The President's Management Council has endorsed a three-step process
to improve performance management in federal agencies, a Clinton
administration official announced Wednesday.
Top officials hope a white paper outlining the process, made public
at the Office of Personnel Management's Senior Management Conference in
Springfield, Va., will help tackle what has long been a source of
controversy for both employees and managers.
In a recent survey, federal employees said they were very unsatisfied
with how managers deal with poor performers, said Morley Winograd,
director of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR),
in a speech at the conference.
But now the President's Management Council, which includes top
management officials at major agencies, has endorsed several ways to
address the problem, Winograd said. The paper outlines three general
steps to improve performance management with specific recommendations on
how to reach each step.
The first step, "expect excellence," calls on managers to
establish balanced measures of results to ensure that employees know
what's expected of them. These include measuring operational results,
customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. Agencies also should go
beyond required performance reviews to give employees ongoing feedback,
the report said.
To "establish accountability," the next step, agencies need
to evaluate managers on how well they manage performance, focus award
programs on tangible results, and train all new managers on how to give
The final step, "take timely action," suggests that early
intervention can prevent poor performance before it becomes a major
problem. Many of the recommendations under this theme rely on sharing
best practices among agencies and managers. The report also suggests
that performance management laws should be revised to simplify the
process of removing poor performers.
"We at NPR like to say that the way you change an organization's
culture is to change the conversation," he said. The balanced
measures outlined in the white paper will help direct agencies'
conversations from budgets to customers and commitment, he said.
With renewed commitment to performance management issues from the
Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office and now
the President's Management Council, "the heavens are aligned in our
favor," Winograd said.
The white paper is online here: "Report
to the President's Management Council on Managing Performance in the
Government" (.doc format)