Fedweek

The Trump administration’s President’s Management Agenda, released Tuesday (March 20) largely restates several initiatives related to the federal workforce that the administration previously has said that it intends to push, including a stronger emphasis on the consequences–positive or negative–to employees of their job performance.

“Leading human capital practices begin with rewards and recognition capabilities that reinforce results, accountability, and performance. Yet government’s current performance management system provides only a nominal difference in rewards for top employees versus mid-level performers, making it difficult to retain top talent … the administration will improve employee performance management to better reward high performing employees, while supporting managers in removing poor performers.” it says.

It cited a recent budgetary proposal to create a $1 billion fund to provide “targeted pay incentives to reward and retain high performers.” That fund was proposed as a tradeoff for a general pay raise, however, and like the budget, the management agenda document does not specify how it would be divided. Also as had the budget, the management agenda says that some of the funds would go to reward and retain “those with the most essential skills” although that is an issue separate from performance.

It also repeats the budget’s call to stretch out within-grade raises, arguing that they mainly reward tenure, not performance. Neither of those documents specify how much time would be added to advance to each higher step, although a separate recent budget document from OPM said it would be an additional year.

It cited data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey showing that only 31 percent agree that steps are taken to deal with poor performers. In terms similar to those used in the budget, it said that managers “are reluctant to remove a (poor performing) employee and may receive inad-equate support from their agency in attempting to do so.”

While supporting managers who want to take disciplinary action is within an agency’s control, the other ideas would require approval of Congress.