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Jenn Lemmon
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Making the most of your performance review

Hi everyone,

When the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup recently, hockey fans saw how excellent individual performance can contribute to tremendous results for an entire organization. The Caps had trouble in the offseason before, so individual players had to face their shortcomings head on to make it to the next level. Players who had stumbled before dug deep to overcome obstacles, and as a team they strategized together to win.

A lot of people go into performance evaluation time once or twice a year with a wince, hoping to hear the best, and maybe prepared for something worse. Instead, what they often get is a quick pat on the back and little constructive feedback. That’s not what any of us deserve.

Everyone deserves honest verbal and written feedback about what they’re doing well and where they need to improve. It shouldn’t be viewed as a negative thing. And ideally, feedback should be continuous – none of us should be surprised by anything we hear during our performance review.

As we enter this period where year-end performance evaluations are due, let’s take the time to do it well.

When you’re expecting a review, take the time to write a self-assessment to remind your manager of the goals you’ve met in the past year. And just as important, think about what you want to achieve next and ask your manager what skills or experiences you would need to grow.

This is a two-way conversation. Be vocal about asking for what you need to not only be fully successful, but to exceed expectations. This is important because as an agency, we want to be sure that a rating above fully successful is reserved for someone who truly exceeds expectations in the Valuing Performance system. Higher ratings may be harder to achieve, so talk to your manager and think about ways you can stand out. Although our employees in the Performance Management System do not receive these qualitative ratings, I know all of our employees want to excel, and enhance career progression opportunities as well.

Evaluations of managers will now include a critical element that holds them accountable for how they communicate expectations about performance and conduct.

Poor performance hurts not only the individual, but their co-workers, the agency and the operation. So let’s encourage one another to strive for high levels of achievement and course correct when we see behaviors that can be damaging.

Having a written record of feedback helps all of us understand our performance and focus on growth. And our personal development also helps us deliver better service to our stakeholders, maintain our enviable safety record, and inform our succession planning efforts.

Final ratings for employees covered in the Valuing Performance system are due Oct. 21, and for Performance Management System bargaining unit employees on Oct. 30. More information is available here.

I also want to remind you all to make sure you’re up to date on your required eLMS classes, including the required No FEAR class, which focuses on whistleblower protections. Be sure to take advantage of this helpful instruction soon.

Thanks, everyone!


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