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HR Specialist

on 11 March 2014

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Creating Meaningful Distinctions
Goal Alignment
Setting Expectations
Developing Performance Standards
Monitoring Performance & Continuous Feedback
Appraising Objectively and Fairly

Monitoring Performance Continuous Feedback
Creating Meaningful Distinctions in Performance
Level 3 Definition
An employee is

fully providing what is expected
, desired or need within his/her job. The expectations outlined in his/her performance plan should reflect a level of performance that is not merely adequate, but demonstrates the employee is
performing all tasks
associated with their position in an
effective and efficient manner
Level 4 Definition
An employee meets and
often exceeds
expectations described at the Level 3.
Level 5 Definition
An employee meets and
consistently exceeds
performance expectations and should be even more difficult to achieve as described in Level 3. To receive a Level 5 rating an employee must demonstrate that he/she
consistently exceeds
performance expectations
time after time.
Standards and Grade Levels
Critical elements are based on the requirements of the position

May be similar to identical for two or more grade levels in the same series

Level 3 expectations should be written in such a way to demonstrate that is it a solid rating, reinforcing for the employee that they are
appropriately fulfilling all of the responsibilities
of the position, which in turn
supports the organization in meeting its goals and obligations
Level 4 performance expectations should reflect performance that frequently exceeds the objectives described in Level 3. Level 4 ratings should be reserved those who truly exceed the level of performance required in a specific critical element. Expectations at this level should require an employee to
"go above and beyond"
the normal requirements of their job on a
regular basis
. Level 4 performance
assists the organization in not just meeting its goals, but exceeding them
Level 5 expectations should identify performance that is
truly exceptional
, and that would be indicative of an employee performing at the highest possible level for that position. Level 5 performance is the kind of performance that does not just help the organization exceeds its goals -
it helps the organization define new goals and new ways of doing business with demonstrated results.
Steps to Setting Expectations
What is the job?
[job title]
is responsible for
Identifying the Critical Elements
Products or services critical to an employee performing his/her job. Identifying CE's is the cornerstone of individual accountability in performance management

Should be related to the employee's position description
What to Consider
Is the element a major component of the work?
Does the element address individual performance only?
Does employee error on the element affect the work unit's accomplishments?
If the employee unacceptably performed one or more element, are there serious consequences to completing the work of the organization?
Does the element required a significant amount of the employee's time?
Writing Expectations
- What the employee is able to perform.
Putting it Together
[job title]

HR Specialist
is responsible for providing
staffing services
ensure all organization vacancies are filled
Identifying Results & Measures
General Measures
The means by which achievement of responsibilities (critical elements) are judged
Things to Consider
How could [quality, quantity, timeliness, and cost effectiveness] be measured?
Is there a number or percentage that can be measured?
Who could determine if the element was done well?
What factors would they look for?
General Measures:

Lorree Mickenhime
HR Specialist

- the quality or level of performance that will be considered acceptable, often described in terms of speed, accuracy, and/or quality.
- conditions under which the performance is expected to occur.
Post vacancy announcements
within 5 days

of receiving vacancy information from managers
Step One
Step Two

[job title]




HR Specialist


strategic recruiting advice


reviewing the position to be filled, discussing hiring goals with the selecting official, and evaluating recruitment options
Monitoring Performance
Document observations as they happen - recalling past performance concerns is often difficult.
Document observations in sufficient detail to be understood by another supervisor.
Focus on specific actions the employee took to meet or exceed expectations; avoid evaluating personality traits. Cite performance or results, not conduct or general impressions.
Benefits of Continuous Feedback
For Employees
Use Specific Language
Effective Feedback
Link feedback to a goal or an employee's critical element, when possible.
"You did a great job maintaining cost controls by carefully tracking team spending in your spreadsheet. Keep it up!"
Identify both strengths and areas for development.
Provide sufficient examples to support your discussion points.
Obtain employee's point of view.
Provide employees with sufficient time to speak openly and ask questions.
Be attuned to emotional reactions by the employee.
Maintain a calm and composed atmosphere.
"I understand you feel...about...I am here to support you in facing this challenge and find a solution together."
Ask Questions
What contributions do you think you have made this year? or since we last talked?
What new things have you learned?
How can I better support you?
What are your future goals and expectations? (for next month, quarter, etc.)
What new things are you interested in learning?
What feedback to have for me? (Be open)
Performance Concerns
Regular and continuous feedback can assist in detecting declined performance
Early detection can decrease the need for formal action
As soon as a concern arises - meet with the employee to discuss the performance problem.
For Supervisors
Provides feedback for employees to develop their skills and career growth
Encourages employee skill development and career growth
Provides the opportunity to ask clarifying questions about their performance and how to improve
Increases likelihood employees will meet or continue to meet expectations in the future
Identifies behaviors that employees should continue in the future
Provides opportunity to praise and recognize good behavior
Performance discussions are meant to provide both guidance for improvement, as well as recognition for a job well-done.

Feedback discussions provide an opportunity for the employee to understand what behaviors they should continue and areas he/she needs to work on.

Using specific language ensures your message is clearly communicated.
Instead of saying...
"Good job this year!"
" You did a great job this year in three key areas: demonstrating initiative, delivering excellent work products, and collaborating with your peers."
"Your overall performance needs improvement."
" I recommend improving your overall performance by delivering your work products in a timely manner, accepting constructive criticism to improve your skills, and taking a training course in customer service."
Step One - The Bigger Picture
Step Two - Cascading to Work Unit
Step Three - Individual Accomplishments that Support Work Unit Objectives
Using the objectives you identified in Step Two, work with your team to create a role-results matrix to help identify the individual contributions each employee makes throughout the year to support your work unit's overall objectives.
Step 4 - Tie it Together
You should now have a clear understanding of how your work contributes to the achievement of agency-wide and organizational goals.

Using the role-results matrix created with your team, work with your supervisors to write individual SMART goals to incorporate into the individual performance plans.
Aligning Goals
Specific Measures
are the actions taken to produce results
software programs
customer questions
products or services
files that are orderly and correct
a software program that works
accurate guidance to customers
a report that is complete and accurate
Performance Standards Pitfalls
Avoid Absolute Retention Standards
"Absolute" retention standard (Level 2) - one that allows for no errors - is acceptable only in very limited circumstances.
When a single failure to perform under a critical element would result in loss of life, injury, breach of national security, or great monetary loss.
Avoid Backward Standards
A common tendency is to describe it in terms of work that does not get done instead of what must be done to meet the retention standard (Level 2).
Describing negative performance actually describes Level 1 performance.
Standards such as "fails to meet deadlines" or "performs work inaccurately" allow an employee to perform no work or do it poorly and still meet the retention standard.
Questions to Consider
How many times may the employee fail this requirement and still be acceptable?
Does the retention standard use words such as "all," "never," and "each"? (These words do not automatically create an absolute standard, but they often alert you to problems.)
If the retention standards allows for no errors, would it be valid according the criteria?
How Do I Avoid This?
Does the standard express the level of work or does it describe negative performance? (Examples of negative performance: Requires assistance more than 50% of the time.)

If the employee did nothing, would he/she meet the standard as written? (Example: Completes fewer than four products per year.)
Appraising Objectively and Fairly
Effective appraising relies on clearly written performance plans with measurable expectations
GSA supervisors play an important role in ensuring that appraisals are conducted objectively and as fairly as possible
Appraising Objectively
Gather and review necessary documents
Appraise the employee's work, not the employee as an individual
Appraise against multiple levels: performance against established expectations of all performance levels
Include meaningful written feedback in the Overall Performance Summary
When writing the summary...ask
Overall how well did the employee perform his/her stated duties?
Did the employee meet expectations and achieve specified goals?
If the employee did not perform as well as expected, were there extenuating circumstances that may have impacted his/her ability to achieve the desired results?
If the employee surpassed performance expectations, how frequently did this occur? What impact did the employee's performance have on achieving the organization's goals?
Tips to Maintain Objectivity
Use a consistent level of detail in the Overall Summary
Never compare employees to one another
Be cognizant of our mood while evaluating performance
Double check your work for fairness
Focus on current performance
Award a higher-than-deserved rating to aid employee retention or avoid performance improvement plans
Believe that an employee can reach the highest levels of performance
Focus on a critical incident
Focus on all of an employee's strengths and areas for development
Assign a lower rating for a less challenging position
Set aside personal feelings and assess an employee on their achievements
Lorree Mickenhime
Irena Matijevic
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