By William Wiley, February 14, 2018

Let’s say that you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and think that there just must be more than this to holding employees accountable for performance. You want not three levels of ratings, but five. Maybe some of your important tasks are more important than others. What if you’re willing to be more forgiving of an employee, rather than requiring that he perform all the tasks in his position before you will fire him? Can you still use the FELTG Method©?

Sure, you can. You just have to do a little creative tweaking (not “creative twerking”; Deb always corrects me on that one).

More Than Three Levels of Rating.

Let’s say that your agency requires five levels of rating:  Outstanding, Exceeds Successful, Successful, Minimally Successful, and Unacceptable. In addition to the three levels defined above, you can define the two additional levels like this:

First, change the definition above for Outstanding to the definition for Exceeds Successful. Then add the new definition for Outstanding to be:

Outstanding – Performs at the Exceeds Successful level, and in addition develops creative solutions for difficult challenges that arise during the appraisal period.

Then modify the Unacceptable level so that it comports with the Minimally Successful level like this:

Minimally Successful – Performs any single task in a manner inconsistent with the expectation set for the Fully Successful level.

Unacceptable – Performs two or more tasks in a manner inconsistent with the expectations set for the Fully Successful level.

A Desire to Distinguish Among Important Tasks

Let’s say that after you review your list of important tasks, you conclude that although all of them are important, some are REALLY important; more important than the others. If you want to address this, it’s easy. Just sort the tasks into two groups, like this:

Major Tasks

  1. Provides access, as appropriate, to offshore energy and marine mineral resources.
  2. Oversees the environmentally sound development of these resources.
  3. Coordinates the review and analysis of offshore energy and marine mineral lease proposals.

Standard Tasks

  1. Manages the Financial Accountability and-Risk Management Program.
  2. Administers lease adjudication and management functions.
  3. Conducts environmental reviews, analyses, and consultations for proposed activities.

Once that’s done, you can make all sorts of decisions as to what you will accept as satisfactory performance.  Perhaps you want the Successful level to be, “Performs all of the following Major Tasks within established time limits, consistent with accepted practices in the field, and free of any errors in the final product. Performs the following Standard Tasks within established time limits, consistent with accepted practices in the field, and free of any errors in the final product, with no more than two exceptions during the year.” Maybe you decide that you want the Unacceptable – to be, “Performs any Major Task or three Standard Tasks in a manner inconsistent with the expectation set for the Fully Successful level.” You can mix and match Major and Standard Tasks all day long until you get just the right combination of task failures to define your expectations.

Remember our bias here at FELTG. We don’t see a lot of reason to get all wrapped up in distinguishing among the levels of performance above Unacceptable. Yes, there’s a lot of judgment left to the supervisor in the above FELTG-Method©, but there is going to be a lot of judgment any time you rate an employee’s performance (if you doubt that, watch the judging of the figure skating event at the Olympics). So, cut to the chase, focus on the demarcation between Unacceptable and whatever you call the performance level above that, and you’ll be an Accountability Sheriff, protecting the federal workforce from shoddy performers and defending our way of life here in The Greatest Country in the World. Go get ’em. Wiley@FELTG.com

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