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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

Performance Appraisal - Programs

  • Governmentwide regulations do not specify a minimum amount of time a supervisor must be on the job before he/she may rate an employee.  Agency performance appraisal programs may require a minimum amount of time the supervisor must be on the job before rating an employee.
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  • An appraisal system describes the general policies and parameters for the administration of performance appraisal programs in the agency. An appraisal program is the specific procedures, methods, and requirements for planning, monitoring, and rating performance. Programs have to be designed within the boundaries of the system but can be tailored to the needs of the organization.
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  • Governmentwide performance management regulations do not specifically designate who has the authority to assign a rating of record.  The agency will determine who has this authority.
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  • No. Each program must use a single pattern of summary levels. To use different summary patterns, agencies must define separate programs and employee coverage to which a single pattern applies. However, more than one program can use the same summary pattern.
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  • Yes. Agencies can authorize the development of separate appraisal programs under the framework of their appraisal system. This would allow their various subcomponents or subpopulations to determine how best to address their needs and cultures and more effectively manage individual and organizational performance by tailoring specific appraisal procedures and requirements to mission and work technology.
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  • Yes.  Governmentwide regulations define a rating of record as the performance rating completed at the end of the appraisal period that reflects performance over the entire period, or an off-cycle rating of record given when a within-grade increase (WGI) decision is not consistent with the employee's most recent rating of record and a more current rating of record must be prepared.  These are the only times that a rating of record can be issued.
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  • No.  Both a performance rating and a rating of record involve the evaluation of an employee's performance against all the elements and standards in the performance plan.  At any time during the appraisal period, an agency can make the determination that an employee's performance is unacceptable on one or more critical elements.  This determination is sufficient to begin the process that could lead to a performance-based action if the employee's performance fails to improve to an acceptable level.
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  • The minimum period is the shortest length of time established by the agency that an employee must perform under assigned elements and standards before a performance rating can be prepared.  The appraisal period is length of time designated by the agency (usually one year) that is the basis for the rating of record.
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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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  • Agencies are encouraged to involve employees in the design and implementation of their appraisal programs, award programs, and employee performance plans.  Of course, where a union has been granted exclusive recognition, such involvement for bargaining unit employees must be through their elected union representatives.
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