a publication of the
POLICY AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (MANPOWER & RESERVE AFFAIRS)
In this Issue
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Base System
Some frequently asked questions about ratings under the Base System include the following topics:
- Successful Level 3 (SL3): If a nonsupervisory Base System employee receives Excellence in two of the Responsibilities, they would have 50% Excellence, which would fall within the 25-74% category. If the employee got Excellence in one responsibility, this would represent 25%, which also falls within the 25-74% parameter. Successful Level 3 (SL3) is still defined as receiving all Success ratings. If you get more than 2, either 3 or 4 Excellence, you get Successful Level 1 (SL1).
- List of Accomplishment for Base System employees: It is permissible for Base System employees to submit their list of accomplishments for the rating cycle, however, the list should not be filed with the evaluation report and the Counseling Checklist.
- Upward Mobility Program and Local Interns/Functional Trainees: If an employee is in an upward mobility program, or is a local intern/functional trainee, covered by a two-grade interval series with full performance level at GS-9 or above, the employee is covered under the Senior System.
Team Leaders Role in Performance Management
In April 1998, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued The Team Leader Guide, which can be viewed and downloaded from their website: http://www.opm.gov/perform/teams.htm. The OPM guide recognizes the role team leaders play in performance management processes, and describes twenty specific team leader functions. In order for a position to be properly classified as a team leader, the team leader must perform at least fourteen of these twenty functions, and the first seven are mandatory.
Army's civilian performance management and evaluation procedures reserve certain duties to Supervisors. Among those duties reserved to Supervisors are serving as Rater or Senior Rater. "Only supervisors can sign as either the rater or senior rater under TAPES. Team leaders can provide input, either formal or informal, into the setting of objectives and assessing performance. "
The Evaluation Report - No Attachment!
No additional page can be attached to the TAPES Evaluation Report. Bullet comments should be those most reflective of the Ratee's level of performance which supports the Responsibilities/Objectives ratings. The Counseling checklist and the Support Form allow for additional pages (if necessary.
Senior System Ratees make statements on their significant contributions (Part IVc on the Support Form) which provides information of accomplishments. The TAPES pamphlet indicates on page 34, "Accomplishments may be continued on a separate sheet if more space is needed." Additionally, the TAPES regulation, Section 3-2 under In-Progress Review Documentation states, "If adequate space is not provided on these two forms [DA Form 7223-1 and DA Form 7222-1], additional pages may be attached."
Performance Plan for Long Term Training or Work Related Assignments
Individuals on Long Term Training (LTT) in academic environments or on work related assignments should have performance plans developed prior to beginning their training/assignment. Supervisors can choose from the following objectives or compose their own as appropriate: (a) attendance, (b) attentiveness, (c) preparation, (d) participation, (e) completion/mastery of examinations/assignments.
After development, the performance plan must be mailed to the LTT institution or the supervisor of the development assignment with instructions to the recipient to rate the student against the performance objectives using the TAPES letter input. If the rating period is ending and a support form was not done, then the employee can be placed under one and extend the rating period for 120 days and rate the individual at the end of that period.
Below is a sample that can be used for guidance:
Performance Plan for Long-Term Training
or Developmental Assignment Participant
Instructions to Interim Supervisor:This is a performance plan for the individual named below (who is an employee under my direct supervision) for the duration of his/her LTT training or developmental assignment as shown. As the official supervisor, I need performance input on which to complete an annual evaluation report. Please rate the individual on the performance objectives identified below using the letter input associated with the Total Army Performance Evaluation system (TAPES), i.e., Excellence (E), Success (S), Needs Improvement (NI), or Fails (F). Please include narrative comments supporting the letter rating as well as any additional evaluative information you deem appropriate. I need to complete the individual's annual rating of record on ____________. Therefore, I would appreciate receiving your input on the employee's performance during the LTT or assignment NLT _____________. Please mail the input to me in the envelope attached. Thank you for your assistance. Signed:_________________________________________ Supervisor's Printed Name:_________________________ Mailing Address:__________________________________ _______________________________________________ Telephone:______________________________________ Name of Participant:_________________________________________________ Dates of Training: ____________________________________________ Training Institution/Facility:______________________________________ Location:___________________________________________________ Performance Objectives: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.Please rate each objective with on of the following letter ratings and provide narrative comments on each:
E = Excellence; S= Success; NI = Needs Improvement; F= Fails.
Granting a Quality Step Increase (QSI)
The only restrictions on the granting of a QSI are:
The present AR 672-20 did not carry over the following language from the AR 672-20 dated 1 June 1982, which was in Chapter 6-5f: "A QSI may not be granted unless, at the time it becomes effective, the employee is expected to remain at least 60 days in the same or similar position at the same grade level."
- It must be based on the most recent rating of record and that rating must be at least a Successful Level 1 (5 CFR 531.504(b)).
- The recipient must not have received a previous QSI within the preceding 52 weeks (5 USC 5336(a) and 5 CFR 531.505).
- A QSI may be be awarded to an employee in a position that does not meet the definition of "permanent position" under 5 CFR 403 (DOD CPM 1400.25-M, Chapter 531-C2).
Army Performance Management Study XXI
The Performance Management Study XXI General Officer/SES Steering Committee held its first meeting at the Pentagon from May 3-4, 1999, hosted by Mr. David Snyder, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civilian Personnel Policy). The Study is a comprehensive review of Army's civilian performance appraisal system. Mr. Snyder is the Chairperson of the GO/SES Steering Committee. The members are
- MG Patricia P. Hickerson
DCS for Personnel, US Army Europe and Seventh Army
- MG Carl H. Freeman
CG, 19th TAACOM, Eighth US Army
- MG Philip R. Kensinger, Jr.
CG, US Army South
- MG James E. Donald
DCG/Chief of Staff, US Army Pacific
- MG Geoffrey D. Miller
DCS, Personnel & Installation Management, FORSCOM
- MG Patrick D. Sculley
Deputy The Surgeon General/Chief, Dental Corps, MEDCOM
- BG Daniel A. Doherty
Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Base Operations Support, TRADOC
- Dr. Clarence W. Kitchens, Jr.
Principal Deputy for Technology, AMC
- Dr. Susan L. Duncan
Director, Human Resources, US Army Corps of Engineers
- Ms. Sandra R. Riley
Deputy Administrative Assistant, Office of the Secretary of the Army
Steering Committee members have a Working Group representative, who is a functional line manager in their command. These representatives are conducting the Study. They met with the Steering Committee members May 3-4, 1999, to hear civilian performance management presentations given by subject matter experts from the DOD Components, independent civilian agencies, and OPM.
The Working Group received direction from the Steering Committee on where they should focus their efforts in conducting the Study. From May 5-7, 1999, the Working Group conducted an in-depth assessment of what the most effective approach to the many aspects of this comprehensive and challenging project would require:
- What do we want in 5-10 years?
- What do we have now?
- What changes or improvements are needed and recommended?
- What guidance do we want to develop?
- What automation process will work best and how will it work?
During this year, the Working Group members will contact many technical, professional and administrative experts to solicit their ideas and input to particular portions of the study. Another important source of information for the Working Group is the feedback received through the Army Performance Management Study XXI Survey.
The responses came from the civilian appropriated fund workforce - employees, supervisors, managers, union representatives. It was a huge success, and there were over 5,000 responses during the 30-day reply period. The answers to the open-ended questions were frank, and it's this candid feedback that will be most helpful to the Working Group members in their review of the present system. The electronic responses that covered the multiple choice questions are summarized below.
The Army Performance Management Study XXI Survey Results
During the month of March 1999, we conducted an Army-wide performance management survey on the Civilian Personnel On Line (CPOL) web site. The survey results provide a general indication of what civilians think of the present civilian appraisal system, and their perspective on what could improve or replace it. There were 4,713 electronic responses and 476 mail in responses by the deadline March 31, 1999. The electronic tally results are summarized below:
- There was a 54% Agreement, 14% Strong Agreement, and 14% Strong Disagreement that TAPES performance objectives and standards reflect what employees are expected to do on the job.
- In response to the question that TAPES performance objectives and standards are established jointly, there was a 40% Agreement, 16% Strong Agreement and 22% Strong Disagreement.
- The response concerning whether the required Midpoint Discussion of job performance was occurring resulted in 38% Agreement, 15% Strong Agreement, and 21% Strong Disagreement.
- Reviewing training and development needs with the supervisor during the TAPES discussion showed 32% Agreement, 9% Strong Agreement, and 29% Strong Disagreement.
- The majority of the respondents indicated they give their supervisor a write-up of their accomplishments on the TAPES form: 42% Agreement, 36% Strong Agreement, 10% Strong Disagreement.
- When asked if there had been improvement in the way employees communicated with their supervisor about their performance since Army instituted TAPES, the response was 14% Agreement, 4% Strong Agreement, 26% Strong Disagreement and 21% Disagreement.
- Concerning whether Awards are given to the most deserving people since Army implemented TAPES, the response was 2% Strong Agreement, 10% Agreement, 22% Neither Agreed or Disagreed, 27% Strongly Disagreement, and 34% Disagreement.
- There was 3% Strong Agreement, 11% Agreement, 32% Strong Disagreement, 24% Disagreement and 26% Neither Agreed or Disagreed that there was more ongoing feedback about job performance from the supervisor since Army implemented TAPES than before TAPES.
- Preference for overall summary rating levels was: 5 Levels, 26%; 4 Levels, 13%; 3 Levels, 17%; 2 Levels, 20%; No Change from TAPES, 15%; No Opinion, 9%.
From the respondents who provided their position criteria on the survey, the following was determined: Type of Service: 93% were Competitive Service, and 7% were Excepted Service; and Pay Category: 93% were GS/GM and 7% were WG/WL/WS.
The survey provided 2 open-ended questions that allowed the respondents to provide comments on what they perceived could be done to improve the effectiveness of the current civilian appraisal process, and what features would they consider desirable in a new system. The comments were very broad, although a central theme was: better communication between the employee and supervisor; more feedback from the supervisor regarding ongoing performance; more equitable distribution of awards; better training in the appraisal process for employees and their supervisors; and more objective, less subjective rater/senior rater evaluations.
The Performance Management Study XXI Working Group received all the survey narrative comments received through the mail and the CPOL web site. During the course of the Study, these comments will serve as additional resource information the Working Group will reference to ensure consideration is given to the perceptions and perspectives of the respondents.
The survey was not intended to provide a conclusive analysis of the overall workforce attitude concerning the performance evaluation process. Its purpose was to provide the PMS XXI Working Group with indicators from the work force on those areas that were most often mentioned as a source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the present system, and to capture ideas for improvement or change.
Common Errors in Compliance with TAPES
The regulatory and procedural compliance for performance appraisals for the two different systems under TAPES, Senior and Base, have been consistently below the Army objective of not less than 90% accuracy.
We are approaching an August mid-point for the Base System; the Senior System for GS-13s and above closes 30 June with 1 July beginning the new cycle; and the Senior System for GS-09s - GS-12s will close 31 Oct. It's a good time to start thinking about contributing to a higher accuracy rate, by cutting down on those errors that have been keeping us under the goal! Listed below are areas to double-check to avoid making some of the most common errors cited.
- Appropriately complete the Counseling Checklist/Support Form
- Rate the Individual Objectives
- Document the Initial and Mid-Point Counseling
- Check that the Rating Period is at least 120 days
- Ensure the appraisal form is signed by the Rater, and the Senior Rater, if applicable
- Assign the proper Summary Level Rating
- Include the EEO/Affirmative Action and Supervision/Leadership Objectives and ratings on supervisory appraisals.
Army Civilian Personnel Professionals - Helping Leaders Meet the Mission
Back to TAPES Index