OPM Issues Agency Memo on Streamlining Performance Management

In a memo issued to agency leadership last week, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Dale Cabaniss provides agencies with a roadmap for streamlining performance management and dismissal policies and procedures. The memo aligns with the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) priorities on “modernizing the federal government and its workforce.”

The memo outlines the PMA Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal 3 on Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century, which includes a challenge to agencies to maximize employee performance management and engagement.

Director Cabaniss explains, “A significant action that agencies should be taking to meet this challenge is streamlining and updating agency performance management and dismissal policies and procedures.”

The memo cites the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) April 12, 2017 memorandum, Subject: Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce, for providing the expectation for agencies’ plans to maximize employee performance.

The OMB memo requires that agencies:

  • Review whether agency policies create unnecessary barriers to addressing poor performance;
  • Remove steps and procedures for addressing poor performance and misconduct that are not required by statute or Federal regulation that is currently in force; and
  • Provide supervisors with rules and guidance regarding performance improvement plans (PIPs) pursuant to Chapter 43 (noting PIPs can be started at any point and not just at the end of the rating period) and guidance that unacceptable performance can be addressed through Chapter 75. Ideally, the guidance should be developed for application across the entire agency; but if that is not possible, it should be aimed toward application at the highest major component level possible.

Director Cabaniss explains the purpose of this memo as “a reminder that the PMA captures these requirements as a part of CAP Goal 3, and the goal leaders for this effort have set a target for agencies to comply by no later than the end of Quarter 2 of Fiscal Year 2020.”

Director Cabaniss encourages agencies to review the PMA, related documents, and the most recent Action Plan for CAP Goal 3 to ensure the agency is headed in the right direction, such as ensuring managers and the human resources professionals who support them are all appropriately trained on best practices for managing employee performance and conduct.

“Completion of these actions advances Federal-wide achievement of PMA CAP Goal 3, and moves us all further towards the President’s overarching vision of a Federal Government that delivers mission outcomes and excellent service to the American people,” the memo explains.

No later than April 30, 2020, agencies are directed to notify OPM of their completion of and compliance with each of the three requirements outlined by OMB. Notifications should be an e-mail message from an agency representative that a) confirms the agency’s completion of each of the three requirements; or b) provides (1) a brief statement explaining why a requirement has not yet been completed; (2) the date by which the agency expects to be able to report compliance; and (3) an agency point of contact.

OPM also recently proposed new regulations on governing probationary period for initial appointments to a competitive position, performance-based reduction in grade and removal actions, and adverse actions. Comments can be made on the proposed rules until October 17.

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