Senior Executive Service to get standard evaluations

October, 23, 2011

As early as this month, members of the Senior Executive Service will see changes in their performance management system. Recent trends have seen greater weight given to only one of the five core qualifications; the new systems aims to balance the equation, evaluating the SES member as a whole. Rather than overemphasize “results” when evaluating executives’ performance, they want to guarantee at least some consideration of the other four qualifications.

According to the Senior Executive Association, agencies will be able to weight the five qualifications differently, but The Office of Management and Budget will require the “results driven” qualification to make up at least 20 percent of someone’s final score. The other four qualifications will have a minimum weight of 5 percent.

“It’s going to provide some level of uniformity governmentwide on what appraisals look like, while allowing agencies some local discretion,” said Bill Bransford, general counsel for SEA, which represents thousands of SES members. “The idea is to get them on the same page.”

The SEA states that OMB sent an email Sept. 21 that said the new system “will provide a consistent and uniform framework for agencies to communicate expectations and evaluate the performance of SES members, particularly centering on the role and responsibility of SES employees to provide executive leadership.”

The final plan will be unveiled this month, and all federal agencies will transition to it within two years.

But SEA said that designing a new performance management system isn’t the hard part — executing it well is.

“Efforts to re-tool the performance management system are really only valuable in terms of focusing people’s attention on executing the system consistently and well,” SEA said in comments sent to the Office of Personnel Management. “The actual structure is less important than how it’s implemented.”

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