Pay for Performance:

Interim Report on the Performance Management and Recognition System

GGD-89-69BR: Published: May 18, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined Performance Management and Recognition System (PMRS) and Senior Executive Service (SES) employees' views on the effectiveness of and possible improvements to PMRS, a pay-for-performance evaluation system for non-SES supervisors and managers.

GAO found that the employees: (1) continued to perceive PMRS negatively, identifying performance appraisal problems cited in an earlier survey; (2) had mixed support for the pay-for-performance concept; (3) believed that award quotas and management pressure about appraisals influenced ratings and awards; (4) believed that highly visible or well-liked staff received more awards; (5) believed that performance awards were too small to motivate better performance, and some preferred more accurate ratings and evaluations over the small monetary awards; (6) saw no improvement in management communication about job standards and pay decisions after PMRS implementation; (7) lacked adequate understanding of how PMRS worked and how agencies made individual rating and pay decisions; and (8) had mixed support for PMRS revision proposals involving reducing personnel rating categories to satisfactory or unsatisfactory to alleviate inaccuracy problems, establishing award panels for making performance award decisions, increasing managers' and supervisors' salaries, or returning to the General Schedule system.

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