The Government Accountability Office recommended in a Nov. 20 report that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) improve its website and take more steps to share “innovations in performance management” with other Federal agencies.

GAO’s recommendations stem from its examination of Federal non-Senior Executive Service performance management systems.

That process included looking at: government-wide trends in employee perception of performance management as measured by results of selected Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) statements;  practices that four agencies–the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Comptroller of the Currency–use to improve performance management; and OPM’s guidance and resources to support agency efforts to improve performance management government-wide.

Among other data, GAO analyzed responses to FEVS statements from 2010 to 2017, looked at the four selected agencies to identify practices that contribute to improved performance management, reviewed OPM documents, and spoke with OPM officials.

At the end of that process, GAO offered three recommendations, all of which OPM agreed with:

  • OPM’s director, in consultation with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCOC), should establish a process for updating its performance management website “to include all available guidance and resources, making this information easily available, and providing links to other related websites”;
  • OPM’s director, again in consultation with CHCOC, should develop a mechanism “for agencies to routinely and independently share promising practices and lessons learned, such as allowing agencies to post such information on OPM’s Performance Management portal”; and
  • OPM’s director should develop a “strategic approach” for identifying and sharing emerging research and innovations in performance management.”

“OPM provides guidance and opportunities for agencies to share promising practices on performance management; however, some of this information is not easily accessible on its performance management website,” GAO said in its Nov. 20 report. “In addition, OPM does not leverage its leadership position to formally identify and share emerging performance management research and innovation with agencies. As a result, agencies, and therefore their employees, may not benefit from the best information available.”

“Managing employee performance has been a long-standing government-wide issue and the subject of numerous reforms since the beginning of the modern civil service,” GAO said. “Without effective performance management, agencies risk not only losing the skills of top talent, they also risk missing the opportunity to effectively address increasingly complex and evolving mission challenges,” the watchdog agency said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.