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DoD hashing out new civilian performance appraisal system

Aug. 4, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
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The Defense Department is working on a new performance appraisal system for its 750,000 employees as part of a congressional mandate to overhaul its workforce policies. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Defense Department is working on a new performance appraisal system for its 750,000 employees as part of a congressional mandate to overhaul its workforce policies.

The new system will consist of three tiers—workers will be rated as unsuccessful, successful or superior—and will be uniform across almost all of DoD. The appraisals will be closely tied in to specific component missions and will figure into performance awards such as bonuses.

Congress ordered the Defense Department in the 2010 Defense Authorization Act to review its current appraisal system and craft a new one that is “fair, credible and transparent.” DoD gave an update on its development of the system on July 31.

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Nate Christensen, DoD spokesman, said the new system will be fair, credible and transparent, and will better link bonuses to employee performance.

“We believe that such a program is critical to effective mission accomplishment as well as increased employee engagement, morale and effectiveness,” Christensen said.

The Defense Department does not yet have a timeline to implement the new system, but anticipates a phased approach.

Employees will also have a uniform appraisal period across the agency—from April 1 to March 31—to smooth transitions between components and to make it easier for managers and employees alike to keep track of the appraisal cycle.

But the Defense Department has also included employee groups to help craft a system that allows employees and managers to communicate throughout the year on their appraisal instead of just one at the end of the year.

“The new performance appraisal program will emphasize and promote timely recognition and reward of employee contributions throughout the rating cycle,” Christensen said.

The new system will also provide extensive training to front-line supervisors and managers, as well as HR professionals and federal employees, according to Pete Randazzo, a representative of the National Federation of Federal Employees who is part of the team working with DoD on the system.

He said DoD has engaged in a collaborative effort with employee groups to make sure the new system took into account employee feedback and concerns.

The new system will also emphasize mentoring and coaching opportunities to help develop employee skill sets, especially for those promoted into supervisory roles, he said.

“This has been a very collaborative effort. The process has been unprecedented to me,” Randazzo said.

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