Case management software helps performance

GCN illustration by Jeff Langkau

Case management systems are sometimes used to evaluate or manage performance by helping a supervisor see how well an employee is keeping up with a case load. As the government moves toward more pay-for-performance compensation systems, case management tools could make or break an employee's salary.

'We're thinking that that's going to be the future of pay, that relationship with performance,' said Nancy Kichak, associate director at the Office of Personnel Management's Strategic Human Resources Policy Division. She explained that OPM's performance management policy and pay design groups are working together on how one's pay might ultimately reflect their performance.

The Defense Department already has an automated tool, the National Security Personnel System, which OPM helped test. 'Because that is a pay-for-performance system,' Kichak said, 'it was critical that the performance management system be valid.'

OPM does not make recommendations on the software and other tools agencies use, but instead helps them evaluate their processes.

The online Human Capital Assessment and
Accountability Framework Resource Center (www.opm.gov/hcaaf_resource_center) shows
supervisors examples of good performance management standards, best practices and what's being done at other agencies.

'Under President Bush's emphasis on human capital management, we are providing more tools, more feedback, more coaching to agencies,' Kichak said. The office coaches agencies on the four components of good performance management: planning ' setting clear and attainable expectations that reflect an organization's goals; monitoring ' the office recommends quarterly reviews to provide employees with feedback about whether they're achieving their goals; developing the individual ' managers are obliged to provide tools, training and other resources that might help the employee succeed; and finally, rewarding ' giving the appropriate reward based on the evaluated performance.

Although pay for performance has been the norm for private industry and the rarity for government, Kichak sees little difference between the two when it comes to performance management. 'Employees need to know how they're doing. [They] need to know what's expected of them. But the first step in the process, which is talking to the employees...that's the same whether you're in government or in the private sector.'

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