New OPM guidelines to hold senior execs more accountable

The Office of Personnel Management is helping agencies better review their senior executives.

The overhaul, which is part of the update to the Senior Executive Service’s three-year-old appraisal system, will better enable agencies to ensure members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) are held more accountable for individual and agency performance, and to provide new oversight guidelines.

The update covers 14 different directives for the SES on performance management, the protocols for performance reviews, directions for appointing new senior executives and how to use results to track work ethic.

The new performance guidelines begin on Oct. 26, according to a final rule OPM issued Sept. 25.

Under the new regulations, agencies must develop or administer one or more performance management systems that monitor critical elements and performance requirements of senior executives.

The updates also requires senior executives to undergo an appraisal period of 90 days or more, and for agencies to establish criteria that rates executives who are reassigned, transferred or on detail.

If they don’t already have one, agencies will have to create performance review boards of three members or more in order to make recommendations for potential senior executives. Those members also must be SESers themselves when it comes to voting for pay adjustments or awards for senior executives.

Appraisals and reviews are being updated as well. Agencies will have to develop reviews based on performance factors such as customer and employee perspectives, how well senior executives promote diversity, inclusion and engagement in their organizations, and their employees’ levels of productivity and effectiveness.

Senior executives will also have to go through yearly performance reviews and have at least one one performance review during their appraisal period.

Agencies will have to communicate the results of their performance surveys so they can see just how well they’re doing.

The changes come after President Barack Obama announced a number of reforms to the SES program last December in order to prepare for the upcoming wave of senior managers eligible for retirement in 2017.

The reforms include creating a leadership development program to provide managers with rotational assignments at different agencies so that they can develop new skills. The President also called for the formation of an advisory group made up of SES members and aspiring senior executives to focus on how the government recruits, hires and retains senior executives.

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