Anniston Army Depot, Ala.--The depot converted approximately 225 employees from the General Schedule to the National Security Personnel System this month.

Only non-bargaining unit employees are affected by the conversion to the performance-based pay system, said Mary Mullen, the depot's NSPS transition manager and lead training administrator.

These personnel actions are part of the Pentagon's last spiral of NSPS conversions, according to Brenda Gurley, director of the Anniston Army Depot civilian personnel office.

More than 75,000 civilian employees throughout the Department of Defense are scheduled this year to join the 109,033 who have already converted to the agency's new pay-for-performance system, according to the NSPS website.

An objective of NSPS is to do away with promotions and bonuses based on longevity and replace the current system with a pay-for-performance structure that rewards deserving employees.

NSPS proponents say the DOD is in need of a human resources system that appropriately recognizes and rewards its employees' performance and the contributions they make to the mission-providing for the common defense.

One of the reasons cited for NSPS is the need for better tools to "attract and retain good employees."

Gurley said while employees under the new pay system will take the responsibility for their performance and ensure it's tied to ANAD's mission, it's up to each supervisor to provide employees feedback and let them know what's expected.

"Managers and supervisors will need to assist and encourage their employees to take ownership of their performance," said Gurley.

Supervisors will be challenged to set pay for their employees under NSPS while they continue to deal with those employees who remain in the other pay systems.

According to American Federation of Government Employees Local 1945's president Everett Kelley, who has been involved with NSPS discussions since it was introduced in 2003, the latest version of the pay-for-performance system is the result of negotiations between the Defense department and the unions.

"The system is now more watered down than it used to be," said Kelley, referring to how the Pentagon initially wanted to convert all of DOD but now only has plans in place to convert those GS employees who are not part of the bargaining unit, among other changes that have been made to the system in recent years.

"We have very committed employees on this installation," said Kelley. "We just need to keep up the good morale by making sure the system is fair among the employees."

Not all employees at ANAD to be affected by NSPS are familiar with the design of the performance-based pay system and of the DOD's decision to convert their pay plan in February. But those who have already learned of the planned move and of their role in the new system say they hope the NSPS is fair.

"I am hoping this means a better link of communication and discussion between employees and supervisors," said Sandra White, a program support specialist with production operations.

Employees here had the opportunity beginning last year to take the NSPS 101 course online. The course served as an overview of the system's key elements, to include pay bands and promotions.

NSPS has four career groups to which member employees are classified: standard, investigative and protective services, scientific and engineering, and medical.

According to a 2006 NSPS announcement, these job classifications allow flexibility in assigning new or different work and promote broader skill development and advancement opportunities within and across pay bands.

Each career group has three to four pay schedules that better specify the type of job being done. Furthermore, each pay schedule includes pay bands that indicate the employee's compensation level within the pay schedule.

All depot employees and supervisors with a role in this conversion to NSPS have received formal in-person training required by the system, said Mullen.

Page last updated Thu February 21st, 2008 at 17:15