Are Fed Promotions Merit-Based? Managers, Staff Disagree

Dr. Cloud/

Performance awards and innovation also elicit differing views, report finds.

There are some significant disparities between federal managers and employees when it comes to viewing areas like promotions and recognizing innovation, according to a new Partnership for Public Service analysis.

The report – a snapshot of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government analysis – found that federal managers and their employees do not view certain elements of their workplace the same. This could prove as a challenge for agencies looking to drive change and improve employee satisfaction and commitment, according to the report.

The greatest disparity among managers and staff was their views on whether promotions are based on merit: 47.2 percent of managers agreed with this statement, versus 25.9 percent of employees.

Employees and managers also were not on the same page when it came to performance rewards and innovation. Just four out of 10 employees feel they are rewarded for high quality work, compared with nearly six out of 10 managers who believe employees are rewarded in this area. On innovation, just 31.7 percent of employee agreed that creativity and innovation are rewarded, compared with 46.7 percent of managers.

The analysis also found gaps on the ways managers and supervisors view leadership fairness (18.2-point gap) and whether employees are given the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills (17-point gap).

While there was some agreement from managers and employees on other key areas, some of those perceptions were negative. For example, both managers and employees agreed that they’re skeptical their work unit can recruit people with the right skills. On training, just five in 10 managers and employees agreed that their needs are adequately assessed.

“Although staff and managers do not have positive views on these issues, it is good news that they agree these are challenges facing the organization,” the report stated.

The good news: there is high level of agreement between managers and staff in believing the work they do is important, the workforce has job-relevant knowledge and skills and that supervisors are supportive of employees’ work-life balance.

Agencies can use their individual data to understand any specific staff/manager alignment issues, discover the root causes of those divergent viewpoints and develop an action plan to improve those areas, the report states. Brown bag lunches, anonymous online suggestion boxes for employees and improved managerial training may be some areas where agencies can turn to better align staff on these key issues.

Are you and your IT manager on the same page when it comes to key workplace components like training, promotions and innovation?

(Image via Dr. Cloud/

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