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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

  • Ideally, an agency would close out the current appraisal period and issue ratings of record at the time specified under the existing appraisal program and then begin the next appraisal period under the terms of the new program.
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  • If an employee has fewer than three ratings of record during the last four years, the actual rating(s) of record available would serve as the sole basis of the employee's credit (no assumed ratings would be used). Consequently, if an employee has received only two actual ratings of record during this period, the value assigned to each rating would be added together and divided by two to determine the amount of additional retention service credit. If an employee has only one actual rating of record, the value assigned to that rating would be used. If, however, the employee has no ratings of record during the last four years, the modal rating for the appraisal program that covers the employee's position of record at the time of the reduction in force is used to grant performance credit.
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  • The term has no precise definition in policy or practice, but "forced distribution" generally is associated with the idea of limiting awards to a certain number or percentage of employees. Relative comparisons among individuals or groups, such as rank ordering or categorizing employees, can be used for making decisions about distributing awards. For example, agencies may limit awards to the top three producers or teams, or limit awards to those individuals or groups that exceeded certain goals. Agencies can also establish criteria for categories of awards that are given only to a selected number of recipients who best fit the criteria, although the criteria might have been met by more than one person or team.
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  • An agency program must specify the length of its minimum period and that minimum must fall within any limits established by the agency appraisal system.  When an agency decides to use the minimum period as the length of the opportunity period, the minimum period is one of the program features that may be subject to third-party review.  Agencies are advised to be careful in determining the time limits to be used and avoid setting minimum periods that might be judged unreasonably short.
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  • No, the regulations require that agencies look at the situation and make a determination on what, if anything, should be done regarding the credit assigned for ratings of record when there is a mix of rating patterns among the ratings of record being credited for reduction in force. If the agency decides that the best course of action is to still use the 12/16/20 assignment of credit, they may do so.
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  • Yes.  The individual critical element must describe performance that is reasonably measured and controlled at the individual employee's level.  Such performance includes individual contributions to the team, but does not include team performance.
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  • The agency is accountable for ensuring that the referral bonus program does not violate the merit principles or EEO legal requirements including broad public awareness of job openings; recruitment from appropriate sources to seek a work force drawn from all segments of society; and hiring selections based solely on relative ability, knowledge, and skills after a fair and open competition that assures equal opportunity to all candidates.
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  • An agency may not hold an employee accountable for work that does not get done because of an absence for which the employee is on any type of approved leave. If there is a specific performance standard for the appraisal year, it may be prorated for the amount of time the employee was at work.
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  • Yes. OPM regulations require agencies to train rating officials on performance management topics (including developing performance plans, providing feedback, appraising and rewarding performance).
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  • Yes. OPM believes it is possible to develop a critical element and standard that holds a supervisor, manager, or team leader responsible for group performance. The element and standard would have to be crafted carefully so that it identifies measurable achievements that would be expected to result when the individual supervisor, manager, or team leader properly exercises his or her leadership responsibilities.
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