The goals of this demonstration project are to
- Improve hiring by allowing NNSA to compete more effectively for high quality employees through the judicious use of higher entry salaries;
- Motivate and retain staff by providing faster pay progression for high-performing employees;
- Improve the usefulness and responsiveness of the position classification system to managers;
- Increase the proficiency of administering the position classification system through a simplified pay-banded application of the current General Schedule grade structure, and reduce the procedural steps and documentation requirements traditionally associated with classifying positions;
- Eliminate automatic pay increases (i.e., annual adjustments that normally take effect the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 1) by making pay increases performance-sensitive, so that only Fully Successful (known as "Fully Meets Expectations" in NNSA) and higher performers will receive pay adjustments, and the best performers will receive the largest pay adjustments;
- Integrate with, build upon, and advance the work of several key human capital management improvement initiatives and projects currently underway in NNSA, including-
- Advancing the ongoing refinement of NNSA's three-year old enterprise-wide performance management program, which currently features a pilot for automating yearly performance ratings, to the next logical level, encompassing performance-based pay adjustments,
- Achieving greater parity, though not complete harmony, with NNSA's mature excepted service pay-banded and pay-for-performance system (e.g., will have a lower high-end pay band; no automatic pay increases, etc.),
- Building on the simplified position description (PD) format and automated PD library that are already in place,
- Continuing to develop improved performance management skills among first-line supervisors through increased program rigor, additional training, and better guidance materials, to better develop standards that reflect differences in performance,
- Establishing a system of career-enhancing career paths for the purpose of developing, advancing, and retaining employees,
- Building on the new workforce analysis and planning system, already in place to identify FTE needs and competency needs and skills gaps, to conduct a valid occupational analysis to construct meaningful pay bands. Using a total workforce management approach to controlling costs, not just spending caps and share formulas; i.e., cultivating a managerial culture of accountability in taking and directing personnel actions, fostering judicious yearly employee ratings and prudent performance payouts, and instilling position management discipline.
The demonstration project will modify the General Schedule (GS) classification and pay system by identifying several broad career paths, establishing pay bands which may cover more than one grade in each career path, eliminating longevity-based step progression, and providing for annual pay adjustments based on performance. The proposed project will test (1) the effectiveness of multi-grade pay bands in recruiting, advancing, and retaining employees, and in reducing the processing time and paperwork traditionally associated with classifying positions at multiple grade levels, and (2) the application of meaningful distinctions in levels of performance to the allocation of annual pay increases.