The federal government should reward performance more by altering step increases and moving toward a multi-competency ratings system. Increases in salary would be tier-based. Employees with the highest quintile (top 20 percent) of scores would receive the highest increase. Employees with the lowest quintile of scores would receive no increase in salary.
Employees who score in the lowest decile (bottom 10 percent) three times in a row would automatically be put into a performance improvement plan. If these employees scored in the lowest decile again, their manager would have the option of asking them to leave the agency. Employees who scored in the lowest decile for the fifth time in a row would be automatically terminated.
The Federal Times recently found that only about 0.06 percent of federal employees are denied a step increase due to performance. Based on data from the Office of Personnel Management, only 737 out of more than 1.2 million General Schedule employees did not receive a regularly scheduled step increase and accompanying raise in 2009 because of poor performance. I have experiences, and spoken to many people who have experiences, working with people who are essentially “dead weight.” I have also heard these people referred to as “retired in place.” Managers are reluctant to give these people “below expectations” ratings because of potential legal issues and enormous documentation requirements. We should require a score-based system that rewards and disciplines based on relative scores.