This document was downloaded and archived from  May 21, 2001.

  Daily Briefing  

March 16, 2000

Agencies endorse performance management principles

By Katy Saldarini

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 performance feedback.

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)

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