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President’s Management Council (PMC) Senior Executive Service (SES) Workgroup on Performance Management

Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
John Berry, Director
President’s Management Council (PMC) Senior Executive Service (SES) Workgroup on Performance Management

This memorandum is to inform you of an interagency effort to enhance SES performance management. At the present time, Federal agencies apply a vast number of different SES performance management systems and approaches to communicate and evaluate executive performance. This lack of uniformity complicates the Federal Government’s ability and success to promote simplicity and accountability in managing executive performance. The absence of a standardized system has also created complications and administrative burdens for agencies to achieve approval and certification of their performance appraisal systems.

Last year, the PMC sponsored an interagency SES Initiative to revitalize the SES, and a PMC-chartered workgroup tasked with identifying ways to streamline the SES performance appraisal system certification process produced a recommendation that the Federal Government develop a standard SES performance management system. This concept will significantly improve the certification process and the overall performance management of senior executives by providing a common framework and structure – while enabling agency customization – thereby improving consistency, clarity, transferability, efficiency, and accountability. A standard system will also foster a holistic approach for selecting, developing, appraising, recognizing, and retaining a diverse and high-performing cadre of Federal executives.

Recently, the PMC chartered another interagency workgroup to coordinate on the development of a standard SES performance management system. This workgroup is composed of a broad group of Federal agencies, and is led by a steering committee composed of the following volunteer agencies: OPM; OMB; Department of Defense; Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Department of Energy; Department of Labor; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Veterans Affairs; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The workgroup will review Federal agency models to capitalize on existing practices that may be adopted or adapted, and also consider private sector executive performance management practices through consultation with the President's Management Advisory Board. Through a very aggressive timeline, the workgroup aims to complete the design by the end of September; however, agencies will implement the new system in a phased manner over the course of the next two years, as their certifications near expiration, to ensure a smooth transition.

I appreciate the time and effort devoted by your agencies to this important endeavor, and I ask for your full support. This initiative provides a significant opportunity for Federal agencies to collaborate on a standard solution, allowing us to innovatively improve our management of executives in the Federal Government.

Please distribute this memorandum to your agencies’ Chief Human Capital Officers and Executive Resources staff; their input and support will be essential to our next steps. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Shih, Deputy Associate Director for Executive Resources and Employee Development, by telephone at (202) 606-8046 or by e-mail at

cc: Chief Human Capital Officers
     Human Resources Directors