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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

08 07

Managing Compensation and Recognition in a Multi-Pay-Plan Environment

Recognizing the need to recruit top-notch new employees and maintain a high-performing workforce, CDC asked the Academy to convene an expert Panel to objectively assess its employee cash award program and senior-level compensation system.

The Panel received input from more than 200 employees, managers, and labor union representatives across the country and around the world. In addition, the Panel reviewed the governance structure for these programs, analyzed compensation and award data, and mapped the agency’s use of flexible pay plans to fill its leadership positions in highly competitive fields.

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Key Findings

The CDC is responsible for protecting Americans from disease and for improving domestic and global health. Its work affects how easily individuals can access flu vaccines, how quickly and effectively the nation identifies and responds to emerging health threats, and how ably we will be able to respond to future terrorist attacks and other emergencies. From meeting routine public health needs to addressing health threats of crisis proportions, Americans rely upon the dedicated employees of CDC.


The Panel has urged CDC to enhance its program governance structure by establishing and effectively communicating policies and procedures consistent with the principles of equity, integrity, transparency, competitiveness, and administrative efficiency. Foremost among the Panel’s recommendations is that CDC build “a culture of possibility,” in which every CDC employee, no matter what their job or where they work, has an equal opportunity to gain recognition for a job well done. In addition, the Panel was able to make some very practical recommendations. These recommendations focused on how CDC could improve internal communications with employees through the establishment of an awards webpage; integrate data systems; establish criteria for senior-level pay decisions and conversions into more flexible pay plans; enhance the agency’s human capital management capability with additional resources and expertise; use information technology to maximize administrative efficiency; and take advantage of special compensation authorities.

Study Fellows