent Chief Human Capital Officers Council meeting.

The survey for many years has shown that performance management is among the lowest-rated of the aspects of federal employment, including just a 34 percent positive response to a question about whether steps are taken in their workplaces to deal with poor performers.

“The item provides general insights into how poor performance is addressed. However, it contains a number of assumptions that make it difficult for respondents to answer and, subsequently, agency actions to be determined,” according to the presentation.

It further noted that 28 percent of respondents are neutral on the question—well above the percentage who have no opinion on other questions in the survey—potentially suggesting that many employees haven’t seen such a situation in their workplaces.

The new question revealed, for example, that 17 percent say there are no poor performers in their work unit. Another 8 percent said that poor performers are removed or transferred, another 2 percent said they quit, and 17 percent said they remain and improve their performance over time—all possible indicators of steps management took to deal with them.

However, it also noted that 56 percent “remain in the work unit and continue to underperform”—a possible indicator that management either is not taking steps or that the steps it is taking are not effective. That suggests “possible paths for leadership action,” the presentation said.