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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

  • Yes. OPM believes it is possible to develop a critical element and standard that holds a supervisor, manager, or team leader responsible for group performance. The element and standard would have to be crafted carefully so that it identifies measurable achievements that would be expected to result when the individual supervisor, manager, or team leader properly exercises his or her leadership responsibilities.
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  • No, the prohibitions contained in the criminal code do not bar agencies from providing referral bonuses to employees who have referred potential job applicants. An opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, states that the prohibitions in the criminal code seek to prevent candidates for federal employment from having to pay influence-peddlers or employment agencies to obtain government positions (13 Op. Off. Legal Counsel 277, 1989).
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  • Yes. OPM regulations require agencies to train rating officials on performance management topics (including developing performance plans, providing feedback, appraising and rewarding performance).
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  • In designing their award programs, agencies have a responsibility to look beyond the award regulations themselves and make sure that the specific reward and incentive programs that are being proposed do not conflict with other laws or regulations. Examples of other rules that can be directly related to incentive/reward schemes are procurement, travel, Fair Labor Standards Act, and tax withholding. These compliance issues surface most often when we are asked to review an agency's proposal for an innovative award scheme.
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  • Yes. There are some award restrictions regarding political appointees depending on the nature of their appointment. Non-career SES members are not eligible for performance awards or Presidential Rank Awards. In addition, non-career SES and employees in confidential or policy-determining Schedule C positions may not receive awards during a Presidential election period (June 1 of a Presidential election year through January 20 of the following year). Meanwhile, PAS appointees (employees appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate) may not receive awards at any time.
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  • Yes. When submitting status and dynamics files, agencies must submit three pieces of rating of record data to OPM's EHRI for each individual record:   the summary level the pattern of the program that the rating was given under the ending date of the rating's associated appraisal period
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  • The law intends critical elements to be used to establish individual accountability.  This restriction is clearest for non-supervisory employees who may be serving as team members.  Consequently, critical elements generally are not appropriate for identifying and measuring team performance, which by its definition involves shared accountability. A supervisor or manager can and should be held accountable for seeing that results measured at the group or team level are achieved.  Critical elements assessing group performance may be appropriate to include in the performance plan of a supervisor, manager or team leader who can reasonably be expected to command the resources and authority necessary to achieve the results (i.e., be held individually accountable). However, agencies can use other ways to factor team performance into ratings of record or other performance-related decisions, such as granting awards.  One approach to bringing team performance into the process of deriving a rating of record, and certainly to the process of distributing recognition and rewards, is to establish team performance goals within the team members' performance plans as either non-critical or additional performance elements.
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  • Yes. The requirements dealing with electronic signatures are:
    • the signal or symbol must be unique to the signer
    • the "signature" must be capable of being verified and must be linked to the data being transmitted, including the effective date
    • control features must be in place to insure the authenticity of data on the form, including the electronic signature
    • such controls must provide reasonable assurance that deliberate or inadvertent manipulation, modification or loss of data on the electronically stored form is detected
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  • Yes. Provided the temporary employees meet the Governmentwide requirements. An agency may exclude an employee who: is serving in a position under a temporary position for less than 1 year, agrees to serve without a performance evaluation, and will not be considered for a reappointment or for an increase in pay based in whole or in part on performance.
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  • The importance of team performance can be emphasized through the creation of appropriate awards.  Where goals are reasonably stable, measurable and achievable, agencies may wish to establish incentive awards that are granted on the basis of achieving team performance objectives or sharing savings from gains in team efficiency and productivity among team members.
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