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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

What is a "retention standard"?

A retention standard describes the level of performance necessary to be retained in a job (i.e., the standard written for performance one level above the Unacceptable level). In appraisal programs where a Minimally Successful or equivalent level exists for appraising elements, the retention standard is the Minimally Successful or equivalent standard. In appraisal programs that do not have a Minimally Successful or equivalent level available, the retention standard is the Fully Successful standard.

The Merit Systems Protection Board and the courts have held that an agency

  • must ensure that retention standards:
  • are reasonably attainable
  • are not impermissibly absolute (allow for no error)
  • inform the employee of the level of performance needed to retain his or her job

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