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Performance Management Reference Materials

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FAA Measures Employee Performance Based on Results

TRANSFORMATIONS '98 participants had an opportunity to hear Gloria Snowden from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of the Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions (ARA) discuss the implementation of ARA's results-based employee performance management program.

Measure results

By focusing performance measurement on results, the performance management program supports shared responsibility, stresses individual accountability, and drives organizational success. Measuring results also provides an excellent base for rewarding performance.

The core design of ARA's appraisal program requires employee performance plans to:

  • link to organizational goals, and
  • include results-based, measurable expectations that are observable and verifiable.

Results statement(s) must be written for each employee. A result must be an intended product, outcome, accomplishment, or objective for which measures are established.

Ms. Snowden gave session attendees a model for creating results statements, with some examples. ARA results statements include a verb, a "what," and a "how." The "how" portion of the results statement includes the measures. The measures describe in numeric or descriptive terms how the result should be tracked. Measures are written in terms of:

  • quality,
  • quantity,
  • timeliness,
  • cost effectiveness, and/or
  • manner of performance.

For example, a results statement for an office clerk that includes appropriate measures might be:

Verb Maintain
What an organized file system
How by consistently (timeliness)
filing most (quantity)
documents in alphabetical order (quality)
and removing duplicates (cost-effectiveness)

Both the employee and the rating official are responsible for developing the performance plan. If the employee and rating official disagree about a results statement, the second-level manager makes the final determination. The employee or the rating official may request changes to the performance plan during the appraisal period if expectations change.

Evaluate the program

The program was put into effect in October 1997 and the first cycle ended on September 30, 1998. Part of the evaluation of the first cycle includes reviewing two hundred anonymous employee performance plans selected at random. Evaluators will assess the percentage of established expectations and standards that actually measure results.

Even though employee satisfaction data are not available yet, Ms. Snowden was able to share her own opinion of the program. When asked if she would like to return to the generic standards that ARA used previously, she replied, "No way! I use my performance plan now as an everyday working document that I keep pasted to the wall in front of my desk. Now I know exactly what's expected of me and what I have to do to exceed expectations. I like it much better this way!"

Ms. Snowden reminded attendees that change is difficult, but, as the old adage observes: "If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got."

More information about ARA's appraisal program

You may contact Ms. Snowden at 202-267-8884 for more information about ARA's program.

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