Ways To Improve Federal Management and Use of Productivity Based Reward Systems

FPCD-81-24: Published: Dec 31, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 31, 1980.

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GAO studied the concept of reward systems based on productivity standards to identify ways by which federal work-force productivity can be improved.

GAO found that: (1) productivity-based reward systems have had positive effects on productivity in certain work situations, and there seems to be potential for greater use of the concept in the federal government; (2) current Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance on incentive awards for federal employees does not adequately cover productivity-based reward systems; and (3) some of the federal agency initiatives do not include key features of well designed productivity-based reward systems, while others include features or have had experience that could be helpful to the design and operation of other agencies' systems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should: (1) develop additional Federal Personnel Manual incentive guidance specifically for productivity-based reward systems so federal agencies will be aware of the opportunity to establish these systems and the limitations on their use; (2) prepare a handbook of instructions describing key steps, principles, and features of productivity-based reward systems to help federal agencies design, implement, and manage their initiatives; and (3) identify and analyze ongoing federal agency productivity-based rewad systems to be able to provide assistance where needed and highlight certain useful features and experiences.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management


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