Chap 3 hr | Human Resource Management homework help

Now that you have reviewed the “chapter 3” (week 3) materials, it is time to reflect upon the concepts learned and use your own experience or ideas to participate in the week 3 discussion forum. Consider what you have learned and provide an initial response that addresses the following questions:

  • What are the pros & cons of allowing executive branch departments & agencies to establish independent pay systems?
  • What role, if any, should central management agencies like OPM have in developing & managing such systems?



First response


What role, if any, should central management agencies like OPM have in developing & managing such systems?

OPM maintains accountability for change in personnel management policies or procedures which results in improved Federal personnel management.  OPM has played both a policy and research role in pay for performance systems.  In the 1980’s many agencies collaborated with OPM to initiate demonstration projects and OPM reported to Congress on the status and results of those projects to prepare guidance on government-wide policy.  OPM also gained information through agency inspections and program reviews to ensure compliance with the civil service laws and regulations.

Going forward, I believe agencies need the flexibility to design programs that meet their mission, culture and needs.  Each agency should be able to go directly to Congress to obtain specific legislation that would enable them to establish their own pay systems.  OPM should not be part of the process of developing or approving plans, however they can manage and evaluate a program’s success to ensure compliance with government-wide guidelines after the program has been implemented.  Meeting the needs of the individual agency should be the larger focus instead of identifying similarities in all systems across the government.

response 2



What are the pros & cons of allowing executive branch departments & agencies to establish independent pay systems?

A number of agencies have been outside the traditional title 5, pay systems such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, NSA and GAO.  Such authorities have been granted by law or in some cases as part of a demonstration system such as the China Lake acquisition demonstration project the Department of Defense initiated in the mid-to-late 1990s.  So what most of these revised pay structures have in common is that they were/are efforts to meet specific unique agency needs to recruiting and retaining talent. 

We also have special pay structure for the semi-independent-governmental United States Postal Service, judges in the federal courts system, and senior executive service who fall outside of the GS system.            

Specifically, the pros of such independent pay systems are as follows:

Variable Pay:  Such pay systems allow the agency to set a rate of pay commensurate with an individual’s qualifications vice competing against a set standard in the GS pay system.  So if I am having a hard time recruiting and retaining nuclear engineers, I may be able to entice individuals to work for the government by offering a higher rate of pay to come in and higher retention incentives to retain the talent. 

Pay Banding:  In these pay systems pay banding has been very common based on a grouping of occupations to allow for compensation that reflects a market value to the extent practicable.    

Individual Contributions:  Such pay systems are geared towards rewarding individual contributions vice across the board contributions as in the GS pay system. 

Unique Skills:  Each of these systems recognizes unique skills that do not lend itself to the traditional GS pay structure.  For example, although not technically law enforcement, TSA airport screeners provide a valuable security and safety service, and skill that can only be acquired through an experienced workforce.  If we were to pay these individuals a salary that is not commensurate with the duties involved, then we would risk losing security and safety because we would now be forced to hire individuals who are less trained and therefore increase the risk for an incident.     

The Cons are:

Disparate Pay Systems:  According to OPM, in 2013, the GS pay plan accounts for the majority of the workforce.  That equates to about 69 percent of the workforce.  The remaining workforce is under other pay plans.  An increase in the number of pay systems makes it harder to administer and ensure the workforce is protected under Merit Protections and harder to ensure fair and equitable pay consistent with title 5.

Competition:  An increase in pay systems make it harder for agencies to recruit for similar skill sets to fill positions as individuals will search for the best offer they can get.  

From a personal perspective, the failure or success of independent pay systems is the culture and sense of transparency.  If an organization does not change the culture and embrace the pay system, it is likely to suffer from employee resentment.  Pay systems established by law without employee input have been scrutinized severely by unions.  Secondly, if employees do not believe the system is fair, then no pay system will succeed.  A pay system that is developed by using employee input and union participation has a far more likely chance to succeed than pay system enacted because it was a great idea.  DoD and DHS (although some are still independent such as TSA) both experienced issues with their independent pay system that resulted in moving back to the GS pay plan.             

What role, if any, should central management agencies like OPM have in developing & managing such systems?

OPM should have a role a definitive role in developing and managing such systems.  First, to ensure hiring practices are consistent with the OPM guideline s and federal law.  Secondly, OPM should ensure workforce compensation is consistent with compensation across the entire federal workforce.  For example, we would not want Agency A to pay managers far more than Agency Z and create a disparity in pay across the workforce.  OPM should ensure such pay is consistent across the entire federal workforce. The role of OPM in management of the systems goes far beyond pay but goes into benefits, classification, incentives and awards.  Consistency in these areas as well goes a long way towards ensuring the federal workforce is compensated consistently regardless of the pay system.   




than what the professor said about your initial response


I didn’t quite understand the first part of your answer, regarding the advantages of independent pay systems.  For example, what do you mean when you say one of the advantages is “the ability . . . to administer pay programs without a lot of ease”?  Also, what “difficulties” might “stem from other public organizations due to regular checks”?  Finally, how does an independent pay system enhance the “effectiveness of the payment system through proper tracking of payment programs and information”?  Doesn’t a governmentwide pay system like the General Schedule also have “proper tracking of payment programs and information”?  In other words, what is there about an independent pay system that, in your opinion, offers advantages when compared to already existing governmentwide pay systems?


please clear that up  thanks 🙂

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