Tips for dealing with poor performers in government

04/23/2014 11:59 am ET | Updated Jun 23, 2014

As federal managers know all too well, the process of dealing with poor performers is fundamentally flawed, failing to serve the best interests of both the agencies and employees.

The time and effort required to remove or discipline an employee is daunting, and often discourages managers from taking action. Managers are not always properly trained and sometimes lack the will to act because they're concerned about the personal toll and its disruptive impact.

At the same time, large numbers of federal employees believe that high performance is neither recognized nor rewarded, and that poor performers are not held accountable. This situation does not bode well for effective government or a high level of workplace morale.

Just take a look at the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. About 70 percent of employees do not believe promotions in their work unit are based on merit, and only 43 percent of employees surveyed feel as though they are recognized for doing a good job. Worst of all, only 26 percent of employees believe that agency leaders are taking steps to deal with poor performers who cannot or will not improve.