As part of its ongoing strategy to improve employee engagement, the Office of Personnel Management has a plan to tackle the thorny issue of employee misconduct.

The agency introduced new guidance on Jan. 11 illustrating the tools human resource managers can use to handle employee performance and conduct issues.

Related: Read the guidance

"While the vast majority of federal employees contribute to their agencies' goals in a positive manner, supervisors must still be prepared to address employee performance and conduct issues," said acting OPM Director Beth Cobert in a statement.

"However, too often, implementation challenges and misconceptions related to addressing employee performance and conduct get in the way of taking swift and appropriate action to manage individuals whose performance or conduct detracts from the accomplishment of an agency's mission."

The guidance explores strategies for avoiding performance and conduct issues, addressing them with non-Senior Executive Service employees during and after a probationary period, addressing unacceptable performance and other issues.

Strategies include including employees in performance planning processes, explaining performance expectations and communicating with employees about deficiencies early before outlining the formal procedures for documenting the performance-based action.

Cobert said the guidance wasn’t comprehensive, but showcased tools managers could use to navigate employee performance and conduct issues.

"If the available management tools are used appropriately and when needed, managers and supervisors have an opportunity to deter future performance or misconduct challenges, and employees have an opportunity to improve their performance or correct their behavior, all of which will benefit the agency," she said.

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