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Frequently Asked Questions Senior Executive Service

  • An Executive Development Plan is a document completed by an executive to plan developmental activities over a period of time.  Developmental activities may include classroom and online training, developmental assignments, action learning, collaborative team projects, and reading.  An EDP template is available on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) website (www.opm.gov/ses), but first check with your agency – your agency may have a specific version for you to use.
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  • The statistically validated ECQs have served as the foundation for selecting and developing Federal executives across Government for over 14 years.  Using the ECQs to appraise and recognize Federal executives will complete a holistic approach for not only selecting and developing Federal executives, but also for appraising, recognizing, and retaining a diverse cadre of high-performing Federal executives.  With the ECQs as a framework, the Federal Government can ensure a performance management system applicable to all executive position responsibilities and performance expectations, as well as maintaining a balanced emphasis on strategic leadership as well as results.
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  • As of January 2012, over 60 SES performance appraisal systems exist throughout the Federal Government.  A broad range of agencies collaborated to design a single SES performance appraisal system applicable to all organizations across the entire Federal Government and to all SES members.  The basic SES appraisal system promotes consistency, clarity, equity, and transferability of performance processes, standards, feedback and ratings throughout Government.  Additionally, the implementation of a basic SES appraisal system will enable a streamlined and more efficient process for SES performance appraisal system approval and certification by OPM.
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  • The scoring ranges are an integral part of the basic SES appraisal system description design and will provide greater consistency and uniformity across Government.  Therefore, the ranges (Level 5 = 500 – 475, Level 4 = 474-400, Level 3 = 399 – 300, Level 2 = 299 – 200) will be standard across the Federal Government for agencies adopting the basic system description.
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  • Agencies will continue to apply their existing pay and awards policies to determine how executive annual summary ratings (and scores) translate into performance-based pay and awards.  The existing principles driving effective executive performance i.e., emphasizing excellence in performance – will continue under the basic system description.
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  • The basic SES performance appraisal system description is adaptable to automation.  Its requirements can be loaded into existing tools, or existing tools can be modified to support the basic system description’s requirements.  Additionally, the performance plan template is available electronically for agency use.
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  • Implementation of the new basic system template does not involve a fixed charge; however, agencies will need to engage in a number of important activities to ensure successful implementation (e.g., marketing, communication and engagement targeting SES members, and required training).  To assist with these efforts, adaptable communication and training tools are being developed for Governmentwide use.  Additionally, an Implementation timeline is being developed to support agency planning for transition to the basic system description.
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  • Yes, a Governmentwide working group will identify training requirements for implementation of this basic SES appraisal system description.  The goal is to ensure agency executives and executive resources staff are trained on the use and implementation of the basic system description before full-scale implementation.  OPM will provide several workshops this spring to support agencies’ transitions to the basic system description.
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  • Agencies must request approval from OPM in order to use additional statistically-validated competencies in their appraisal system.  OPM has approved the use of additional competencies for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.
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  • Each performance element has a minimum required percentage weight, all adding up to a total weight of 100%.  The minimum weight assigned to the “Results-Driven” performance element is 20%.  The minimum weight for each of the other four performance elements is 5%, with no single performance element weighing more than the “Results-Driven” performance element.
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