HR

Fed performance reviews will get a revamp

The Office of Personnel Management has made changes to the tool agencies use to evaluate their employee assessment programs, as part of an administration-wide push to improve employee management and accountability.

OPM Associate Director for Employee Services Mark Reinhold wrote in a memo to agencies Nov. 26 that his agency had made changes to the Performance Appraisal Assessment Tool to better reflect the objectives of the President’s Management Agenda.

“By completing the tool, agencies are able to identify programmatic strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategies and plans necessary to support effective performance management within the agency,” Reinhold wrote.

The tool is optional, but using it can help agencies make sure that they are keeping in line with OPM regulations on employee management.

The changes include an emphasis on indicators of effective employee management — such as formal and informal performance feedback, protection of whistleblowers and supervisory accountability — a streamlined questionnaire about an agency’s employee management program and a revised assessment derivation for agencies to evaluate their individual programs.

The PAAT system provides agencies with scores on how well their employee management systems meet governmentwide expectations, and agencies are expected to demonstrate improvements from one score to another.

The Trump administration’s employee management initiatives have largely proven controversial. On top of executive orders that limit the power of federal labor unions, President Donald Trump has pushed for more authority to address poorly performing feds, as a response to insights from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

But federal labor unions have argued that such changes could jeopardize the due process rights of employees, and managers simply don’t understand the current avenues they have available to them to address difficult employees.

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