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DHS gets poor marks in managing employee performance

Apr. 26, 2010 - 04:23PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments
Only 30 percent of the respondents to a DHS survey said they feel that poor performers are dealt with effectively, and only 24 percent said they believe pay raises depended on how well employees do their jobs. (Christine Keith / The Arizona Republic)

A new survey shows that many Homeland Security Department employees believe performance has little to do with raises and promotions given out and that poor performers are not effectively dealt with.

Only 29 percent of employees said promotions are based on merit, according to a survey conducted by Homeland Security between October and December and released April 22. That is six percentage points below the governmentwide average of 35 percent, as published in the 2008 Federal Human Capital Survey.

Only 30 percent of respondents said they feel that poor performers are dealt with effectively, and only 24 percent said they believe pay raises depend on how well employees do their jobs. And only 30 percent said they feel that differences in performance are meaningfully recognized. Those statistics are roughly comparable with the governmentwide average in 2008.

Homeland Security found 38 percent of employees feel creativity and innovation are rewarded, about two percentage points less than the 2008 governmentwide average.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 24,000 Customs and Border Protection officers and is vying to represent the Transportation Security Administration, said April 23 that the results were concerning.

"The critical responsibilities of this department require complete employee engagement, so it is not productive to have employees believe that personnel decisions are based on arbitrary factors or personal favoritism," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said.

Recruitment is also a concern among Homeland Security employees. The survey found 39 percent of employees felt their work unit could recruit people with the right skills six percentage points lower than the 2008 governmentwide average.

But the department's employees are highly motivated. Two-thirds of respondents said their work makes them feel personally accomplished, 91 percent agreed the work they do is important, and 83 percent said they like their work.

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