Survey Seeks Employee Input in Shaping Civilian Personnel System
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 6, 2005 Civil service employees who will soon come under the new National Security Personnel System have another opportunity to help shape the program.
The new National Security Personnel System Factor Survey gives General Schedule employees the chance to register their views about several performance factors identified for inclusion in the new personnel system.
"Now we need your assistance to ensure that these performance factors are relevant and reflect work that you personally perform on your job," Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England wrote in a June 29 memo to DoD civilian employees.
England emphasized the importance of the survey in his memo. While stressing that participation is voluntarily, he urged civil service employees to participate. "I thank you for your feedback and participation in the NSPS design process thus far," he wrote. "We still need your help."
The survey period began today and continues through July 20.
Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, urged employees to take the 15 or 20 minutes required to complete the online survey to ensure that their views are known.
Views expressed in the survey will have long-term implications, Abell said during an interview today with the Pentagon Channel. The results will help program implementers determine what factors will be used to evaluate employees' job performance for the next 15 or 20 years, he said.
"It's an opportunity for (employees) to have a voice in the system that they are going to be living under and to make sure that we get it right," said Mary Lacey, program executive officer for the National Security Personnel System.
"And we want to get it right," Lacey said. "We want to hear what employees have to say, and we want them to be a part of our design process."
Lacey said system designers are particularly interested in hearing from civil service employees who have been part of DoD personnel demonstration programs. "They bring to the table real experience in a system that has National Security Personnel System-like features," she said. "So we think their input will be incredibly valuable."
Meanwhile, progress continues in putting the new personnel system in place. The current goal is to publish the final regulations in the Federal Register by summer's end and begin bringing the first employees into the system by the end of the fiscal year, Lacey said.
However, she stressed, the implementation schedule will be "event-driven," and "we are not going to take certain steps until we are ready."
Once in place, the new personnel system is expected to benefit the Defense Department and its civilian employees alike by doing away with outdated, bureaucratic policies.
"DoD is a dynamic institution," Abell said. "Our mission has changed, our focus has changed, and this will allow the civilian-employee workplace to change with that changing mission and changing focus of our leadership."
One of the system's key features is a pay-for-performance plan that rewards and recognizes individual performance and contributions.
The new system also will enable employees to get more involved in their individual career development, with broad pay bands and occupational groupings giving them more flexibility to shape their careers, Lacey said.
The result, Abell said, will be a workplace that's "more productive (and more) efficient, with our jobs aligned with our mission." Once the system is implemented, DoD "ought to be a happier place to live and work," he said.