Letter: Performance pay system needs more funding, restructuring
Regarding "Pay for performance hammered at House hearing," a reader writes: In the Dept. of Defense, execution of pay for performance under the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) has been further marred by the defense secretary's decision to fund bonuses and continuing pay increases out of the annual cost-of-living increase. Cost-of-living increases rarely keep up with inflation anyway, and this only puts Defense employees further behind the eight ball.
Also, we've moved from a system with a two-page evaluation form and an unconstrained employee self-assessment input to a 13-page evaluation form and employee input constrained to about 800 words.
Finally, NSPS is constrained by funds available to award for performance, just like the demonstration projects of previous yearst. This forces supervisors to fit the actual performance and adjective grades of their employees into a "normal distribution model" to not give "too many" high marks. Once again, the system puts the supervisor and employee in an unresolvable conflict. Such systems should be discarded in favor of true goal/bonus-oriented constructs as those used by many industres, or replaced with a straight supervisor/employee opinion survey like we had under the previous civil service arrangement.
Most USCS employees I've met are not "incentivized" or "motivated" by any personnel evaluation system; rather, such systems are viewed as a necessary evil in order to satisfy the misperceptions of upper management and Congress. If government employees needed a satisfactory performance evaluation/career development system in order to do and retain their jobs, there would have been a mass exodus from the government years ago. The more common reasons we stay and work include: sense of duty/national service responsibility, excellent pay/benefit package, feeling of making a difference/contribution to our customers, and liking co-workers and/or work environment.
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