SESers to have new metrics by September

Wednesday - 8/3/2011, 11:18am EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

A new and standardized Senior Executive Service performance management system could be ready by Sept. 30.

John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, made the announcement in a memo to agency secretaries detailing the efforts of a new interagency working group of the President's Management Council to develop a new approach to performance.

According to the memo:

The workgroup will review federal agency models to capitalize on existing practices that may be adopted or adapted, and also consider private-sector executive performance management practices through consultation with the President's Management Advisory Board. This concept will significantly improve the certification process and the overall performance management of senior executives by providing a common framework and structure — while enabling agency customization — thereby improving consistency, clarity, transferability, efficiency and accountability. A standard system will also foster a holistic approach for selecting, developing, appraising, recognizing, and retaining a diverse and high-performing cadre of federal executives.

The PMC working group includes 10 agencies, including OPM, the Office of Management and Budget, and several other departments.

The effort to revise SES performance management began in May 2010, after the PMC and the Chief Human Capital Officer's Council found inconsistent approaches to SES performance measurement by agencies. OPM and OMB followed up in February with a memo detailing efforts to increase training and development opportunities for SES.

This latest effort is focused on coming up with the specifics of how agencies should measure SES performance in the future.

"Through a very aggressive timeline, the workgroup aims to complete the design by the end of September; however, agencies will implement the new system in a phased manner over the course of the next two years, as their certifications near expiration, to ensure a smooth transition," Berry wrote in the latest memo. "This initiative provides a significant opportunity for Federal agencies to collaborate on a standard solution, allowing us to innovatively improve our management of executives in the federal government."

The administration has come under criticism for moving too slowly on reforming the SES. The Senior Executives Association has been pushing for more reforms and for them to happen more quickly.

Congress also has been studying SES reforms. Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) is expected to reintroduce his SES reforms bill later this year. He also introduced the Federal Supervisor Training Act in April, which would require a new training program for managers.

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