DCIPS is the new human capital management
system for the DoD Intelligence Community emphasizing
recognizing employees, developing individuals and rewarding performance.
N AVA L I N T E L L I G E N C E
Performance Management Handbook
The Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System
(DCIPS) is a management system that compensates and
rewards employees based on performance and contribution to
the mission. DCIPS provides flexibility to move more freely
across a range of work opportunities. DCIPS gives the
Department of Defense (DoD) the tools to foster a culture
that values and recognizes talent. The entire DoD
Intelligence Community is using a common performance
management system where each employee is similarly
evaluated and rewarded.
PURPOSE OF THIS HANDBOOK
The DCIPS performance management process is designed to create a
culture in which the performance and contribution of the workforce
are directly linked to mission. Making meaningful distinctions
between levels of performance and rewarding performance according
to those distinctions helps drive performance. Reinforcing effective
behaviors through the performance management process helps the
organization to better – and quicker – adapt to new challenges. This
handbook is designed as a desk-side supplement (and reinforcement
tool) to all DCIPS-related performance management resources such
as classroom training, online videos and tutorials, and other printed
Table of Contents
Understanding Performance Management................................4
Performance Management Terms ............................................5
Performance Management Timeframes...................................13
Roles And Responsibilities.......................................................14
Writing Performance Objectives...............................................17
Creating An Individual Development Plan................................25
Monitoring Performance ..........................................................30
Preparing The Self-Assessment..............................................34
Graphic Element Description
Calls attention to information or
requirements for supervisors
Identifies useful tools, tips and
Highlights contact information
Performance management is the process of planning,
setting, aligning and communicating individual and
organizational performance expectations to employees.
It involves continuously monitoring and managing employees’
performance, providing performance feedback on a regular
basis, taking appropriate steps to improve employee
performance and addressing poor performance immediately.
Performance management also includes accurately
rating and rewarding employee performance to reflect
the accomplishment of individual and organizational
goals and objectives. At the end of the performance cycle,
compensation determinations, career opportunities and other
rewards are all based on individual, team and organizational
Performance management encompasses far more than
any single process, such as the performance appraisal.
Performance management must be a priority for all executives,
managers, supervisors and employees in order for it, and
subsequently DCIPS, to be successful.
Individual Development Plan (IDP) — a document
jointly prepared by the supervisor and employee as part of the
annual performance planning process that outlines
development objectives for the employee. IDPs may include
training, education, individual coaching, work assignments or
other activities designed to improve the employee’s capability
within his or her career field.
Midpoint Performance Review — a review of an
employee’s progress, completed by the rating official (and the
employee) at or near the midpoint of the appraisal cycle,
toward achieving the performance objectives.
Performance Appraisal — the written, or otherwise
recorded, evaluation of performance and accomplishments
rated against DCIPS performance elements and objectives.
Performance appraisals are required at the end of every rating
cycle or change of rating official.
Performance Elements — a list of behaviors that describe
how the work is performed by the employee. Performance
elements are also standardized throughout the Department of
Defense Intelligence Community (IC).
Performance Objectives — a set of three to six SMART
performance goals that describe what the employee is
expected to accomplish throughout the performance cycle.
Performance Review Authority (PRA) — a senior
executive or board of executives within the chain of command
who provides oversight of the rating and pay pool processes.
Rating Of Record — the summary performance rating,
derived from the employee’s ratings on his or her performance
elements and performance objectives, assigned during the
annual appraisal of employee performance that is used for
official purposes, including decisions on pay increases as part
of the annual pay decision process under DCIPS. The rating
of record constitutes the “official rating of record.”
Rating Official — the official in an employee’s chain of
command (generally the 1st line supervisor) responsible for
effectively managing the performance of assigned employees.
Reviewing Official — an authority in the rating official’s
direct chain of command (generally the 2nd line supervisor)
established by the Component to asses supervisors’
preliminary performance ratings for consistency and
adherence to standards for rating performance.
SMART Framework — allows employees to write clear,
concise, measurable statements (Performance Objectives) that
describe the specifics of what the employee plans to
accomplish. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable,
Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Supplemental Review — a narrative description of an
employee’s responsibilities and accomplishments, prepared by
a Reviewing Official during an employee’s temporary
assignment, deployment, or for periods of 30-89 days.
Work Category— broadly describes the work an employee
performs Supervisory/ Management, Professional or
Work Levels — describes the complexity and scope of work
an employee performs: Entry Level/Developmental, Full
Performance, Senior and Expert.
DCIPS has three core goals in establishing its performance
Accountability: Hold managers/supervisors
accountable for properly managing their employees,
and hold employees accountable for achieving results.
Flexibility: Create a process that is flexible enough
to meet the needs of the workforce.
Results: Drive individual and organizational
performance towards the accomplishment of the
Performance management is a cyclical and ongoing process
comprising three distinct phases: (1) Plan, (2) Manage, (3)
Evaluate. Within the phases, there are five primary activities
that transpire during the performance management cycle. A
description of the phases is presented next, followed by a
synopsis of each of the five primary activities: (1) Plan (2)
Monitor (3) Develop (4) Rate (5) Reward.
Phase 1: Plan Performance
Activity 1: Plan — In the planning phase, employees
collaborate with their managers to develop three to six
performance objectives and an Individual Development Plan
(IDP) that outlines their developmental goals for the
performance appraisal cycle. Employees and their supervisors
also discuss performance elements and how they relate to their
Phase 2: Manage Performance
The managing phase consists of the monitor and development
activities. During this phase, employees engage in frequent
performance discussions with the individual responsible for
their performance appraisal, usually their supervisor.
Employees also complete a self assessment of their
performance at the midpoint of the appraisal cycle, and they
receive a formal midpoint review from their supervisor.
Throughout the year, employees and supervisors should
The discuss performance. In fact, it is a good idea to keep a record
Performance of accomplishments to discuss throughout the cycle.
Activity 2: Monitor — Monitoring employee performance
throughout the performance year is a responsibility for both
the employee and the supervisor. The midpoint review
process is a good opportunity for both employees and
Discuss progress towards achieving performance
objectives and to identify ways to succeed in achieving
Verify the performance objectives are still appropriate.
Modify performance objectives if work priorities have
changed since the start of the year.
At the midpoint of the performance cycle, the following
actions take place:
Employees assess their accomplishments against each
performance objective and performance element to
Raters provide their assessment of employee
performance for each performance objective and
Raters specifically address areas where the employee
needs improvement and documents areas for
Activity 3: Develop — Developing and enhancing skills is a
critical component to employee success. Employees should:
Review their IDP to identify if there are additional
areas they would like to develop.
Discuss additional training and development
opportunities with their supervisor that may be
available and how these opportunities would enhance
their skills and their value to the organization.
Discuss mentoring and coaching programs and
professional and technical development opportunities.
Phase 3: Evaluate Performance
Management During the evaluating phase, employees complete a self
Cycle assessment, are rated on their performance and receive an
Overall Performance Rating.
Activity 4: Rate — Rating activity begins at the end of the
appraisal cycle. Supervisors rate employee performance based
on what the employee accomplished and how they
Activity 5: Reward — Rewarding employee performance is
the final step in the performance management cycle and
enables organizations to recognize and reward individual and
team accomplishment. During this phase, employees receive
salary increases and bonuses based on their performance
rating. Proposed salary increases and bonus decisions are
reviewed at several levels of the organization to ensure
consistent standards were applied in an equitable manner.
The table below provides timeframes and the associated
actions of DCIPS performance management. The
performance cycle may not be a calendar year but can begin
when the employee begins a new assignment or project. The
FY performance management cycle runs from 1 October – 31
The following table offers a snapshot of the roles and responsibilities of the four key participants in
the Performance Management Cycle.
Employee Rating Reviewing PR
Phase 1: Plan Performance
• Collaborate with • Define • Approve • Not A
the rating official employee roles employee
(usually their and performance
supervisor) to responsibilities objectives and
develop 3 – 6 • Collaborate with Individual
relevant the employee to Development
performance develop 3 – 6 Plan
objectives and relevant
Development objectives and
• Provide Development
perspective and Plan
input on • Communicate
• Be fully mission
Phase 2: Manage Performance
• Maintain • Document • Ensure Rating • Not A
personal achievements Officials provide
records of • Engage employees
achievement employee in feedback and
• Complete ongoing have completed
midpoint self performance a midpoint
assessment feedback review
• Engage rating discussions
official in • Provide
ongoing employee with a
performance midpoint review
Phase 3: Evaluate Performance
• Complete final • Complete • Review and • Revie
self assessment employee approve empl
• Provide input on Rating of employee Ratin
accomplishment Record Rating of Reco
(performance Record consi
appraisal) (performance • Retur
• Discuss final appraisal) scope
performance • Ensure Revie
feedback consistency Offici
between and secon
among rating • Reso
Performance Objectives – “What” you do
During the planning phase of the performance management
cycle, employees and their supervisors identify three to six
SMART (more on this to come) performance objectives. In
preparing performance objectives, they should review the
employee’s job duties and responsibilities in their position
description (PD) as well as goals and objectives.
For instance, a major duty on the PD might be to: apply
analytical knowledge and skills to perform collection
strategy related tasks. An objective relevant to that job
duty could be to: develop one data repository by the end
of the fiscal year that facilitates the evaluation of counter
proliferation collection initiatives and capabilities.
As appropriate, performance objectives should support and
align with the mission and goals of the National Intelligence
Strategy, Under Secretary for Defense (Intelligence) Strategy,
organizational strategic plan, and other appropriate measures
By cascading an employee’s performance objectives from the
higher-level objectives, employees should be able to draw a
“line of sight” between their individual performance and
organizational success. An explicit alignment allows them to
see the connection between their daily activities and
Guidelines for Writing SMART Performance
Performance Writing performance objectives is a collaborative effort
Objectives between a supervisor and employee. Effective objectives:
Focus on Results – Performance objectives define
the outcomes employees are expected to achieve by
the end of the performance cycle.
Align with Organization – Performance objectives
must make sense in the context of the organization.
Individual objectives must align with the
organization’s mission and goals.
Serve as an Appraisal/Management Tool –
Performance objectives serve as a basis to assess
accomplishments and should describe observable or
Well-written performance objectives enable continuous
evaluation by monitoring progress, resources, and effort while
allowing for corrections on the path to accomplishment.
What should be considered when writing a performance
Think about the work to be performed and ask the following
Is the objective mission-focused and results-oriented?
Is the objective specific?
Is a quantity identified?
Is quality a consideration?
Is the objective realistic?
Can the objective be accomplished within the period
What performance elements (see next section) are
important while accomplishing objectives?
Is the objective appropriate to the employee’s work
Objectives After considering the questions above in preparing
performance objectives, employees and their supervisors rely
on the SMART framework to help them write clear, concise,
measurable statements that describe the specifics of what the
employee plans to accomplish:
Specific describes an observable action, behavior, or
Measurable (or observable or verifiable) describes a
method or procedure to assess and record the quality,
quantity or time to produce the outcomes.
Achievable examines capacity and conditions
required to accomplish an objective.
Relevant means that performance objectives are
connected organizational goals (“line of sight).
Time-bound describes the performance objective
start and end points.
Sample SMART Performance Objectives
1. Provide accurate, timely customer service
Upon receipt of requests, provide accurate responses in the agreed-upon
timeframes, as defined by ICD 24.8, using the appropriate format identified in
SOP25 during the evaluation cycle ending September 30, 2009. This supports the
organization’s commitment to be responsive to customers and clients. Meet
suspenses 90% of the time. Provide accurate responses with no more than 2 errors
2. Provide relevant, timely, all-source intelligence reporting Specific
Performance analysis of effects of UN-imposed sanctions on Iraqi industrial sector and
Objectives results in appropriately coordinated intelligence report for release to policy-
making community by 31 August. Product will reflect engagement with other analysts
and stakeholders and incorporate their coordinated views. The completed product will
make use of available intelligence from at least 90% of relevant sources as dictated by
ICD 203.2 and reflect engagement with other stakeholders in the subject of the analysis
Time-Bound Relevant Achievable
Employees and supervisors may work together to change
performance objectives during the course of the performance
cycle. In a dynamic environment, one strategy may be to write
three to four objectives covering the first part of the
performance cycle and update the performance objectives
during the midpoint review.
If an employee is on a new assignment or a temporary
assignment anticipated to last for a period of 90 days or more,
the employee needs to work with his/her new direct
supervisor to establish a new set of performance objectives.
Employees must have a minimum of 90 days to work against
an objective during the rating period.
Performance Planning Meeting
Supervisors — are required to meet with employees within
30 days of the beginning of their appraisal cycle, or upon
arriving in a new assignment:
Review performance elements of employee for
particular work level.
Employees — prepare for the performance planning meeting
Creating a list of recurring tasks, major projects and
Draft goals or accomplishments for the upcoming
performance cycle and set dates for achieving those
Performance Elements – “How” you do it
Performance elements are attributes and behaviors
significant to the accomplishment of performance objectives;
they explain how the performance objectives should be
accomplished. There are six performance elements; four of
which are the same for both employees and
managers/supervisors. These elements are consistent across
the Intelligence Community (IC) for non-supervisory
employees and supervisory employees. During the planning
phase, employees should also consider these performance
elements in developing their Individual Development Plans
Accountability for Results • Accountability for Results
Communication • Communication
Critical Thinking • Critical Thinking
Engagement and Collaboration • Engagement and Collaboration
Technical Expertise • Leadership and Integrity
Personal Leadership and IntegrityManagerial Proficiency
The chart below defines each performance element for
employees and supervisors within the Department of Defense
Performance Intelligence Community:
Performance For All
Element * Employees
Accountability for Results Take responsibility for work. Organize and utiliz
and resources efficiently and effectively.
Communication Effectively comprehend and convey information
Critical Thinking Use logic, analysis, synthesis, creativity, judgm
systematic approaches to complete their work.
Engagement and Recognize, value, build and leverage collabora
Collaboration constructive networks.
Performance Non-Supervisory Superviso
Element * Employees Employee
Personal Leadership and Demonstrate personal Create a shared vi
Integrity or Leadership initiative, honesty, mission, establish
and Integrity openness, and respect. equal opportunity
environment, and m
recognize, and rew
Technical Expertise or Acquire and apply Possess the techn
Managerial Proficiency knowledge, subject matter proficiency in their
expertise, tradecraft, area appropriate to
* Each Performance Element consists of several sub-elements with
baseline definitions of what constitutes successful and outstanding
for each work level and work category. For instance, successfully
meeting the sub-element for Accountability for Results for Pay Band
2 is to: work toward goals and outcomes defined by senior staff or
supervisors. For Pay Band 3, successfully meeting that same sub-
element is to: define goals and outcomes of work assignments.
Reviewing skills helps employees gain a better understanding of
what it takes to perform at a “Successful” level.
What is an IDP?
The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an action plan that
specifies development goals which can enhance individual
skills, performance and success. IDPs can help employees
plan out, and manage, the steps needed to take to develop
skills and advance their career.
When is an IDP completed?
The IDP is completed during the first 30 days of the
performance cycle. Employees are required to discuss
development and career goals with their supervisor during the
performance planning process and review again at midpoint
Creating an IDP
Consider the following questions when developing an IDP:
What training courses, deployment options, or other
opportunities are available?
Are all of an employee’s skills and capabilities being
utilized? If not, how he/she work with their
supervisor to better utilize their skills?
What are the employee’s long-term plans? What type
of work do they want to do in 2 years or 5 years?
How are they preparing for this future work?
What are the specific tasks or additional
responsibilities that can be sought out to meet the
development goals for the coming year?
Based on a review of the
requirements/accomplishments for the job, where
does the employee need more experience and/or
What can be included in an IDP?
An IDP Learning opportunities.
Developing/gaining additional technical skills.
Engaging in career development activities and
Participating in experiences outside specialty areas
through rotations in other departments or
Contributing to the needs of the organization and
Discussing career progression with management.
Participating in a mentoring program.
When are IDPs reviewed?
Rating officials should formally discuss an employee’s IDP at
the mid-point review and end-of-cycle evaluation, as well as
informally throughout the performance cycle. If the rating
official does not mention the IDP during these two formal
meetings, the employee should broach the topic.
• Performance Planning: the rating official and the
employee discuss developmental goals for the year.
• Midpoint Review: the rating official and the
employee address progress made against the IDP.
• Final Evaluation: the rating official and the
employee jointly review progress against the IDP as
part of the ongoing dialogue.
Monitoring performance is an ongoing effort throughout the
performance cycle. Both employees and supervisors are
involved in the monitoring phase.
Supervisors should consider the following questions when
preparing for feedback discussions:
Were periodic reviews with my employee to review performance during
the appraisal cycle held?
Were periodic meetings with the reviewing official to update him/her on
employee’s performance held?
Has feedback and — if necessary —revised performance objectives
been provided in consultation with the employee?
What is the employee’s performance to date?
Has the employee been notified of specific areas of improvement and
given suggestions on how to improve?
Has the documentation of instances of exceptional or unsatisfactory
performance been done? Is the documentation accurate, consistent,
and focused on employee job performance rather than personality?
Employees can use the STAR framework to concisely
capture their accomplishments.
Situation. What was the situation faced?
Task. What was the overall task in that situation?
Action. What specific action was taken?
Result. What result did the action produce?
Rating officials are required to provide employees with a
midpoint review 180 days (or at the midpoint of an extended/
truncated cycle) into the performance management cycle.
Rating officials are encouraged to use the employee’s midterm
input as part of discussion. To get the most out of the
midpoint performance review, supervisors should apply the
following guidelines when preparing for, and meeting with
Last year’s reviews – If previous comments or disciplinary acts are still
applicable, they should be identified and discussed.
Ongoing feedback – Revisit the feedback given and determine if the
employee has acted on it.
Honest assessment – The only way an employee knows they are doing a
good job is if they receive honest feedback and encouragement.
Performance focus – Supervisors must rate employee based on observed
facts, not abstract conclusions or assumptions based on personality.
Employees are highly encouraged to contribute to the
midpoint review by assessing their progress. The midpoint
review is an appropriate time for employees to review
performance objectives set at the beginning of the cycle, as
well as goals set in the IDP. In addition, employees should
also consider how they are performing by reviewing
performance elements for their level. Employees should
consider the following issues:
Mid-year accomplishments and how they correlate to goals in the IDP.
Any job-related barriers/obstacles that prevent doing the job.
Possible add-on responsibilities to take on that help career development.
Upcoming training opportunities that align to IDP goals.
The midpoint review is also an opportunity for the employee
and rater to identify – and discuss – any potential differences
they may have regarding the employee’s progress to date.
Employees prepare their self-assessment at the end of the
performance cycle. This enables employees to provide their
supervisor/rater with a written statement, in their own words,
of their accomplishments related to their established
performance objectives. It also facilitates a review of
performance during discussion about a performance rating. It
is helpful to consider the following questions:
What were the major accomplishments during this
performance cycle? (Systematically tracking
accomplishments throughout the performance cycle
in a spreadsheet, table, or a list is helpful).
How did the accomplishments support the
What was the impact of accomplishments on the
When writing the self assessment, support each
accomplishment by not merely repeating the performance
objective, but citing specific examples of behavior to clearly
support the assigned rating:
Identify noteworthy products, activities, events, or
relationships where the employee played a significant
role or impact.
Consider the situation and circumstances faced—what
was the challenge or most significant problem to
overcome? What were the limitations, complexities, or
Describe the role or actions taken to address the
challenge or expectation faced—what input was used
(e.g., programs, documents, databases)? What actions
were taken—what was specifically done? What output
Support the impact of each accomplishment by describing not
only what was done, but how well it was done:
Detail the result or outcome of accomplishments
either qualitatively or quantitatively, e.g., what benefit
was achieved (e.g., customer satisfaction)? What cost
was reduced (e.g., program or process improvement)?
In what timeframe was each accomplished?
Align accomplishment with relevant strategic
As depicted below, performance appraisals include:
Performance Objectives — Three to six SMART
objectives unique to each employee that describe what
is expected of them.
Performance Elements — Standard behavioral
descriptors that describe how one is to successfully
perform their job.
The overall rating on the performance appraisal is calculated as
an average of the performance objective rating and the
performance element rating.
How To Rate
Employees are rated on each of their performance objectives
and each of the six performance elements. The table below
describes the performance level that should be demonstrated
for the objectives and elements.
Performance Performance Objective Performance E
Rating Descriptions Descriptio
Outstanding (5) The employee far exceeded The employee perfo
expected results on the objective, key behaviors at an
such that organizational goals were exemplary level on
achieved that otherwise would not element.
Excellent (4) The employee surpassed expected The employee dem
results in a substantial manner on mastery-level perfo
the objective. the key behaviors o
Successful (3) The employee achieved expected The employee fully
results on the assigned objective. demonstrated effec
behaviors for the pe
Minimally The employee only partially The employee’s pe
Successful (2) achieved expected results on the requires improveme
performance objective. or more of the key b
for the objective.
Unacceptable (1) The employee failed to achieve The employee faile
expected results in one or more adequately demons
assigned performance objectives. behaviors for the pe
Not Rated (NR) Not Rated. Employee did not have “Not rated” is not us
the opportunity to complete the performance eleme
objective due to changing mission
requirements, or because of
Preparing for the Evaluation
How To Rate
Performance To be effective in conducting meaningful performance
Objectives reviews, rating officials must recognize any bias tendencies and
And take steps to compensate for them. These types of errors can
Performance occur both consciously and sub-consciously—that is, a rater
Elements may not even realize that he/she is providing erroneous
ratings. One of the best ways to avoid making these types of
rating errors is simply to know they exist.
Common Rating Errors How To Avoid The Er
Every one dis/likes me —ratings based on a Evaluate performance on each
global impression (either positive or negative) of element independently from o
the individual rather than on an individual’s objectives/elements.
performance relative to each performance
Early on—ratings based only on positive or Try keeping notes on an indivi
negative performance early in the performance performance throughout the cy
cycle rather than on performance exhibited a particular individual’s full per
throughout the cycle. can be recalled more easily at
Later on—ratings based only on positive or
negative performance toward the end of the
performance cycle rather than on performance
exhibited throughout the cycle.
Overemphasis on positive or negative Because all of an individual’s a
performance—relying too heavily on either the the job are important, be sure
positive or negative aspects of an individual’s both positive and negative per
performance when assigning ratings rather than from the entire performance cy
considering both aspects equally.
Similar/different from me—assigning higher Make a conscious effort to ign
or lower ratings for an individual based on similarities or differences with
certain qualities or characteristics of him/her individuals.
that are similar to or different from the rater.
Stereotyping—basing ratings of an individual Be aware of the stereotypes a
on his/her group membership (e.g., ethnicity, different groups, and make a c
gender, religion) rather than on his/her effort to ignore these stereotyp
performance. assigning performance ratings
Common Rating Errors How To Avoid The Er
Contrasting—basing ratings of an individual on Interpret and apply performan
a comparison of that individual to others objectives/elements specificall
previously rated rather than on the performance consistently to ensure that diffe
objectives/elements. ratings reflect difference in per
How To Rate
Performance Central tendency—giving average ratings to Since the purpose of conducti
Objectives all individuals, despite differences in their performance appraisals is to a
And performance. reflect and differentiate an indi
performance through ratings, s
Performance provide fair and accurate ratin
Severity—giving low ratings to all individuals,
Elements despite differences in their performance.
Leniency—giving high ratings to all individuals,
despite differences in their performance.
When evaluating employees, rating officials should
consider the following:
Don’t permit friendship with any
Effective Evaluation employee to influence the
Do revisit any feedback to Don’t make quick guesses
determine if the employee has regarding an employee’s
acted on it. performance.
Do give employees honest Don’t jump to conclusions or
encouragement and criticism. base judgments of an individual
on one instance of behavior.
Do rate employees based on
observed facts, not abstract Don’t let first impressions
conclusions or assumptions based influence later judgments of an
on personality. employee.
Don’t let personal references,
prejudices, and biases influence
Use the chart below to help assess and resolve performance
How To Rate issues. If the employee falls below the “Successful” level, and a
Performance performance improvement plan is put into place, the rating
Objectives official should contact the Civilian Intelligence Personnel
And Office (CIPO) for guidance.
Performance Problem Analysis Tool
Source Physical Emotional Intellectual
Personnel Does the employee Does the employee Does the
have the ability to care about the work employee have
perform the being performed? the adequate skills
requirements? and knowledge to
perform the task?
Environment Is the employee Does the employee Have all the
missing any view the incentives procedures been
resources? system as fair? communicated to
Information Are task Does the employee Is the information
requirements clearly understand the flowing to the
defined? relationship between employee in a
her/his performance timely and/or
and the mission of the effective manner?
Performance feedback should be an ongoing process
throughout the performance cycle. Feedback can be given
informally —“You did a great job on that presentation just now. I was
really impressed by your technical knowledge and presentation style.”
Feedback is also formally given twice a year at during the
midpoint review and final appraisal processes.
PREPARING FOR A FEEDBACK SESSION
Because providing and receiving feedback can be stressful for
some people, it is important that both employees and
supervisors are prepared. Feedback sessions are an
opportunity for employees and supervisors to exchange
information about employee performance -- both positive and
developmental. Consider the following when preparing for a
Key strengths, achievements, and developmental
Strategies for improving in development areas.
Any issues or concerns with job/work in general.
Job/career options to pursue given employee’s skills,
interests, and career goals.
How supervisor can help with employee performance
and career progress.
CONDUCTING A FEEDBACK REVIEW
As a supervisor, it is important to set aside a designated time
for holding employee feedback sessions without other
interruptions, such as answering phone calls or allowing drop-
by visits. Let employees know that providing feedback is part
of the job as a supervisor and also an opportunity for
employees to communicate their achievements and concerns.
Consider the following when holding a feedback session:
Two-way dialogue between supervisor and employee:
• Session is NOT a negotiation about ratings.
Recognize positive performance:
• Provide specific behavioral examples.
Discuss any performance issues:
• NOT a first notice of poor performance or
time for discipline.
• Provide specific, behavioral examples.
• Discuss developmental areas, strategies for
improvement, and long-term goals as
If possible, review IDP and/or next year’s
Effective feedback allows the receiver to walk away
understanding EXACTLY what he or she did and the impact
it had on the employee and/or the situation. The more
specific, direct and timely in providing feedback, the more
likely it is that the person receiving the feedback is motivated
to change. When entering performance conversations with
employees, rating officials should:
Put the employee at ease, tailoring the approach to the
Give their perspective on each performance objective
and performance element.
Ask the employee for her/his performance on the
performance objectives and performance elements.
Ask the employee how to help them do a better job.
Keep notes on agreed upon support, and set up a
method for periodically reviewing employee’s
Here are some tips for providing effective feedback:
Feedback Keep feedback constructive. Be specific and
objective. Use facts to support the feedback, rather
than generalizations about the employee’s character or
attitude. When possible, offer support and training to
correct these problem areas.
Focus on professional development. Performance
reviews are an excellent time to discuss opportunities
for an employee’s growth in his/her current position.
Look ahead and develop mutually agreeable
goals for the next performance cycle. Make these
goals measurable and designate timelines for each.
Communicate and assess progress toward goals
regularly. Periodic tracking of progress toward goals
helps keep behavior on target and enhances the
employee’s commitment to effective performance.
Below are some additional tips for providing effective
Do be specific when describing Don’t be vague.
Don’t use accusations.
Do be specific when describing
Don’t judge the person.
Don’t pass along vague feedback
Do acknowledge the personal
Don’t give advice unless asked.
Do judge the behavior.
Do pay attention to body
language. Don’t qualify feedback by
Do use verbatim quotes.
Don’t generalize with words like
Do recreate the behavior, if
“always” or “never.”
Don’t label feedback in advance.
Do give feedback in a timely
manner. Don’t sandwich feedback
messages with words like “but.”
Do give feedback, check for
understanding, and then STOP.
Do say “I felt” or “I was” to frame
the impact statement.
Do focus on a single message.
Do be sensitive to feedback’s
The act of receiving feedback requires careful listening,
consideration and evaluation to do something positive with it.
Receiving critical performance feedback can sometimes be
difficult to hear. However, listening to valid critical feedback is
important to help us learn from our mistakes and make
adjustments in our performance and behavior. As an
employee, here are some tips for receiving critical feedback:
Thank the supervisor for bringing the problem out in
Paraphrase the performance issue described by the
Request specific feedback.
Accept the feedback as valid but do not fall into
exaggerated put-downs and negative self-talk.
Avoid too much apologizing or overcompensating for
Ask the supervisor to provide potential solutions to
help resolve the problem, instead of dwelling on