Volume 6 Issue 2 June 1999
a publication of the

  In this Issue

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Base System

Some frequently asked questions about ratings under the Base System include the following topics:

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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. "

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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."

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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. 

                Supervisor's Printed Name:_________________________
                Mailing Address:__________________________________

Name of Participant:_________________________________________________
Dates of Training: ____________________________________________
Training Institution/Facility:______________________________________
Performance Objectives:
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.

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Granting a Quality Step Increase (QSI)

The only restrictions on the granting of a QSI are:

  1. 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)).
  2. The recipient must not have received a previous QSI within the preceding 52 weeks (5 USC 5336(a) and 5 CFR 531.505).
  3. 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).
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."

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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

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:

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.

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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:

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.

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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.

Remember to:

  1. Appropriately complete the Counseling Checklist/Support Form
  2. Rate the Individual Objectives
  3. Document the Initial and Mid-Point Counseling
  4. Check that the Rating Period is at least 120 days
  5. Ensure the appraisal form is signed by the Rater, and the Senior Rater, if applicable
  6. Assign the proper Summary Level Rating
  7. Include the EEO/Affirmative Action and Supervision/Leadership Objectives and ratings on supervisory appraisals.

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