Results Oriented Management: OPM Needs to Do More to Ensure Meaningful Distinctions Are Made in SES Ratings and Performance Awards
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
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The career SES, a cadre of senior leaders, has a pay-for-performance compensation system, which includes annual cash performance awards. OPM has a key leadership and oversight role in the implementation of the SES pay-for-performance system, including the certification of SES performance appraisal systems. GAO was asked to examine SES performance awards. Specifically, this report 1 describes key characteristics of executive branch agency ratings and performance awards for fiscal years 2010 through 2013, and 2 provides a more in-depth look at five departments fiscal year 2013 ratings and awards. GAO analyzed data from OPM on the 24 CFO Act agencies for fiscal years 2010 through 2013. GAO also selected five case study departments Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Treasury and examined how they factored organizational and individual performance into their fiscal year 2013 SES performance awards. What GAO Recommends GAO recommends that the Director of OPM consider various refinements to better ensure the SES performance appraisal system certification guidelines promote making meaningful distinctions in performance. Options could include not certifying appraisal systems where the modal rating is outstanding. OPM disagreed with the recommendation stating that, among other things, it could result in forced distributions in ratings. GAO maintains that additional action should be considered to ensure equity in ratings and performance awards across departments.
- Administration and Management
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations