I received an email notification that a Department of Defense Civilian Reduction in Force (RIF) was coming. I almost deleted the email. RIFs are nothing new, and they typically go like this:
- Some older employees use it as a chance to retire early
- Most employees that have been around greater than 2 years continue to stay
- Young employees or ones with extensively documented issues get let go
The problem is that RIFs consider tenure status and veteran status over performance. This makes it extremely hard to fire someone. The performance portion has to be absolutely horrendous, and most employees are smart enough to do the bare minimum so that as a supervisor, you struggle to find anything negative to document.
Even when there are problems, they take forever to solve. Out in Bahrain, I had a civilian employee that regularly sent angry emails to our entire command, in many cases including the Admiral. But her previous boss had written glowing performance reviews, so when the command wanted to fire her, she had a case against them. Her new boss (who I had gone to school with) painfully documented her performance issues and outbursts for a year. During her performance review, she received such a low score that the HR office called us and asked if we had made a mistake. She lost a $10K bonus and was removed a few weeks later.
Had she been a Google or Amazon employee, I doubt she would have lasted 4 weeks.
So imagine my surprise when I read these paragraphs:
In order to comply with the law, the department has reprioritized the “order of retention” as implemented by Office of Personnel Management in government-wide regulations, by placing performance as the primary retention factor. This is a substantial change for DoD from existing, government-wide provisions. The current, government-wide RIF retention factors are: tenure, veteran’s preference, length of service, and performance, in descending order.
Under the new procedures, employees shall be ranked on a retention register based on periods of assessed performance, followed by the retention factors of: performance rating of record, tenure group, performance average score, veteran’s preference, and DoD Service Computation Date- RIF (DoD SCD-RIF).
Performance? That could be a game changer. The memo gives you an idea of how they will score people, but just the fact that we’re going to use performance as the driving metric is a huge step in the right direction.
Except the actual memo…that’s totally real DoD policy. No fake news here.