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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 14, 1994

Reinventing Human Resource Management -- Part 2

Accompanying Report of the National Performance Review

Office of the Vice President

Washington, DC

September 1993

HRM04: Authorize Agencies to Develop Incentive Award and Bonus Systems to Improve Individual and Organizational Performance


Federal law provides for monetary awards for various categories of employees and requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to issue regulations to govern agency awards programs. OPM has issued supplemental guidance for use by agencies in designing and managing productivity gainsharing programs. Agencies also establish nonmonetary and honor award programs under their own broad administrative authority.

Since 1978, Congress, following the lead of the private sector, has attempted to link pay and performance through merit pay and other pay for performance programs. The current merit pay system for nonmanagerial General Schedule (GS) employees provides that employees with a fully successful rating receive within-grade step increases at scheduled intervals (from one to three years depending on position in rate range). In addition, employees may, no more than once a year, receive additional step increases--Quality Step Increases--based on outstanding performance. The Performance Management and Recognition System (PMRS) applies to supervisors and managers at grades 13-15. Employees covered by PMRS who are rated fully successful receive the general GS increase and an annual merit increase and are eligible for performance awards. Employees rated less than fully successful receive a partial or no general increase and are not eligible for merit increases and performance awards.

Congress reaffirmed its commitment to pay for performance in the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990. In May 1993, OPM circulated a working draft proposal, "Principles and Features of Performance Management Reform," which describes reform of employee performance planning, assessment, and incentive systems.

In 1991, two congressionally mandated committees made recommendations for improving pay for performance for federal government employees in "Advancing Managerial Excellence: A Report on Improving the Performance Management and Recognition System," which looked at PMRS for managerial employees, and "Strengthening the Link Between Pay and Performance: Report of the Pay for Performance Labor Management Committee," which considered pay for performance for nonmanagerial employees. PMRS expires on October 31, 1993. As a result, legislation will be needed to provide a substitute performance incentive system for GM employees.

Need for Change

Pay for performance programs have had mixed results in both the public and private sectors. After several years of experience and study, informed observers (e.g., the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Merit Systems Protection Board, the National Research Council) agree that (1) there is insufficient empirical evidence that pay for performance programs are effective, and (2) variable pay or bonuses are superior to base pay adjustments for improving employee performance. Federal employees generally do not believe that pay and performance are in fact linked, and the majority of employees do not believe they were treated fairly with regard to awards.

Governmentwide incentive programs are not responsive to organizationspecific needs and objectives, workforce characteristics, and agency cultures. The emphasis is primarily on incentives and awards for individual performance, not those that recognize organizational or team performance, or even individual contributions to team accomplishments. The current approach promotes competition, with winners and losers, rather than cooperation and cohesion, which are important elements in most successful government programs. Productivity gainsharing is not widely used even though it has proven to be an effective tool for improving organizational performance. Agencies do not approach bonuses and awards in a comprehensive manner--each award or award category is seen as independent of all other bonuses and awards. Monetary awards tend to be emphasized and non-monetary awards deemphasized. Finally, it is generally believed that pay for performance initiatives have been insufficiently funded, which contributes to their lack of effectiveness.

A promising but relatively little-used approach to linking awards with improved performance is productivity gainsharing. GAO defines gainsharing as "incentive systems that measure gains in employee productivity and share the savings generated between employees and the organization."(1) Typically about half of the savings or gains are retained by the organization, and the other half are divided among the employees who were responsible for those savings. GAO looked at 18 gainsharing programs in the Department of Defense (DOD) and found that all of them reported documented cost savings ($7,000 to over $1 million) and indirect benefits such as decreased sick leave usage and reduction in overtime costs.(2) They concluded: "DOD's gainsharing efforts to date demonstrate that individual/small group programs can generate cost savings and other related improvements."(3) GAO also looked at private gainsharing efforts and found similar success. GAO identified three major trends in private sector gainsharing: "gainsharing programs based on organizationwide productivity measurements are replacing programs based on individual or small group productivity measurements . . . organizational "gainsharing programs are achieving high success rates . . . [and] private sector firms are increasingly using employee participation systems in their gainsharing programs."(4)

An ideal performance incentive system provides managers with the tools they need to reward and motivate excellent performance. Base pay adjustments are predictable--which is important to employees; variable pay or bonuses can be used as an incentive for improving employee performance--which is important to managers. The awards available are both monetary and non-monetary and are designed to be consistent with the unique characteristics of the work, the workforce, and culture of the organization. Individuals, teams, and organizations are rewarded and recognized for performance. Productivity gainsharing is used as an incentive to improve organizational performance.


  1. Authorize agencies to develop their own incentive programs. (3)

By fall 1994, the director of OPM should submit draft legislation to Congress to authorize agencies to develop their own incentive programs. Agency-based incentive award and bonus programs should be based on the following principles:

Complete decentralization of incentives within a framework of governmentwide principles is expected to result in development of agency-based incentive systems that are unified, consistent with agency cultures, and owned by managers and employees who will help develop them. Employee and union involvement will be required. Base pay adjustments should remain predictable and uniform, in keeping with the recommendation of the Pay for Performance Labor Management Committee. Variable pay in the form of non-monetary and monetary incentives would be available as a tool for performance improvement.

2. Encourage agencies to establish productivity gainsharing programs called Federal Performance Sharing to support the reinvention and change effort. (1)

The director of the Federal Quality Institute should form, sponsor, and support a temporary team of government experts to plan and implement a six-month campaign to encourage establishment of gainsharing programs, called Federal Performance Sharing, by agencies governmentwide. To achieve its objective, the team may conduct briefings, develop training programs, organize conferences, consult/provide technical assistance, develop information systems, develop reporting systems, and organize interagency networks. Performance sharing should be a cooperative effort between employees and managers. Employees and their representatives must be involved in the creation, design, and implementation of agency-based Federal Performance Sharing, which, in the case of employees represented by an employee union, will require collective bargaining.

Performance sharing could be an important incentive for employees and managers to implement National Performance Review (NPR) recommendations; if by implementing NPR recommendations, employees and managers can make government work better and cost less, they can share in the savings. Performance sharing emphasizes results, mission accomplishment, and empowerment, and is an appropriate incentive for reinvention.

Cross References to Other NPR Accompanying Reports

Mission-Driven, Results-Oriented Budgeting, BGT02: Effectively Implement the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.


  1. U.S. General Accounting Office, Gainsharing: DOD Efforts Highlight an Effective Tool for Enhancing Federal Productivity, GAO/GGD-86- 143BR (Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office, September 1986), p. 2.
  2. Ibid., p. 2.
  3. Ibid., p. 21.
  4. Ibid., p. 10.

HRM05: Strengthen Systems to Support

Management in Dealing with Poor Performers


The General Accounting Office (GAO) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), after collecting data through surveys and/or site visits, concluded that effective federal managers can and regularly do deal with poor performers, either rehabilitating them or removing them. MSPB reported that about 64 percent of the federal supervisors they surveyed had dealt with at least one poor performer in the past two years; 90 percent said they counseled and worked with poor performers informally; and 88 percent said they would take formal action if and when such informal actions fail.(1) Similarly, GAO reported, "Contrary to general perceptions, supervisors were generally willing to deal with their poor performers and expressed a willingness to deal with them in the future."(2) However, GAO also reported that supervisors view the process for dealing with poor performers as unduly difficult and time-consuming. GAO found that an average supervisor spent about five hours per week working with each poor performer under his or her supervision and that this time commitment could last for months. Furthermore, GAO found that the slowness of the process discouraged some supervisors from taking any serious action against a poor performer.(3)

GAO noted that supervisors have the greatest difficulty dealing with employees who are rated minimally satisfactory. This rating falls between unsatisfactory and fully satisfactory in five-level rating systems. There are few actions that a supervisor can take to deal with employees who are rated minimally satisfactory, and, as a result, some employees remain at this level for extended periods of time. One option that GAO proposed for consideration was eliminating the minimally satisfactory rating.(4)

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) sought to make it easier for managers to deal with poor performers by developing better performance management systems and reforming the appeals and grievance processes to make them less of a deterrent to employee discipline. As noted in HRM03, CSRA and post-CSRA performance management systems have not resulted in improved individual and organizational performance. CSRA did modify the burden of proof necessary to sustain a performance-based adverse action. Whereas the burden of proof in an adverse action because of misconduct is the preponderance of evidence standard, there is a lower standard of proof on an agency in an appeal of a performance-based adverse action--the substantial evidence standard. Legal experts explain: "This means, in practice, that even if the employee presents a good argument that he performed his job, the supervisor's judgment that the employee did not accomplish his job will be accepted unless the supervisor's opinion is unreasonable or has no factual support. This evidentiary standard has resulted in nearly all performance-based adverse actions being sustained by the MSPB . . ."(5) They also point out potential difficulties: "The most frequent reason an agency has difficulty sustaining a performance-based adverse action is an inadequately developed performance standard."(6)

Need for Change

There are improvements in systems, culture, and skill that can help managers deal more effectively with poor performers.

Improved Systems.
As noted in HRM03, current performance management programs have multiple conflicting objectives and as a result meet none of them-- most importantly, the objective that performance improve. In addition, performance management programs were not designed to be consistent with or supportive of agency culture and are not owned by agency managers. The actions contained in HRM03 are designed to result in agency-based performance management programs that seek improvement in the performance of all employees and identify poor performers for appropriate action. Agencies would, for example, be able to design performance management systems that do not include the minimally satisfactory rating. Agencies can use the performance incentives described in HRM04 to motivate employees to improve their performance. Agencies also need to develop their own approaches to help poor performers improve their performance so it meets expectations, and take appropriate action if performance expectations are not met after assistance is provided.

It is also important that changes be made in performance systems to reduce the amount of time it takes to deal with poor performers. For example, the length of time that poor performers are given to demonstrate improved performance is often considered excessive. The 30-day notice period that the law requires before removal or certain other adverse actions can be taken is also too long. After action is taken against poor performers, there can be a lengthy review and appeal process. While an employee's right to due process must be protected, there is a need for streamlining the current processes. The actions outlined in HRM08, "Improve Processes and Procedures Established to Provide Workplace Due Process for Employees," if adopted, would contribute to streamlined appeals processes, especially if agencies adopt alternative dispute resolution methods.

Cultural Changes.
GAO recommended that "agency management . . . focus on creating an environment within which supervisors are encouraged and motivated to identify poor performers and are properly trained and supported when they attempt to deal with them."(7) Similarly, 25 percent of the supervisors surveyed by MSPB reported that lack of management support was an obstacle to taking action against poor performers. Managers and supervisors must be more effectively supported in dealing with poor performers. Agency management must be held accountable for establishing a culture that supports high performance and development of excellent performance management programs. Managers and supervisors throughout an agency must be held accountable for using culture and programs to achieve organizational goals, improve employee performance, and rehabilitate or remove poor performers. Moving to a more results-oriented management culture will support this change.

Improved Knowledge and Skills. Training can be an effective way to improve supervisory skills. The most critical skills are the interpersonal skills that a supervisor needs to communicate with an employee to develop performance standards, provide performance feedback, and improve employee performance. Supervisors also need skill in performance planning and performance management. Knowledge of performance management and disciplinary policies and procedures should be part of a comprehensive training effort and made readily available to managers or supervisors through written or electronic job aids that explain the rules and how to apply them. Managers and supervisors also need technical assistance from knowledgeable consultants with expertise in this area.


  1. Reduce by half the time required to terminate federal managers and employees for cause. Make other improvements in the systems for dealing with poor performers. (3)

In designing performance management programs as outlined in HRM03, agencies should include methods through which the time frames for terminating employees for cause will be reduced by half. To support this effort, the director of OPM will develop legislation to change the required time for notice of termination from 30 days to 15 days. This legislation should also require the waiting period for a withingrade increase to be extended by the amount of time an employee's performance does not meet expectations; that is, only the time that an employee's performance meets expectations will be creditable toward the required waiting period.

2. Develop a culture of performance that supports supervisors' efforts to deal with poor performers. (1)

Agency heads should create an organizational culture in which high performance is expected and performance management programs are seen as tools for achieving high performance. Agency heads should hold managers and supervisors accountable for dealing with poor performers--ensuring that managers (1) give assistance to employees who fail to meet performance expectations, and (2) take appropriate action (e.g., reassignment, demotion, or removal) if the employee's performance does not improve. Agencies should develop methods and procedures for monitoring how managers and supervisors deal with poor performers and use the information collected to identify issues that require the attention of top management, such as changes in the performance management system or skill deficiencies that can be addressed through training.

3. Improve supervisors' knowledge and skills in dealing with poor performers. (1)

Agency heads should give managers and supervisors training as needed in performance management, including development of performance standards and the interpersonal skills required for successful management of performance. Agencies should give managers and supervisors support (such as job aids or expert systems) and assistance (e.g., consultation as needed) in improving the performance of all employees, especially the poor performers, and in removal of employees if performance does not improve.

Developing effective systems that are focused specifically on performance improvement, creating a culture where high performance is expected and recognized and poor performance dealt with effectively and expeditiously, and ensuring that supervisors have the knowledge, skills, and support they need to improve employee performance are expected to enhance the efforts of supervisors to deal with poor performers. Requiring agencies to monitor efforts to deal with poor performers and using that information to improve systems, culture, and support for performance improvement should help keep attention focused on this critical issue.


  1. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, Federal Personnel Policies and Practices--Perspectives from the Workplace (Washington, D.C., 1987), pp. 9-12.
  2. U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), Performance Management: How Well is the Government Dealing with Poor Performers?, GAO-GGD-91-7 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office, October 1990), p. 2.
  3. Ibid., pp. 32-33, 37.
  4. Ibid., p. 28.
  5. Shaw, Jerry G., and William L. Bransford, The Federal Manager's Handbook: A Guide to Rehabilitating or Removing the Problem Employee (Washington, D.C., 1992), p. 82.
  6. Ibid., p. 85.
  7. GAO, p. 3.

HRM06: Clearly Define the Objective of Training as the Improvement of Individual and Organizational Performance; Make Training More Market-Driven


The Government Employees Training Act (GETA) of 1958 authorizes agencies to manage their own training, determine their own training needs, and select and fund training to meet those needs. The Volcker Commission offered the following assessment of agency effectiveness in exercising that authority:

[F]ederal training is suffering from an identity crisis. Agencies are not sure what they should train for (short-term or long-term), who should get the lion's share of resources (entry level or senior level), when employees need additional education (once a year or more often), and whether mid-career education is of value. . . . Career paths are poorly designed, executive succession is accidental and unplanned, and real-time training for pressured managers is virtually nonexistent. At both the career and presidential level, training is all-too-often ad hoc and self-initiated.(1)

To strengthen training in government, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) assumed a more active leadership role and, in 1992, developed a series of human resource development policy initiatives including requirements for comprehensive training needs assessment, employee orientation, and management development.

In the high-performing organization, training is seen as an investment in a strategic resource and thus is funded to the extent required for achievement of organizational mission; these excellent organizations are often called "learning organizations." The ideal training program is designed to improve individual and organizational performance. Training must be based on a careful needs assessment and rigorously evaluated to ensure that it is cost-effective. Based on a training needs assessment, one or more tools may be selected to help employees, individually or in teams, develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to improve performance. Some of the more common learning methodologies include coaching, counseling, on-thejob training, developmental job assignments, computer-based instruction, job aids, expert systems, independent study, and classroom instruction.

Need for Change

Training is not always seen primarily as a tool for improving individual and organizational performance; GETA cites "increasing economy and efficiency in the Government" as the purpose of training. GETA places a series of limitations on use of training from nongovernmental sources, which results in regulations on how training is to be managed. Limitations appropriate in 1958, when training was in its infancy in both government and the private sector, are no longer relevant. GETA requires that training be related to the official duties of an employee, which has been interpreted by some to preclude retraining and multi-skilling of government employees. Training is too frequently ad hoc and employee-originated, and seldom linked to strategic or human resource planning. Information for more strategic management of training is generally not available. Managers generally are not able to determine the effectiveness of or the return on their investment in training. Interagency training is frequently perceived by agency managers as not responsive to their needs and too costly when compared to other sources of training.

Many observers believe that training in the federal government is inadequately funded; the Volcker Commission found that in 1989 the government spent "about three-quarters of 1 percent of its payroll dollars on civilian training, compared with 3 to 5 percent in the most effective private firms."(2) Training is usually seen as a cost, not an investment. Training costs are not generally included in cost estimates for new systems or programs, and usually are not a part of the budget process. Training is too often a quick fix even though it may not be the best solution to a performance problem or the best way to impart knowledge about a regulation or requirement. Training is frequently seen as something that happens only in the classroom, and, as a result, other methods for improving performance such as job aids, expert systems, on-the-job training, coaching, mentoring, developmental work assignments, job redesign, and computer-based instruction are not considered.


  1. Deregulate training and make it more responsive to market sources. (3)

The director of OPM should submit draft legislation to Congress by January 1994 that would amend GETA to:

Clarifying the purpose of training in GETA will strengthen the emphasis on performance improvement and results. Linking training to the mission of the department or agency rather than the official duties of the employee will facilitate retraining and multi-skilling during a period of transition and change. Removing the distinction between government and non-government training will help deregulate training and make it more responsive to market forces.

2. Give agencies the flexibility to use savings realized from reinvention to increase their investment in employee training and development. (1)

Agencies are encouraged to invest part of the savings resulting from implementation of National Performance Review recommendations and actions in training and development of employees, supervisors, and managers to support further reinvention and change. Training funded in this manner might include quality improvement, benchmarking, performance measurement, customer service, reengineering and leading/managing change. Training could also be provided to help employees acquire the knowledge and skills they need to do their current jobs better, or retrain them for different jobs.

Authorizing agencies to use savings resulting from reinvention to finance employee training and development provides additional incentive for reinvention, increases the funds available to invest in employee training, and helps ensure that the federal workforce becomes more effective and productive.

Cross References to Other NPR Accompanying Reports

Creating Quality Leadership and Management, QUAL02: Improve Government Performance through Strategic and Quality Management; and QUAL03: Strengthen the Corps of Senior Leaders.

Improving Regulatory Systems,
REG10: Provide Better Training and Incentives for Regulators.

Reengineering Through Information Technology, IT13: Provide Training and Technical Assistance in Information Technology to Federal Employees.

Rethinking Program Design,
DES04: Commission Program Design Courses.

Transforming Organizational Structures, ORG01: Reduce the Costs and Numbers of Positions Associated with Management Control Structures by Half.


  1. The National Commission on the Public Service, Leadership for America: Rebuilding the Public Service (Washington, D.C., 1989), p. 43.
  2. Ibid.

Enable Employees to Manage Work and Family Responsibilities

HRM07: Enhance Programs to Provide Family-Friendly Workplaces


The federal government has traditionally been viewed as a familyfriendly employer with many programs in place to help employees balance work and family responsibilities. The Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1978 gives agencies the authority to provide flexible and compressed work schedules for their employees.(1) The Federal Employees Part-time Career Employment Act of 1978 requires federal agencies to increase part-time opportunities for federal employees at all grade levels.(2) In 1990, Congress again tried to increase the availability of part-time employment for interested individuals by requiring the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to establish a job sharing program.

The Federal Employees Leave Sharing Act of 1988 authorizes agencies to participate in voluntary pilot leave transfer and leave bank programs.(3) The federal government does not provide short-term disability benefits for its employees, except for job-related illness and injuries, so leave sharing helps employees maintain some or all income through a period of temporary disability or family medical crisis. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993(4) provides up to 12 administrative workweeks of unpaid family and medical leave for federal employees.(5)

In January 1990, the General Services Administration (GSA) and OPM implemented the Federal Flexible Workplace Pilot Project (Flexiplace) to gain experience and information from work-at-home programs, satellite work center programs, and flexiplace accommodations for disabled workers. Congress demonstrated continued support for the Flexiplace project in September 1992, when it appropriated $5 million to GSA to establish three telecommuting centers. The telecommuting centers will provide alternate worksites for federal employees who currently commute long distances between their homes and worksites in the Washington, D.C., area.

Need for Change

Changes in societal values and demographics indicate that familyfriendly policies and workplaces will become increasingly critical for recruitment, retention, and improved productivity of employees. Family-friendly policies serve the needs of a diverse workforce struggling to manage child care, elder care, family emergencies, and other personal responsibilities while at the same time remaining committed to professional development and advancement. Governmentwide implementation of these policies will enable agencies to foster a quality work environment that meets the emerging needs of their employees and customers. The benefits of family-friendly policies are well documented:

Recent studies of such companies as Johnson & Johnson and American Telephone & Telegraph show that helping employees resolve work and family conflicts boosts morale and increases productivity. The J&J study found that absenteeism among employees who used flexible time and family-leave policies was on average 50% less than for the work force as a whole. It also found that 58% of the employees surveyed said such policies were very important in their decision to stay at the company--the number jumped to 71% among employees using the benefits.(6)

In 1991, the Conference Board concluded:

Flexitime improves basic work conditions by allowing adjustments in commuting times, reducing anxiety about tardiness, and shifting management's focus away from monitoring attendance. . . . [F]lexible work schedules increase employee responsibility, independence and growth potential, thus motivating the employee. . . . Flexitime was typically mentioned as the arrangement found most advantageous in reducing absenteeism and turnover.(7)

A federal employee writing to the National Performance Review stressed that part-time employment and job sharing is an important option for many federal employees.

[W]orkers should be offered a chance to convert to part-time status whenever possible, if they think their finances will permit it, in order to have more time with young children or aging or infirm parents, or to attend to their own health problems, or to continue their education to stay abreast of changing technology. . . . Some individuals might want part-time work as an alternative or precursor to full retirement.(8)

The Progressive Policy Institute's Mandate for Change emphasized that the federal government should take a leadership role in flexiplace work arrangements, including telecommuting.

The federal government, which as one of the nation's largest employers led the way in the use of flex-time schedules, should begin to offer telecommuting options to qualified interested employees. In addition to the parenting advantages that telecommuting provides for families with small children, it offers economic and environmental advantages for society by reducing the number of commuters.(9)

Flexiplace and telecommuting reduce individual and family stress, save valuable commuting time, reduce commuting and work-related costs for the employee, and increase civic involvement and volunteerism in nearby communities. Flexible work arrangements will generate environmental and energy conservation benefits by alleviating traffic congestion, reducing air pollution, and reducing consumption of fossil fuels. Evaluation of the federal government's Flexiplace pilot found that vehicle usage decreased for 82 percent of participants during rush hour and 35 percent of participants during non-rush hour; sick leave usage decreased for 45 percent of participants.(10) The evaluation went on to say: "More than 90 percent of the supervisors and 95 percent of the participants judged that Flexiplace job performance was either unchanged or improved relative to preFlexiplace performance levels."(11)

OPM's final evaluation of the Flexiplace pilot concluded:

Flexiplace shows promise as a mechanism for reducing Federal operating and health care costs. Indications of improved job performance (productivity), reduced usage of sick leave (benefits), improved health (health care), and reduced vehicle usage (transportation/energy issues) for a significant portion of the participant group suggest long run reduction in costs associated with these areas.(12)

The evaluation found that the actual organizational costs of Flexiplace were minimal. More than 80 percent of supervisors reported no additional costs.(13) Significant monetary savings will occur as agencies begin to include flexible workplace arrangements in their federal building planning and technology purchasing strategies. "[W]e anticipate long run reductions in facility costs with expanded utilization of Flexiplace. The ability of agencies to implement successful Flexiplace pilots with minimal funding, however, is a strong indication of the applicability of Flexiplace to diverse organizations."(14)

The federal government should be viewed as a model employer in the availability and flexibility of quality of worklife programs that emphasize the tools employees at all levels need to manage their work responsibilities and personal lives more effectively.(15) Successful programs will foster interagency and intergovernmental partnerships, encourage cooperation between management and employees, spark collaborative ventures between public and private organizations, and bring harmony to the workplace and community in which they reside.

Some of the problems and barriers faced by agencies and employees include:

Legislative Barriers to Innovation.
Federal agencies are stymied in their efforts to address emerging employee needs because most employee benefit policies are codified into law--literally requiring an act of Congress to modify them. Legislation bars most agencies from experimenting with different benefit policies; therefore, the governmentwide implications of options such as cafeteria benefit plans and flexible spending accounts are not known. In a 1992 report, the General Accounting Office stated:

The likelihood of federal agencies falling behind their nonfederal counterparts in the work/family area may be even greater in the future. The rapid growth of nonfederal work/family programs, such as flexible benefits, flexible spending accounts, and child care assistance, suggest that these programs could well become standard employment policies in the future. Thus, whereas the adoption of work/family programs today may give an employer a competitive advantage, in the future, employers may need to offer these programs just to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage.(16)

Legislative barriers prevent many agencies from implementing flexible work arrangements with their employees; some of the barriers for Flexiplace were waived for the duration of the pilot project when Congress passed legislation in November 1990.(17) Some examples of the limitations placed upon agencies attempting to provide dependent care services include a law that limits agencies to providing the facility and services related to the maintenance and operation of child care centers located solely in federally owned or leased space, and a September 31, 1992, decision of the U.S. Comptroller General that the law prohibits agencies from using appropriated funds for adult day care programs or contributing any financial resources to private adult day care centers.(18)

Lack of Clear Agency Support and Implementation of Available Programs. Many agencies have not developed policies advocating the use of flexibilities available to help employees balance work and family responsibilities. In a recent survey of federal employees conducted by OPM, only 53 percent of employees with dependent care needs believe their agencies understand and support family issues. Approximately 38 percent of employees indicated that their agencies do not provide any dependent care services beyond Employee Assistance Programs. Approximately 77 percent of employees with dependent care needs who are currently working fixed schedules are interested in working compressed/flexible schedules.(19) OPM found that:

[T]he employee survey data suggest that certain agencies may have internal barriers that make supervisors reluctant to approve employee requests to work part-time. Of the supervisors who have denied employee requests to work part-time, at least 19 percent did so because of internal barriers, i.e., the agency's internal systems made it difficult and/or that their agency stressed full-time employment.(20)


  1. Implement family-friendly workplace practices while continuing to ensure accountability for quality customer service. (2)

The President should issue an Executive Order in summer 1994 advocating (a) adoption of compressed/flexible, part-time, and job sharing work schedules; and (b) implementation of flexiplace and telecommuting where appropriate.

2. Provide telecommunications and administrative support necessary for employees participating in flexiplace and telecommuting work arrangements. (3)

By fall 1994, OPM and GSA should submit proposed legislation to Congress repealing section 1348 of title 31, United States Code, "which prohibits federal agencies from paying for telephone installation and service in private residences with appropriated funds . . . installing residential phone lines to connect to the new [Federal Telecommunications System] FTS 2000 service [and] FTS 2000's fiber optic network which will carry a varied mix of voice, data, and video services on a single line . . . [and] purchasing a fax machine for installation in a private residence."(21) A temporary provision allowing agencies to use appropriated funds to pay for telephone installation and service in private residences was included in the fiscal year 1994 Treasury-Postal appropriations bill.

3. Expand the authority to establish and fund dependent care programs. (3)

By fall 1994, the director of OPM should submit proposed legislation to Congress removing statutory limitations on dependent care programs and giving agencies the authority to focus on the needs of their employees and develop programs that will enhance organizational effectiveness and improve employee productivity.(22)

Agencies should work with employees to develop the most effective and beneficial ways to meet the needs of a workforce struggling with the responsibilities of child care, elder care, and caring for ill family members. Agencies could decide to implement sliding fee payment schedules for dependent care, contribute financial resources to privately led consortia, allow reimbursement of dependent care expenses incurred as a result of emergency assignments or emergency travel, and/or permit employees to use official time to carry out responsibilities associated with membership on a federally sponsored center's board of directors.

4. Allow employees to use sick leave to care for dependents.(23) (1)

The director of OPM should issue regulations by spring 1994 that will allow employees to use accrued sick leave to care for sick or elderly dependents. OPM should also propose legislation that will allow employees to use accrued sick leave to make adoptive arrangements. The definition of child, spouse, and parent should be consistent with definitions contained in the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act.

This policy indicates that the federal government recognizes the burden family illness places on employees and was recommended in part by the Merit Systems Protection Board in 1991.(24) The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in the private sector, 36 percent of employees can use sick leave to care for a sick child.(25) OPM found that in the public sector:

Forty-six State governments, whose sick leave accrual policies generally are more comparable to those of the federal government, allow use of sick leave for [family illnesses]. The State of New York, for example, implemented such a policy by regulation in 1957. New York State allows employees to use up to 15 days of sick leave each year in the event of family illness or death and reports that this benefit has not generated administrative problems or pressure to expand the circumstances under which sick leave may be used.(26)

5. Give returning employees credit for previously accrued unused federal sick leave. (1)

The director of OPM will issue regulations by spring 1994 that would recredit unused sick leave to employees who have been separated and subsequently reemployed by the federal government, regardless of the length of separation.

Current regulations recredit sick leave only if employees return to federal service within 3 years and do not take into account the changing needs of employees and the change in demographics since their implementation in 1962. Although only a relatively small number of employees are affected by the 3-year limitation, OPM found that "about 60 percent of all Federal employees who are reemployed after a break in service of more than 3 years are women, and about 65 percent are reemployed in grades GS-1 through 7."(27)

6. Expand the demonstration project authority to allow projects on employee benefits and leave.(28) (3)

By fall 1994, the director of OPM should submit proposed legislation to Congress removing the statutory limitations on employee benefits and leave in the demonstration project authority.(29) Removal of these limitations would authorize agencies to develop innovative projects that meet the needs of their employees while addressing the tax and revenue implications of flexible spending accounts, dependent care assistance programs, and cafeteria benefit plans. Agencies could also choose to combine sick leave and annual leave into a personal leave system or provide short-term disability coverage.

7. Reauthorize voluntary leave transfer/bank programs. (3)

Congress should reauthorize the Federal Employees Leave Sharing Act of 1988, which terminates October 31, 1993, with minor technical changes. This legislation is currently before Congress with minor technical changes to improve program operations, including a provision to eliminate the restriction that prohibits interagency transfers of annual leave between agencies covered by the leave transfer and leave bank programs.(30)

Voluntary leave transfer programs enable employees who experience a personal or family medical emergency and who exhaust all their available annual paid leave to receive donated annual leave from their fellow federal employees. Employees in voluntary leave bank programs make contributions of annual leave to their agency leave bank and can receive annual leave from their agency leave bank if they experience a personal or family medical emergency and have exhausted all their available paid leave. James King, Director of OPM, indicated that:

Agencies like the leave sharing program largely because it enables them to retain valuable employees throughout a personal or family emergency. Agencies have reported that this benefit far outweighs any hardship caused by employee absences. In many cases, employees who were leave recipients under the leave sharing program were able to work intermittently while participating in the program. Several agencies have experienced a decline in the number of employee requests for leave without pay and advanced leave as a result of leave sharing.(31)

During fiscal years 1991 and 1992, the program served more than 23,100 employees, and over 3,742,600 hours of annual leave were donated/used.(32) "More than 96 percent of Federal employees with dependent care needs are satisfied with the Federal leave sharing program," OPM reported.(33)

Cross References to Other NPR Accompanying Reports

Department of Transportation,
DOT13: Create and Evaluate Telecommuting Programs.


  1. Title 5, United States Code, sec. 6120-6133.
  2. Title 5, United States Code, sec. 3401-3408.
  3. Public Law 100-566.
  4. Public Law 103-3.
  5. Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 pertains to most federal employees covered by the annual and sick leave system established under chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code, and certain other employees covered by different federal leave systems. Title I covers non-federal employees and certain federal employees not covered by Title II.
  6. Galen, Michele, Ann Therese Palmer, Alice Cuneo, and Mark Maremont, "Work & Family," Business Week, no. 3325 (June 28, 1993),
  7. 82.
  8. Friedman, Dana, Linking Work-Family Issues to the Bottom Line (New York: The Conference Board, 1991), p. 51.
  9. Letter from Marilyn S.G. Urwitz, federal employee, to President Bill Clinton, March 4, 1993.
  10. Kamarck, Elaine Ciulla, and William A. Galston, "A Progressive Family Policy for the 1990s," in Will Marshall and Martin Schram, eds. Mandate for Change (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1993), p. 174.
  11. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), The Federal Flexible Workplace Pilot Project Work-at-Home Component (Washington, D.C., January 1993), p. v.
  12. Ibid., pp. iii, iv.
  13. Ibid., p. 45.
  14. Ibid., p. 31.
  15. Ibid., p. 32.
  16. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Balancing Work Responsibilities and Family Needs: The Federal Civil Service Response (Washington, D.C., November 1991), p. 82.
  17. U.S. General Accounting Office, The Changing Workforce: Comparison of Federal and Nonfederal Work/Family Programs and Approaches, GAO/GGD-92-84 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office, April 1992), p. 15.
  18. Public Law 101-509.
  19. Title 40, United States Code, sec. 490(b).
  20. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Report to Congress: A Study of the Work and Family Needs of the Federal Workforce (Washington, D.C., April 1992), pp. 5, 6, 20.
  21. OPM, Report to Congress, p. 26.
  22. President's Council on Management Improvement, "Guidelines for Pilot Flexible Workplace Arrangements," Washington, D.C., January 1990, p. 19.
  23. Title 40, United States Code, sec. 490(b); and Title 18, United States Code, sec. 203(a).
  24. Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, sec. 610.401.
  25. MSPB, Balancing Work Responsibilities and Family Needs, p. 79.
  26. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Benefits in Medium and Large Private Establishments (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991), p. 16.
  27. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, "Options for Leave Reform," Washington, D.C., September 1991, p. 5.
  28. Ibid., p. 6.
  29. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, Federal Personnel Research Programs and Demonstration Projects: Catalysts for Change (Washington, D.C., December 1992), p. xi.
  30. Title 5, United States Code, sec. 4703(c).
  31. Title 5, United States Code, sec. 6373.
  32. U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Subcommittee on Compensation and Employee Benefits, "Leave Sharing Programs in the Federal Government," testimony by Jim King, Director of OPM, May 13, 1993.
  33. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Report to Congress on the Federal Employees Leave Sharing Act of 1988, Public Law 100-566 (Washington, D.C., April 30, 1993), p. 1.
  34. OPM, Report to Congress, p. 35.

Hold Managers Accountable for Adherence to

Principles of Merit and Equal Opportunity

HRM08:Improve Processes and Procedures Established to Provide Workplace Due Process for Employees


Workplace due process includes the various avenues of redress that employees may pursue when they believe agency management has treated them unfairly. For example, the equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint process is available to employees who believe an action is discriminatory. An individual who has been suspended, reduced in grade or pay, or removed may file an appeal. An employee may protest other management actions by using an administrative or negotiated grievance procedure. Unions (or management) may file unfair labor practice charges or negotiability disputes.

These various avenues of redress are governed by separate legal and regulatory authorities. Due process is typically pursued first within the employing agency and, failing resolution, may then be taken before a third party for adjudication. Since enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act in 1978, four agencies adjudicate disputes between employees and agency management: the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). It is possible for a mixed case arising from the same set of circumstances to be pending at the same time before two or more of these agencies.

Decisions by these agencies may be further appealed to the courts. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over most appeals from MSPB decisions. Equal employment opportunity (EEO) and labor cases are handled by other courts, usually based on geography. These courts may conflict with one another in deciding similar cases, causing uncertainty in the law as it applies to federal employees.(1)

Internal agency processes and procedures that must be used prior to access to the third parties vary by subject matter. They also tend to be functionally stovepiped, with grievances handled by employee relations specialists, EEO complaints handled by EEO specialists, and unfair labor practice charges dealt with by labor relations specialists.

In addition to stovepiping, internal agency systems of redress tend to be driven to inflexibility by adherence to process and procedural correctness. Managers are advised of this necessity based on the fear of being overturned in a third party forum due to harmful error. Strict adherence to established administrative procedures governing the large number of appeals and complaints filed by federal employees every year has also contributed to high cost and lengthy delays involved in exercising due process rights.

Implementation of National Performance Review recommendations will dramatically change the workplace, for managers in particular. Increased flexibility and elimination of mandatory processes and procedures will give managers greater freedom to exercise judgment. For managers and employees alike, this represents high risk and an unprecedented culture change. Managers must be held accountable for their actions, and employees must have ways to take issue with perceived unfair or discriminatory treatment. Sensitive, responsive, and fast avenues of due process protect the rights of both managers and employees and provide a powerful mechanism for ensuring that managers are held accountable for their human resource management decisions.

Many federal agencies are turning to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods as a way to improve their internal systems of redress, with the clear objective of solving problems at the worksite and reducing the number (and the associated costs) of cases appealed to third parties. In 1990 Congress enacted two federal laws that endorse the use of ADR in the way agencies resolve disputes.(2) According to the authors of a recent article:

Both the scope and the goals of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act are ambitious. In effect, the new law endorses the use of facilitation, mediation, and other more formal procedures (such as arbitration) as means to resolve the conflicts that inevitably arise in the conduct of federal government business. The goal of the legislation is to encourage agencies to use dispute resolution techniques that can achieve more cost-effective and satisfying results than traditional administrative procedures or litigation.(3)

The Department of Health and Human Services has made noteworthy progress with interest-based problem-solving approaches to ADR developed in cooperation with the National Treasury Employees Union. Their methods include a Negotiated Discrimination Complaint Arbitration Process, the Early Complaints Resolution Process, and the Departmental Appeals Board Mediation Service.

Need for Change

Critics of the current forums and mechanisms for due process have recommended the establishment of a single adjudicatory body for federal employee appeals, complaints, and labor disputes. The primary reason cited for change is the issue of overlapping jurisdiction in the processing of complicated mixed cases, which causes confusion and frustration on the part of everyone involved.(4) An additional complication is the jurisdiction of the federal courts with review authority over federal EEO and labor matters. While the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction of appeals from MSPB, jurisdiction of the other courts in other areas is often based upon geography. Thus, federal employees governed by common nationwide policies and laws may "receive inequality of justice as a result of nothing more than their residence in different parts of the country."(5) Additionally, the lack of nationally uniform resolution of issues in EEO and labor matters may contribute to legal confusion about the governing laws from circuit to circuit, may increase the cost of litigation, and may be wasteful and inefficient.(6)

In addition to the procedural constraints, internal agency systems of redress are often adversarial in nature and do not have the confidence of managers or employees. They are costly and time consuming. Workplace problems that are not resolved in a timely and sensitive way impair productivity and morale and impede mission accomplishment. Use of ADR methods during the informal or early stages of due process can alleviate these problems, thereby improving the workplace climate, reducing the number of formal cases pending before third parties, and reducing the costs of litigation.


  1. Eliminate jurisdictional overlaps. (2)

By fall 1994, the President should issue a memorandum directing the MSPB Chair to establish a working group to examine and make recommendations for eliminating jurisdictional overlaps in administrative due process cases. The memorandum should also direct EEOC, FLRA, and OSC to provide staff to the working group, which will draft any legislative proposals needed to eliminate mixed-case processing and submit proposed administrative and legislative proposals in a final report by spring 1995. By separate memorandum, the President should direct the Attorney General to examine the feasibility/desirability of creating a single court of appeals with nationwide jurisdiction over all people issues, such as EEO, labor relations, veterans affairs, civil service, et al. A single court would ensure greater consistency of decisions, focus legal and judicial expertise, and alleviate the workload problems in the circuit courts caused by escalating criminal and other litigation. The results of this examination should be presented to the President by spring 1995.

2. All agencies should establish alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods and options for the informal disposition of employment disputes. (1)

By December 1994, each agency head should make available to all worksites methods and options for resolving disputes that are alternatives to established procedures governing EEO complaints, labor disputes, grievances, and appeals. The director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should eliminate, by December 1994, all regulations governing internal agency grievance and appeal procedures, thus freeing agencies to tailor ADR techniques to various situations. EEOC should continue to provide guidance and assistance in application of ADR to the complaint process and should eliminate regulations requiring specific processes to be used in the informal stage, thus also freeing agencies to creatively apply ADR. OPM and EEOC should jointly develop comprehensive training programs for managers, employees, and dispute resolution specialists. Training should cover ADR techniques and options and should be made available to agencies, for example as train-the-trainer, to eliminate duplication of effort among agencies.

Cross References to Other NPR Accompanying Reports

Department of Labor,
DOL04: Expand the Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution by the Department of Labor.

Improving Regulatory Systems,
REG03: Encourage Consensus-Based Rulemaking; and REG06: Encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution when Enforcing Regulations.


  1. U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on the Bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States, A History, 1982-1990 (Washington, D.C.: The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 1991), p. 3.
  2. Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (Public Law 101-552) and Negotiated Rulemaking Act (Public Law 101-648).
  3. Lawrence E. Susskind, Eileen F. Babbitt, and Phyllis N. Segal, "When ADR Becomes the Law: A Review of Federal Practice," Negotiation Journal, vol. 9, no. 1 (January 1993), p. 59.
  4. Feder, David L., "Pick a Forum--Any Forum: A Proposal for a Federal Dispute Resolution Board," Labor Law Journal (May 1989), p. 268.
  5. U.S. Judicial Conference Committee, p. 3.
  6. Ibid., p. 4.

HRM09: Improve Accountability for Equal Employment Opportunity Goals and Accomplishments


It is the policy of the U.S. Government to provide equal opportunity in employment for all persons, to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap, and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative employment program in each agency.(1)

However, several factors in federal agencies indicate a lack of adherence to this policy. Those factors include glass ceilings, barriers to Americans with disabilities, the lack of management accountability, and negative attitudes and perceptions.

Glass Ceilings for Women and Minorities. "Despite a dramatically growing presence in the workplace . . . progression into the middle and senior levels of management has been elusive for minorities and women. . . . There is a [glass] ceiling. . . . The term glass ceiling refers to invisible, yet real or perceived, barriers which appear to stymie advancement opportunities for minorities and women."(2)

Constance Berry Newman, former Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), said that ". . . the percentages of women and minorities in the SES [senior executive service] and the pipeline to the SES are unacceptable."(3) Most of the SES positions are held by white men. Women hold only 12 percent of these positions, and minorities hold only 9 percent.(4)

A fundamental means of enabling qualified women and minorities to be appropriately represented in the pipeline to the SES is to ensure that they are appropriately present in agencies' key jobs--jobs that can lead to middle and upper management positions.(5) There is a great disparity in the promotion rates for women and minorities in administrative and professional occupations at the grades 9 and 11 levels. This disparity has a significant impact on the number of women and minorities in high-graded jobs, as grades 9 to 11 are the gateways between entry-level jobs and senior-level jobs for most federal government employees.(6)

"At a September 1991 national conference . . . officials from [the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)], OPM, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority said in public forums that shattering the glass ceiling in the federal government will depend on (1) getting women and minorities into the job tracks that lead to top management and (2) providing them with the necessary training and development opportunities to progress within those job tracks."(7) Doing this will require leadership from the top and accountability for results.

Americans with Disabilities.
Females and ethnic minorities are not alone in their underrepresentation in the federal workforce. The largest underemployed minority group in America is Americans with disabilities.(8) Persons with disabilities are underrepresented at all levels. Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 heightened the awareness of federal managers, supervisors, and employees on the issues of employment, training, and advancing people with disabilities.(9) However, in 1990 only 6 percent of federal employees had disabilities and only 1 percent had severe disabilities.(10)

Federal agencies must, and have begun to, develop and implement effective strategies to ensure that persons with disabilities are given equitable employment opportunities in the federal government. Under Project Able Beneficiaries Link to Employers, OPM, the Social Security Administration, and state vocational rehabilitation offices in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are working in partnership to create a new referral system that will place employees in direct contact with qualified potential employees with disabilities. In addition, OPM, in cooperation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, announced in June 1993 the implementation of a nationwide Job Ready Disabled Veterans Connection, which enables federal agencies to have rapid access to referral lists of job ready disabled veterans.

The current initiatives are commendable, but the federal government must continue to implement effective systems to increase the representation of job ready Americans with disabilities. There is a very real opportunity today for OPM to facilitate employment, training, and advancement of people with disabilities through a major campaign aimed at those managers and supervisors who make these key decisions.(11)

Lack of Management Accountability.
This administration has clearly demonstrated its commitment to equal opportunity and valuing workforce diversity. However, the longstanding lack of management accountability is a critical flaw in and barrier to current efforts to accomplish equal opportunity in the federal workforce. Currently, there is neither a consequence system for agency heads and their managers who do not plan, develop, and implement creative ways in which to accomplish equal opportunity goals nor a reward system for those who do.(12)

While it is important to deregulate, decentralize, and provide a certain degree of management flexibility, increased flexibility in the absence of appropriate accountability could undermine equal opportunity and affirmative employment efforts. Numerous reports issued by the General Accounting Office cite discrimination within the government.(13) Accountability must be encouraged by the President's reaffirmation of top-down commitment.

Agencies must review, evaluate, and control managerial and supervisory performance in such a manner as to ensure a continuing affirmative application and vigorous enforcement of the policy of equal opportunity, and provide orientation, training, and advice to managers and supervisors to ensure their understanding and implementation of the equal employment opportunity policies and programs.(14)

Equal opportunity and workforce diversity should be an integral part of the mission of each and every federal agency. Constance Berry Newman states that "real equal employment opportunity will come about only when each and every executive, manager, supervisor, and employee is committed to and held accountable for equal opportunity. . . . Agency heads must hold their managers and supervisors responsible for EEO [equal employment opportunity] by building it into their performance agreements and standards."(15)

Negative Attitudes and Perceptions.
Negative attitudes and perceptions are very powerful barriers to equal employment opportunity and workforce diversity. According to Linda Winikow, corporate policy expert, "On the one hand, civil rights legislation has done an enormous amount to wipe out the legal impediments to inequality. But all too many of the attitudes that prevented the flowering of diversity still exist. Executives have an obligation to recognize that this isn't simply a side issue. It is a fundamental management issue. A manager's first job is to manage--to bring people to their full potential. The glass ceiling does exist, but senior management's job is to do everything possible to provide the training and the climate for success."(16)

EEOC recognizes that treating EEO functions as side issues fosters perceptions of a conflict of interest. EEOC reiterated this concern in an October 1992 management directive that states:

In order for the agency to implement a continuing affirmative employment program to promote equal employment opportunity and to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices and policies, the agency shall appoint a director of Equal Employment Opportunity, who shall be under the immediate supervision of the agency head. Agencies must avoid conflicts of position or conflicts of interest as well as the appearance of such conflicts. . . . In order to maintain the integrity of the EEO investigative and decision making processes, those functions must be kept separate from the personnel function.(17)

In addition, the Code of Federal Regulations states that ". . . the EEO director shall be under the immediate supervision of the agency head . . ."(18) Yet, some federal agencies still treat EEO as a side issue rather than as a fundamental management issue with identifiable accountability.

Experts who have spent many years actively advocating equal opportunity in the federal workforce are also concerned about the effect of negative attitudes and perceptions. Dr. Harriett Jenkins, Director, Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, says, "Employees must perceive that there are credible efforts to eradicate discriminatory barriers and resolve complaints, [and] those efforts must be real and visible. . . . Because personnel and EEO are inextricably related, it is sometimes incorrectly assumed that EEO should be a sub-part of personnel or human resource offices. This reflects a lack of understanding of the managerial functions of the director of EEO, whose authority flows directly from the head of the agency."

"The director serves as an advisor to the head of the agency and other levels of managers. She or he is a catalyst and implementer of sensitive organizational assessment, corrective management strategies, and ongoing oversight and monitoring of the agency's EEO progress. He or she has the responsibility of assisting the agency head and other levels of managers to comply with civil rights laws, remove barriers to full integration, eliminate subtle and overt discrimination, adjudicate allegations of discrimination, affirmatively reach out to all groups, and ensure that all personnel management decisions are made on merit. . . . Whoever has responsibility for EEO functions has to have the agency head's imprimatur to help the line managers bring about constructive change and full integration of the organization. It is the managers and supervisors in every part of the agency who can determine the successful achievement of the agency's EEO objectives."(19)

Need for Change

Agency heads and their managers must be held accountable to the President, Congress, and the American public for creating, developing, valuing, and maintaining a workforce that is reflective of our nation's citizenry.(20)

While improvements have occurred and the current administration has set the stage for equal opportunity and diversity, the current federal civilian workforce does not reflect the nation's diverse working population. Overall, the federal government has not been successful at eradicating discriminatory barriers, and attracting, retaining, and advancing members of all segments of society at all grade levels. It has been even less successful at integrating members of underrepresented groups into middle and upper management. Much work is still needed to ensure that equal opportunity becomes an integral part of each federal agency's strategic business plan and that management is held accountable for achieving results.

Government is paying an enormous cost for the glass ceiling that keeps qualified women, minorities, and disabled persons underrepresented at all levels in the federal government. It is underusing a major segment of its human resources and delaying attainment of an important goal of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and other civil rights laws--full representation of all segments of society at all grade levels in government.

As noted by the Council for Excellence in Government, "The federal government needs a career executive leadership cadre reflecting the diversity of America's population. . . . Today there is neither sufficient leadership nor adequate diversity among career executives. . . . The government can develop a diverse group of leaders, but it must take dramatic action to mount an effective governmentwide program and to hold management responsible for achieving results."(21)

It is imperative that federal agencies parallel the push for diversity that this President has started with his political appointments. The government should reaffirm its commitment to equal employment opportunity. Whoever has the primary responsibility for EEO functions must be a full, active member on the agency's senior management team that has responsibility for the allocation of the agency's resources. Federal agencies must focus on action and results and must institute a real system of accountability.


Charge all federal agency heads with the responsibility for ensuring equal opportunity and increasing integration of qualified women, minorities, and persons with disabilities into all levels and job categories, including middle and senior management positions. (2)

The President should issue an Executive Order to all agency heads by fall 1994 stating his commitment to attaining a diverse federal workforce and increasing the representation of qualified minorities, women, and disabled persons at all levels, including higher levels at which they are most underrepresented. The Executive Order should also establish the requirement that each agency head should:

Presidential leadership and an Executive Order that mandates management accountability for equal employment opportunity goals and accomplishments will reassure employees, applicants, and the American public that there is governmentwide commitment to and accountability for creating a federal workforce that reflects America's diverse citizenry.


  1. Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, sec. 1614.101.
  2. Dominquez, Cari M. "The Challenge of Workforce 2000," The Bureaucrat, Vol. 20, no. 4 (Winter 1991-92), p. 16.
  3. U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), Federal Workforce: Continuing Need for Federal Affirmative Employment, GAO/GGD-92-27BR (Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office, November 1991), p. 3.
  4. Council for Excellence in Government, Bringing Leadership and Diversity Into the Federal Career Executive Ranks (Washington, D.C., June 14, 1993), p. 2.
  5. Ibid.
  6. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, A Question of Equity: Women and the Glass Ceiling in the Federal Government (Washington, D.C., October 1992), p. 37.
  7. U.S. General Accounting Office, Federal Affirmative Employment: Status of Women and Minority Representation in the Federal Workforce, report no. GAO/T-GGD-92-2 (Washington, D.C., October 23, 1991), p. 11.
  8. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and U.S. Department of Education, A Call to Action: A Report on Increasing the Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Sector (Washington, D.C., July 1992) Appendix, p. iii.
  9. Ibid., p. 1.
  10. Ibid., p. 5.
  11. Personal Interview with Dick Whitford, Acting Assistant Director, Affirmative Recruiting and Employment, Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C., August 1993.
  12. Personal Interview with Oceola Hall, Director, Discrimination Complaints, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C., July 1993.
  13. See for example, U.S. General Accounting Office, Equal Employment: Minority Representation at USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, GAO/GGD-91-31BR (Washington, D.C.: GAO, March 18, 1991); Health and Human Services: Hispanic Representation and Equal Employment Practices in Region VIII, GAO/HRD-91-6 (Washington, D.C.: GAO, November 20, 1990); EDA: Treatment of Blacks at the Economic Development Administration in the 1980's, GAO/HRD-90-148 (Washington, D.C.: GAO, September 26, 1990); and Voice of America: Selected Personnel Practices Warrant Management Attention, GAO/NSIAD-89-160 (Washington, D.C.: GAO, July 12, 1989).
  14. Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, sec. 1614.102.
  15. Personal Interview with Constance Berry Newman, Under Secretary, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., August 1993.
  16. Linda Winikow, Vice President for Corporate Policy and External Affairs, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., quoted at the Women's Bureau Conference, Washington, D.C., October 23, 1990.
  17. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEO Management Directive 110 (EEO MD-110) for Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1614 (Washington, D.C., October 29, 1992), p. 1.
  18. Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, sec. 1614.102.
  19. Personal Interview with Dr. Harriett Jenkins, Director, Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, U.S. Senate Washington, D.C., July 1993.
  20. Interview with Oceola Hall, Washington, D.C., July 1993.
  21. Council for Excellence in Government, p. 3.

HRM10: Improve Interagency Collaboration and

Cross-Training of Human Resource Professionals


Total integration of equal employment opportunity (EEO) into every aspect of human resource management policy and practice in the selection, placement, training, and advancement of civilian employees of the federal government is vital to creating and maintaining a federal workforce that is truly reflective of our nation's diverse citizenry. In order to accomplish this integration, there must be effective collaboration among federal supervisors, managers, personnel professionals, civil rights professionals, and equal opportunity professionals.

EEO and Affirmative Employment Reporting. "Strong EEO and Affirmative Action plans play vital roles in the management of diversity. They are stepping stones to valuing diversity wherein differences are identified and an atmosphere is created that promotes respect for these differences as well as ways to benefit from them."(1) However, current EEO and affirmative employment (AE) reporting requirements are fragmented. While agencies must submit data to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Central Personnel Data File (CPDF), similar data must be submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 created the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP), which requires agencies to conduct affirmative recruitment for those occupations and grades in which women and minorities are underrepresented. The act assigned to OPM the responsibility for assisting agencies in their affirmative recruitment efforts and for overseeing FEORP.(2)

Executive Order 12067 (June 30, 1978) assigned to EEOC responsibility for providing coherence and direction to the government's EEO efforts. It also provided for standardized data collection procedures.

EEOC requires federal agencies to submit multi-year AE plans and annual accomplishment reports to evaluate the representation of minorities, females, and disabled persons in the federal workforce. In addition, OPM requires agencies to submit FEORP plans and reports, as well as disabled veterans affirmative action program plans and reports. There needs to be one comprehensive assessment of agency EEO/AE goals, objectives, and accomplishments.

Agencies must integrate EEO/AE into their overall strategic business plans, which are developed, evaluated, and monitored by management. Agencies must build their plans around barrier analysis, develop goals, implement strategies to achieve these goals in a specified time frame, and hold managers and supervisors accountable for results.

Cross-training is the first step to creating a competent federal human resource management team. Personnel professionals must understand and adhere to basic EEO and civil rights guidelines in order to ensure that personnel functions and actions are fair and equitable for all employees and applicants. Likewise, EEO and civil rights professionals must understand and adhere to the basic personnel guidelines.

The roles and responsibilities of EEOC and OPM present an opportunity for them to work together to provide leadership and training necessary to integrate EEO into every aspect of human resource management policy and practice. These two agencies must make a concentrated effort to ensure ongoing communications and understanding of EEO and AE efforts to achieve a diverse, competent, and productive federal work force. They must provide joint leadership to EEO, civil rights, and personnel professionals to create, develop, review, and improve effective ongoing governmentwide efforts.

Need for Change

It is imperative that EEOC and OPM collaborate to jointly provide the necessary leadership and cross-training to ensure an effective approach to and outcome of federal human resource management efforts. These efforts must include effective EEO and AE initiatives.

EEO/AE plans and accomplishment reports foster agency commitment to and awareness of EEO/AE efforts within organizations and guide the way to increased employment opportunities for qualified women, minorities, and disabled persons.

However, there needs to be one comprehensive, automated EEO/AE report for federal agencies. An inordinate amount of resources are devoted to preparing duplicative reports. More importantly, treating the four groups (women, minorities, disabled persons, and disabled veterans) separately is contradictory to the vital mission of accomplishing overall workforce diversity and streamlining government functions.

Although each agency must be personally responsible for internal EEO/AE goals and accomplishments, EEOC must continue to fulfill its responsibility under Executive Order 12067--to provide coherence and direction to the government's EEO efforts. EEOC must seek out, identify, recognize, and reward best EEO and AE practices in federal agencies. EEOC must perpetuate those best practices throughout the federal government.

In addition, OPM must ensure that the CPDF can generate necessary data and that the capabilities of the CPDF are fully used. For example, the collection of minority college and university information in the CPDF is essential for conducting affirmative employment analysis.(3)


  1. Establish an Interagency Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Employment Steering Group under the joint chair of EEOC and OPM. (2)

The President, by memorandum, should direct the Chair of EEOC and the director of OPM to establish an Interagency Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Employment Steering Group. The purpose of the group should be to:

This steering group will comprise directors of equal employment opportunity, personnel, and civil rights from a cross- section of federal agencies, including small agencies. The committee will convene monthly for the first 6 months. After that, the EEOC chair and OPM director will establish the appropriate schedule for meetings, conferences, and seminars.

2. Require appropriate cross-training for human resource management professionals. (1)

The first and most important purpose of the EEO/AE Steering Group should be to advocate effective cross-training and rotational assignments for EEO, civil rights, and personnel professionals. Agency heads should be required to ensure that federal EEO and civil rights professionals receive cross-training and rotational assignments in federal personnel management before being promoted to supervisory and management positions. They should also ensure that personnel professionals receive cross-training and rotational assignments in federal EEO and civil rights before they are promoted to supervisory and management positions. EEOC and OPM should jointly identify the appropriate core training, as well as the time frame in which the training should be obtained, to foster human resource management competence throughout federal agencies.

Collaboration between EEO, civil rights, and personnel professionals will assist agencies in understanding, evaluating, and preventing practices that give rise to EEO complaints.

3. Combine all equal opportunity and affirmative employment reports into one comprehensive assessment of the total workforce EEO/AE data. (2)

By memorandum, the President should direct the Chair of EEOC, in coordination with the director of OPM, to blend the reporting requirements for agencies to compile one comprehensive assessment of their equal employment opportunity and affirmative employment efforts, including specific actions needed to eradicate barriers and increase representation of minorities, women, and disabled persons at all levels, including middle and upper management levels. EEOC and OPM should conduct a thorough examination of all current EEO/AE reporting requirements to ensure the appropriateness and effectiveness of the new comprehensive agency assessment report. These changes should be effective with the fiscal year 1995 submission requirements.

4. Modify the Central Personnel Data File to enable total automation of the EEO/AE data reporting requirements. (2)

By memorandum, the President should direct the director of OPM, in coordination with the Chair of EEOC and a working group of agency officials, to ensure that the necessary data resources, including any appropriate changes to the CPDF, are used to generate all data needed to meet EEO/AE reporting requirements. All current EEO/AE data reporting requirements should be examined for necessity and value. This examination of requirements and subsequent redesign of the CPDF should begin immediately and should be completed during fiscal year 1995.

Implementation of these actions will decrease duplicated efforts and redundancy within and across federal agencies. It will reduce, simplify, and automate the reporting requirements, while maintaining the requirement for agencies to submit the necessary information. There will be a substantial reduction in the administrative costs of EEO and AE programs. This will be tremendously beneficial to the overall federal EEO/AE efforts since agencies will be able to spend more time and effort focusing on results rather than on paper processes.

In addition, implementation of these actions will foster coordinated, governmentwide commitment to creating, implementing, and accomplishing equal opportunity and affirmative employment goals to create a federal workforce that is reflective of the American citizenry.

Implementation of these actions will require ongoing commitment and coordination between EEOC and OPM. This partnership is critical to the accomplishment of a competent, productive, and diverse federal workforce.(4)


  1. The National Treasury Employees Union, "Strategic Plan for Agency Diversity Management," Washington, D.C., p. 3.
  2. U.S. General Accounting Office, Federal Workforce: Continuing Need for Federal Affirmative Employment, GAO/GGD-92-27BR (Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office, November 1991), p. 1.
  3. Personal Interview with Dick Whitford, Acting Assistant Director, Affirmative Recruitment and Employment, Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C., August 1993.
  4. The following individuals made significant contributions to this section: Nilda I. Aponte, Director, Civil Rights Office, General Accounting Office; Ronnie Blumenthal, Director, Office of Federal Operations, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); Barbara Burdge, Leader, Career Opportunities, Department of Health and Human Services; Arthur E. Cizek, Chief, Compliance Division, Department of Commerce; Robert Franco, Acting Director, Office of Advocacy and Enterprise, Department of Agriculture; Dr. Yvonne Blanchard Freeman, Associate Administrator, Equal Opportunity, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Kathleen M. Gause, Head of Affirmative Employment, Department of the Navy; Oceola Hall, Director, Discrimination Complaints, NASA; Harriett G. Jenkins, Director, Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices; Fran Lopes, former Assistant Director, Affirmative Recruiting and Employment; Office of Personnel Management (OPM); Gerald R. Lucas, Director of Civil Rights, Department of Commerce; Alfonso J. Ludi, Special Assistant to the Associate Administrator, NASA; Lynne McGlew, Executive Assistant to Director of Civil Rights, Department of Labor; Constance Berry Newman (Former Director of OPM), Under Secretary, Smithsonian Institution; Valerie Olsen, Counsellor/Mediator, Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices; Luther L. Santiful, Director, EEO, Department of the Army; Jim Troy, Director, Office of Program Operations; EEOC; Dick Whitford, Acting Assistant Director, Affirmative Recruiting and Employment, OPM; and Grant B. Williams, Jr., Director, Civil Rights, General Services Administration.