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Performance Management & Appraisals

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HR Specialist

on 6 February 2015

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Transcript of Performance Management & Appraisals

Performance Management & Recognition
Associate Performance Plan and Appraisal System (APPAS)
Associate Performance Recognition System (APRS)
The Performance Management Process
Familiarize supervisors with the Associate Performance Plan and Appraisal System process
Provide framework on writing effective and supportable performance elements
Recommend appropriate feedback strategies
Supply process to deal with poor performers
Address ways of recognizing and rewarding employees
Where you get the information to monitor employee performance for the element
Includes documents or personal observations which help determine the rating of each element
Customers and peers are also a great source of feedback
It is important to have multiple feedback sources for each element to ensure you are obtaining an accurate overall reflections of the employee's performance
Delivering the Appraisal
Deliver it clearly
Good news - present positive first
Bad news - keep feedback constructive
Be mindful of non-verbal communication/body language behaviors
Offer support while holding employee accountable
Develop improvement strategies for change
Ask the employee if they have any additional feedback for you
Follow up with an email documenting what you discussed
Dealing with Poor Performance
Setting the stage for good performance:

Communicate clear standards and expectations
Document instructions given
Provide regular and frequent feedback
Continuous feedback assists employees to work at their best
Reward and recognize good performance
Make full use of probationary period
Lorree Mickenhime


Irena Matijevic
Performance Management & Appraisals
Together these programs help GSA:

Link individual performance plans to organizational and agency goals
Make meaningful distinctions between different levels of accomplishment
Provide guidance on assisting and holding employee's accountable for meeting performance expectations.
Provide a variety of ways to recognize employees for their performance and contributions to GSA's success.
Phases of Performance Management
Setting performance expectations and goals for groups and individual to channel their efforts toward achieving organizational objectives.
Measuring and monitoring performance and providing ongoing feedback to employees and work groups on their progress toward reaching their goals.
Increasing the capacity to perform through training, giving assignments that introduce new skills or more responsibility, improving work processes, and other methods.
Evaluating employee or group performance against elements and standards in a performance plan summarizing that performance, and assigning a rating of record.
Providing incentives and recognition to employees, individually, and as groups for performance and acknowledging contributions to GSA mission.
APPAS - In General
Performance expectations for all associates will be communicated, annually, through written performance plans.
Any employee on a plan for 120 days or more must be rated
Plans must be reviewed each rating year
Mid-Year progress reviewed are required
Plans must be re-certified at the beginning of every rating cycle OR when a change is made to a critical element or performance measure
RIF service credit is based on the summary rating
APPAS Time Frames
Rating Cycle - October 1 thru September 30
Rating - document NLT November 15th (for awards processing)
APPAS directive requires the supervisor hold at least one formal mid-year progress review
March 31st - marks the midway point of the rating period
May 31st - last day to hold mid-year
120 days until the end of the rating cycle - minimum required for a rating
APPAS directive requires an employee be given an interim rating at the conclusion of a detail or temp promotion of 120 days or more
APPAS Process: Supervisor Role
Foster a work environment that promotes a high-performing organization
Inform employees of how their individual work contributes to the overall goals of the organization
Provide positive and constructive feedback throughout the year
Conduct at least one progress review
Complete - verbally and in writing - an annual performance appraisal within 45 days of the end of the rating cycle (September 30th)
Provide opportunity for employees to submit self-assessments prior to mid-year and annual appraisal discussions
Ensure that employee evaluations are fair and objective
Re-certify performance plans at the beginning of each rating period
Ensure plans are job-related
APPAS Process - Employee Role
Provide input in development or updating of the performance plan

Provide a self assessment providing feedback about their accomplishments, successes, challenges, and to identify training and developmental opportunities

Be open to suggestions of alternate feedback sources or other improvements
Elements & Standards
Critical Elements
No prescribed number
3-5 critical elements are ideal
5 summary level ratings under each element
Supervisory positions have both technical and managerial/supervisory responsibilities

Performance Standards
Describe expectations of the critical elements
Must describe expected level of performance on a critical element at Level 3
Critical Elements
Identifying critical elements is the cornerstone of individual accountability in performance management
Identifies products or services critical to an employee performing his/her job
Should be related to the employee's position description
Should be measurable
Require collaborative development between employees and supervisors
Level 3 must be identified (also prefer Level 1, 3, and 5)
Determining What is "Critical"
Is the element a major component of the work?
Does the element address individual performance only?
Does an employee error on the element affect the work unit's accomplishments?
Does the element require a significant amount of employee's time?
Is the accomplishment of the task under the employee's control?
What is the impact of accomplishment or failure?
Performance Standards
Definition: thresholds, requirements, or expectations that must be met for performance to be appraised at a particular level
Statements about desired results (Level 3 is Fully Successful - you increase or decrease the expectations to match the other performance levels
Developed to describe the five expected levels of performance on a critical element
Should have detailed descriptions at Levels 1, 3, and 5
The Performance Plan
Goals Cascade
Expectations - Cont.
Challenging, but attainable
Meeting the Level 3 should require a reasonable amount of effort; however, an employee should also be able to surpass it
An unattainable or effortless performance standard will de-motive employees
There must be meaningful distinctions between the levels of performance
Defined as the means by which achievement of elements are evaluated
Measures should be directly linked to the results you want to see
Quality: how well the work is performed and/or the accuracy or effectiveness of the final product
Quantity: amount produced
Timeliness: how quickly, when, or by what date
Cost-effectiveness: budgetary concerns on specific resource levels (money, personnel, or time) that can be documented and measure
Measures - General
Measures - Specific
For each general measure ask -
How could quality, quantity, timeliness, and/or cost-effectiveness) be measured?
Is there a number or percentage that could be tracked?
If the element cannot be measured with numbers, ask -
Who could judge that the element was done well?
What factors would they look for?
Performance Level Descriptions
Level 1: Does not meet performance expectations (Unsatisfactory)
Level 2: Partially meets performance expectations (Minimally Successful)
Level 3: Meets performance expectations (Fully Successful)
Level 4: Meets and often exceeds performance expectations (Highly Successful)
Level 5: Meets and consistently exceeds performance expectations (Outstanding)
Standards should be:
Level 3 Definition
An employee is
fully providing what is expected
, desired, or needed within his/her job. The expectations outlined in his/her performance plan should reflect a level of performance that is not merely adequate, but that 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 as described in Level 3.

Level 4 expectations should reflect performance that frequently exceeds the objectives described in Level 3. Level 4 ratings should be reserved for employees who truly exceed the level of performance required in a specific critical element. Performance expectations at this level should require an employee to go
"above and beyond"
the normal requirements of their job on a regular basis. Level performance
assists an organization in not meeting its goals, but exceeding them.
Level 5 Definition
An employees meets and
consistently exceeds
performance expectations and should be even more to difficult to achieve as described in Level 3. In order to receive a Level 5 rating an employee must demonstrate that he/she consistently exceeds performance expectations
time after time
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
helps the organization define new goals and new ways of doing business
Performance Standards - Helpful Hints
First, determine the results you want, then write the expectations in a way that you can accurately assess if an employee is achieving the goal

Setting expectations at the Level 3, if done well, makes the other levels much easier to define
Retention Standard
An employee can be retained in a position if he/she is performing at a Level 2, Minimally Successful
Poorly written Level 2 standards such as "Fails to meet deadline" or "Usually misses deadlines" allows an employee to do virtually no work and still meet the retention standard
Language such as "fails to" should only be in the Level 1 standard, Unsatisfactory
Absolute Standards
A standard that allows for no errors
Is acceptable only in very limited circumstances
loss of life, injury, breach of national security, or great monetary loss
Avoid standards with language such as "Never" and "Always"
Should only be used for Level 1 and Level 5 standards
Creating Meaningful Distinctions in Performance
Level 3 expectations should be written in such a way as to demonstrate that it is a solid rating, reinforcing for the employee that they are
appropriately fulfilling all of the responsibilities
of their position, which in turn
supports the organization in meeting their goals and obligations
Avoid Using Backward Standards
When describing a minimally successful level of performance (Level 2), describe what level of work must be accomplished in order to meet the retention standard.
Performance standards should describe what level of work the supervisor expects the employee to complete
Avoid describing negative performance
i.e. "Fails to meet deadlines" or "Requires supervision"
Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) has ruled in favor of the employee as a result of backward standards
Level 3 standard:
"Employee produces widgets within 10-15 days of receipt of order."

Backward Standard (Level 2):
"Employee does not produce widgets within 10-15 days of receipt of order."

Revised Standard (Level 2):
"Employee produces widgets within 16-20 days of receipt of order."
The Appraisal
Feedback Sources
Preparing for the Appraisal
Review the employee's performance plan, feedback sources, position description, performance file, mid-year review, notes, rating levels, and other appropriate documentation
Reach out to employees to provide a self assessment of the period being discussed
Self assessment form or narrative sorted by Critical Element
Writing the Appraisal
For each critical element:

Consider input from the employee's self assessment
Consider your assessment of feedback, performance file, mid-year, notes, and appropriate documentation
Identify strengths and address areas that need improvement, if necessary
First sentence - give a general description of the employee's performance
Second sentence - follow up that contains more specific information from the employee's performance file that supports the first sentence
Third sentence - encourage employee to continue performing at the same level or set higher goals to obtain a higher level of performance or to improve current performance
Comments should be performance related
Contact you servicing Employee Relations Specialist to discuss any conduct issues
Comments should be made under each element
Areas for training and development should be identified
An overall summary rating level is automatically assigned by CHRIS based on established percentages
Sample Performance Comments
Identifying Feedback Sources
Determine what data to collect for each element, the source of the data, and whether to collect all data or just a sample
Determine when to collect the data, who will collect it, and who will receive it
Review existing reports for possible use as feedback
Create feedback tables or graphs where necessary or applicable
Only use feedback sources listed on the performance plan
Positive Attributes
Maintains a positive attitude under stress
Is an active listener
Is someone that can be depended on
Manages time well
Has great potential for a leadership role in the future
Is strong in [insert skill]
Is considered to be a star talent in this department
Performance Improvement
Needs to work collaboratively with team members and contribute to the success of the team
Needs to follow through on project commitments/work products
Needs to prioritize tasks and use time wisely to meet deadlines
Needs to carefully review final work products to ensure accuracy of factual content as well as grammar/spelling
Planning for the Discussion
Have prepared bullet points you want to discuss
Have specific examples to support your rating
Have realistic examples of your expectations at each level
Focus on employee's work products which correspond to the performance standard - avoid personal opinions
Missing deadline vs. time management issues/irresponsible
Create a comfortable and conducive atmosphere by clearing the space and limiting distractions
* Provide examples or specific suggestions of how to improve
Elements of Effective Feedback
Effective feedback is critical to improving performance
Feedback can come from many different sources: managers and supervisors, measurement systems, peers, and customers
To ensure its effectiveness, feedback should be:
Given in the right manner
Feedback works best when it relates to a specific goal
More objective and tangible
Relate performance to the critical elements and performance standards

For example:
" You issued the selection certificate to the hiring manager within 10 days of the announcement closing date."

Versus saying: "You're doing a good job."
Employees should receive feedback about how they are doing as timely as possible
If employees reach or exceed a goal, the sooner they receive feedback the more meaningful and rewarding it is
If the employee's performance is deficient, address the issue immediately to begin correcting the problem
Do not wait until the mid-year or annual to provide feedback
Right Manner
Acknowledge potential discomfort of the situation
Manage your emotions/defensiveness
Be straightforward, specific, clear, concise, realistic
Direct feedback toward observable behavior - not the person
Avoid personality traits/attributes
Develop improvement strategies for change
Give an opportunity to respond
Offer continuing support
Tailor positive feedback to the individual's preferences
If shy, praise in private
Enjoys the spotlight, praise in public
Follow-up Discussions
Provide and receive feedback on a continuous basis
Ask open questions, assess level of confidence, and listen for unsolicited comments
If there is a problem the employee is finding difficult to address, offer your support
Encourage the employee to take ownership of his/her assignments, think problems through, and only then offer solutions
Performance Assistance Plan (PAP)
Plan designed to assist employee in improving performance to a Level 3 (Fully Successful) before the end of the rating cycle
No time frame, initial period typically 90 days
Clearly describes in the critical element(s) and describes the performance requirements that must be attained to reach Level 3 performance
Documents steps management will take to assist the employee to obtain a Level 3
After the PAP
Issue a PAP completion letter, successful or unsuccessful
If the performance improves to Level 3 - assign the appropriate rating
Consequences of not successfully completing the PAP
Ineligible for within grade increases, organizational awards, and applying for Merit Promotion vacancies
Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
Plan designed to assist an employee in improving performance to at least a Level 2, Minimally Successful
Established reasonable period of time (no less than 60 days) for the employee to show improvement
Clearly describes the performance requirements that must be met for both Level 2 and Level 3 performance
Documents steps management will take to assist the employee to improve to at least the Level 2
After the PIP
If performance improves to Level 3 - issue completion letter and assign rating, if applicable
If performance improves to Level 2 - Place employee on PAP or extend PIP for 30 days
If no improvement, take action to:
Remove from Federal service
If successful performance is not maintained for one year from the issuance of the PIP, employee can be removed without initiating another PIP (MUST BE SAME CRITICAL ELEMENT(S) AS THE PIP)

Timeframe suggested, not required
Lists deficiencies for each CE
Performance improvement for Level 3 explained
No improvement, assign Level 2 rating; ineligible for WIGI, performance awards, or Merit Promotion vacancies
Understanding Poor Performers
Understand why the problem exists
They don't know how...
They don't know they should...
They choose not to...

" Can't do's" are performance issues
" Won't do's" are conduct issues

Do not build up negative feedback - address as issues occur
Must communicate performance deficiencies and maintain documentation

Minimum 60 days
Lists deficiencies for each CE
Performance improvement for Level 2 and Level 3 explained
No Improvement: Reassignment, Demotion, or Removal
Improve to Level 2: 2 rating given; ineligible for WIGI, performance awards, or Merit Promotion vacancies; issue PAP
Managing the Process
Document all work assignments and record completion dates and quality
Any notes used to support action taken may become public record
Keep track of complaints or accolades during the PAP/PIP
Meet with employee regularly to discuss progress and document discussion
Retain samples of work products
Provide assistance to include, but not limited to, formal training, on-the-job training, or closer supervision
Issue a determination letter upon termination of PAP/PIP
Suspension of telework eligibility for performance
Employee Avenues of Recourse
Performance standards cannot be grieved, but they may be questioned during arbitration, MSPB Appeal, or EEO complaint
Ratings can be grieved:
Bargaining Unit individual/institutional
Agency grievances
Union representation during initial performance discussions is not a "right"
Refer to collective bargaining agreement for provisions
Whistleblower Protection Act claim
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) complaint
WIGI Denials
A WIGI must be denied for an employee who is determined to be working below an " Acceptable Level of Competence" (ALOC)
ALOC = most recent rating of record is Level 3 or higher
Must prepare an interim rating to support denial along with issuance of PAP/PIP
A new rating of record to support denial, if applicable
Contact your local Human Resource Office at least 90-120 days in advance of the WIGI due date
WIGI Denials - Notification
Inform the employee in writing about the determination of an unsuccessful level of performance prior to WIGI due date
Describe how performance on the critical element(s) must improve to receive the WIGI
Inform the employee of his/her right to request reconsideration, the reconsideration period, and identify the reconsideration official
Explain that, if during the next 52 weeks, the employee demonstrates consistent performance at Level 3 or higher, the WIGI will be granted
WIGI Denials - Reconsideration Requests
Request in writing within 15 days of receipt of negative determination
Decision to grant WIGI: Will be made retroactive to the first day of the first pay period following the completion of the rating period
Decision to deny WIGI: Inform employee of the right to file a grievance or MSPB Appeal
Associate Performance Recognition System (APRS)

To recognize good performance so it will be sustained or surpassed
Links awards to individual achievement and GSA accomplishments
Incentive to retain employee
Effective Recognition and Rewards
Recognize good performance timely
Recognize/reward frequently, but not constantly (not an entitlement)
Do publicly, unless recipient is uncomfortable
Personalize whenever possible
Forms of Recognition
Oral - "Good job on that," "Thank you"
Written-Note or email; may be forwarded to supervisor/second level supervisor
Small celebrations - donuts, ice cream, etc.
Public praise at meetings
GSA Awards Program options
GSA Awards Program
Individual Performance Awards
Cash, time off, or Quality Step Increase
Organization Performance Awards
Cash or time off
Special Act Awards
Cash or time off
Honor Awards
Individual Performance Awards
Tied directly to annual rating
Level 3 eligible for up to 1.5% of basic pay
Level 4 eligible for up to 4%
Level 5 eligible for up to 6%
* Actual percentage based on budgetary availability
Given one time per year
May grant time off in lieu of cash
May recommend QSI in lieu of cash for a Level 5
*Award distribution is based upon budgetary availability and is at the discretion of the agency
GSA Awards Program, cont'd
Quality Step Increase (QSI)
What is it?
An increase in the rate of basic pay from one GS step of the grade to the next higher step within the grade
Provide incentive and recognition for excellence in performing
Value and cost continue over many years, while its motivating effects diminish with time
Special Act Awards
Cash awards based on non-recurring contributions not covered under IPAs or OPAs criteria
Supervisor may grant time off in lieu of cash
May be given at any time during the year
Organizational Awards and Special Act Awards cannot exceed 4% of basic pay each FY
Honor Awards
A high level of recognition in the form of a plaque, medal, trophy, or certificate approved by a high-level official
No cash component, but may be combined with a cash award if otherwise justified
Writing an Effective Justification
Justifications are required for all awards
CHRIS requires a justification with a minimum of 250 characters for Individual Performance, Organizational Performance, and Special Act Awards
Justifications should include a description of the performance/activity deserving recognition, and why that particular form of recognition was chosen
GSA Honor Awards
Administrator's Distinguished Service Award
Administrator's Meritorious Service Award
Administrator's Excellence in Performance Awards
Exceptional Service Award (Regional)
Public Service Award (Regional)
Commendable Service Award (Regional)
HR, Pay & Leave tab
on GSA InSite;
Performance Management and Recognition
GSA Order CPO P 9430.1
, GSA Associate Performance Plan and Appraisal System
GSA Order CPO P 9451.1
, GSA Associate Performance Recognition System
Bargaining Unit Agreements
AFGE National Agreement, Article 19 – Performance Appraisal System, Article 20 – Incentives Awards and Productivity
 NFFE Memorandum of Understanding re: GSA APPAS
GSA Online University
There are several courses available through GSA’s Online University that address performance management, communication, and leadership skills

CHRIS Homepage

User guides and tutorials


Office of Personnel Management

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