The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently released a memo pushing federal agencies to "strive for demanding metrics" when evaluating employees. The OPM states federal agencies should use demanding metrics to help properly reward outstanding workers.
Unfortunately, there is concern that comes with this memo. The push to reward outstanding workers could result in unreasonable expectations.
Reason for concern: Are evaluations objective?
Vague standards can lead to subjective evaluations and confusion within the workplace. It appears the OPM was aware of the potential for such issues. In an effort to avoid this problem, the OPM went on to encourage federal agencies to use standards that are "sufficiently specific to provide a firm benchmark."
In previous publications, the OPM has stated specific measures are important and should include a measurement of the “quantity, quality, timeliness, and/or cost-effectiveness of the element” measured for review. If a clear number is not an option, the OPM encourages federal employers to name an adequate judge of completion, such as a first-line supervisor.
Time to act: When should federal employees proactively protect their interests?
This move is just one in a serious of recent attempts to change the standards used to measure employee performance. Transitional times can lead to confusion and potentially fuel false allegations within the workplace. In some cases, employer scrutiny warrants concern. If you believe you are being wrongly investigated or disciplined by a federal employer it may be wise to seek legal counsel to discuss your options and better ensure your legal rights are protected.