12.1 Purpose of Performance Appraisals
Appraising performance is a key step in the performance management cycle and is an important tool used by high performing organizations in meeting performance expectations and setting performance goals. The annual performance appraisal is designed to serve as an assessment tool to formally appraise employees’ performance from the past performance year and to set clear and specific goals for the upcoming performance year.
Every supervisor should set clear expectations with their employees and honestly and constructively evaluate their employees’ performance on a regular basis. This evaluation should be based on specific, objective, job-related behaviors related to the County’s Capability Model and behavioral examples. The Capability Model and behavioral examples should be discussed with all employees as expectations are set, and performance is regularly appraised. As part of the annual performance appraisal system, supervisors must formally document their performance evaluation for the performance period and discuss the evaluation with the employee. Agency heads shall be responsible for ensuring each employee in his agency is evaluated at least annually using the County’s performance appraisal system.
There are several types of formal appraisals in the performance appraisal system that should or can be used as needed, depending on various circumstances as noted below:
- Annual— Formal evaluation of performance covering a defined period of time (usually approximately a year). This formal process is initiated and defined by the Department of Human Resources annually.
- Extended—When there are significant performance issues, used to lengthen an evaluation period until a later date.
- Interim— Can be used at any point during an evaluation period to formalize the appraisal of performance.
- Probationary—Used to appraise performance during the probationary period for a new hire in any position.
The County Manager, in his sole discretion, determines eligibility for pay increases. In most cases, employees must receive an acceptable or better rating on their annual performance appraisal to be eligible for an increase in pay. Employees hired after April 30 may not be eligible for a pay increase in the next fiscal year.
The formal appraisal is complete only when 1) the supervisory chain of command (as defined by the Department of Human Resources in the initiation of the formal annual process) has approved it, and 2) the employee has reviewed the appraisal, had the opportunity to make any comments about the appraisal, and has had a face-to-face meeting with their supervisor regarding the appraisal. The employee’s completion of the electronic performance appraisal process indicates that the employee has read and discussed the appraisal and had the opportunity to comment. The employee does not need to agree with the appraisal, however the employee does need to complete the process electronically. Employees may include comments within the appraisal itself or in a memorandum attached to the appraisal.
If an employee is having performance problems, the supervisor/manager should alert him of such difficulties and discuss ways for improvement. This counseling/coaching is not considered disciplinary, but merely is a means to advise an employee of a performance problem so that it may be corrected.
- If an employee receives a “2-Needs Improvement” or a “1-Unacceptable” rating on any performance appraisal, it shall be accompanied by an action plan. The employee’s immediate supervisor will collaborate with the Employee Relations Division of the Department of Human Resources in developing the action plan. The performance appraisal may also be extended with the expectation that acceptable or better performance will be realized.
- Probationary Employees: All new employees serving a probationary period are considered to be in a learning capacity. During the probationary period, supervisors/managers should take special notice of progress made in learning duties and responsibilities of the position. Interim evaluations may be used. The probationary evaluation of the employee should be completed thirty days prior to the end of the probationary period.An employee may be discharged at any time, with or without cause, during the probationary period. Prior to dismissing a probationary employee, the agency head shall discuss with the Director of Human Resources or his designee the proposed dismissal and the reason for the proposed dismissal.If the employee’s performance during the probationary period is less than acceptable, the probationary period may be extended by the agency head, with the approval of the Director of Human Resources. Such an extension is typically granted only when there is a reasonable expectation that the additional period will result in acceptable or better performance. Request for an extension of the probationary period should be done in writing and should occur at least 30 days prior to the end of the original probationary period.
- Non‐Probationary Employees: Even with the required acceptable probationary period behind them, some employees will occasionally fail to meet or sustain acceptable standards of performance and behavior. Protracted less than acceptable performance may be cause for dismissal. If the supervisor determines, with the agency head’s support, that the employee is not performing at an acceptable or better level or not making sufficient progress on an action plan, the employee may be dismissed. Prior to dismissing an employee, the agency head will discuss with the Director of Human Resources the proposed dismissal and the reason for the proposed dismissal.