This is a private group for participants in OPM’s pilot “Performance Management for HR Practitioners” training.
Week 4 Discussion: Creating Quality Elements and Standards
November 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm #172924
Review the four objectives below. Please revise them into quality elements and standards.
- Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner.
- Show an improvement in office demeanor.
- Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months.
- Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient.
Provide your answers below by typing your response in the text box below and hitting “Add Reply.”
March 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm #173036
Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner.- respond to all correspondence, within 24 hours of receipt.
Show an improvement in office demeanor.- no idea.
Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient, at least 95% of the time, based on the matter NOT being escalated to the supervisor, or receiving negative feedback.
Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months.- projects and assignments will be performed at a consistently level above satisfactory for the next 18 months.
March 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm #173034
1. Element: Customer Service
■Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner.
a. Acknowledges receipt of email correspondence within 24 hours
b. Prioritizes correspondence and provides a response based on the order of priority
Urgent correspondence – from the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and key officials must be acknowledged upon receipt and a thorough response provided within 48 hours if possible based on the research and analysis required for the issue presented
2. Element: Personal Accountability
■Show an improvement in office demeanor.
a. Informs the supervisor of delays in the delivery of projects
b. Demonstrates ownership of problems arising from assignments and does not pass the buck to another employee, the supervisor, or office
3. Element: Written Communication
■Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months.
a. Written work products over the current fiscal year are consistent with the Departmental style guide
4. Element: Project Management
■Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient.
a. Project deliverables are submitted by the deadline 95% of the time
b. Project deliverables meet 100% of the customer’s requirements
March 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm #173032
Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner affording the individual/requester the opportunityy to be heard.
Show improvement in by presenting yourself as professional in all that you do.
Demonstrate on a daily basis and consistently, your willingness to be a team player – always!
Complete all assignments/tasks to a standard higher than the day before that reflects your enthusiasm for what you do. Always take the opportunity to be better.
March 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm #173028
First, I’d say that these are not all appropriate as performance criteria. The second, in particular, is about conduct vs. performance. The third is also behavioral, and we generally expect performance plans to cover a one year cycle. We can make long duration projects or expectations into bite-sized chunks by defining the expectation for this12 months and then defining the next bite in the next cycle.
March 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm #173026
All correspondence should be completed within 2 business days unless an extension is granted by your supervisor, with less than five errors.
Interact effectively with customers to understand their needs and address their questions and concerns. Be respectful and professional in maintainining positive work environment.
Provide timely, flexible, and responsive service.
Effectively manage customer expectations, and address inquires and concerns.
March 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm #173024
Agree that plans should only cover 12 month period.
March 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm #173022
Teri, I’m with you. Plus, this exercise isn’t working for me.
March 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm #173020
Interesting on the use of the not receiving negative feedback. I like that you’ve added numbers to them.
On number 3, do you have ideas for quantifying the overall number of interactions? Maybe rather than a putting a percentage on it, you could use “based on fewer than 5 reports of negative feedback being escalated to the supervisor over the course of X months.”
March 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm #173018
ok, i agree.
March 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm #173016
Well done, Stella!
On the second one, it might be interesting to call out something like “Limited to fewer than 5 complaints that do not have an accompanying, constructive recommendation for improving the situation.”
March 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm #173014
There occasions when the behavior and the performance go together. For instance, a secretary who is required to be at work to monitor the supervisor/Director’s calendar. Conduct would play a vital role in her performance measurements.
March 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm #173012
Thanks, Tamara. To what degree do you think it is important to include numbers and timeframes for elements and standards?
March 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm #173010
Cynthia Frazier GilbrideParticipant
I agree with Teri.
March 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm #173008
On number 3, I like the idea of changing the time frame from 18 months to something shorter. 18 months is such a long period of time – and who really wants to wait that long for improvement and/or measurement?
March 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm #173006
I’m currently reviewing a performance appraisal where the manager established performance metrics requiring cases be completed within a set time frame. By the numbers, the employee would be rated “outstanding”. However, the manager has given a lower rating based on the fact the employee hasn’t processed the volume of cases their co-works have processed. Thoughts on how to handle?
March 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm #173004
Good point, Teri. I got pinged on that conduct vs. performance issue while delivering a workshop last year. The issue was around online behavior (i.e. using social media at work). If it doesn’t affect performance, it’s really more a conduct issue and shouldn’t end up in a performance standard.
In general, though, conduct issues are what lead to a lot of negative situations in the office – when people have bad attitudes or fail to communicate effectively, causing frustration and low morale. How do you establish appropriate, measurable parameters to spur change in that regard?
March 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm #173002
…or if s/he is the first person that people encounter. In many ways, that person is an extension of the Supervisor / Director (especially if they have a lot of appointments with constituents / stakeholders / citizens) and set the initial tone for a meeting as the gatekeeper — whether by phone, email or in person. Tone and attitude are critical performance measures in that situation.
March 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm #173000
I’d suggest combining these into the standards for a single performance element.
The element would be based on the business objectives of the work unit. For example: “Represent ABC division professionally by providing customer-centric service to help desk callers.”
The measures/standards are then:
1. Respond to customers in a timely manner based on the criteria published in the ABC desk guide.
2. Be courteous to co-workers and customers, presenting a professional demeanor and image as defined in our “Community of Professionals” standard guide.
3. Manage workflow in a manner that is consistent and dependable as demonstrated by weekly reports
4. Customer feedback surveys indicate a satisfaction rating of 3.8 or above on a 5 point scale.
March 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm #172998
How might you quantify those, Annie, to make them super clear so a person knows if they are hitting / missing the mark?
March 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm #172996
Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner is too vague. Try something like “Respond to exteranl customer email inquiries generally within 3 business days with accurate content.”
Show an improvement in office demeanor is also too vague. If needed for a supervisor, try something like “Provides an inclusive workplace thtat fosters the development of others to their full potential; allows for full participation by all employees; and facilitates collaboration and teamwork.”
Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months is too vague. Consistency in what? Assuming a 1 year performance period, try something like “Provide consistent support to ABC staff on XYZ project for the period Oct 1 – Sep 30. Includes active participation in meetings and appropriate guidance provided.”
Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient is also too vague. Try something like “Policy documents drafted, as assigned, within agreed upon time; content is accurate and appropriate for intended audience. Customers feedback is XX% satisfactory or higher.”
March 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm #172994
March 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm #172992
•Respond to all correspondence in within 24 hours of recipt with no more six instances of missed suspense per rating cycle.
•Show an improvement in office demeanor by demonstrating care for customers through respectful, courteous, reliable and conscientious actions with no more two valid customer complaints per rating cycle.
•Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months on in-depth knowledge of assigned programs no more than two incorrect work products.
•Complete all assignments in accordance with the established guidelines with no more than two rewrites per rating cycle.
March 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm #172990
Agreed. I don’t see these as being reasonable prompts for an effetive performance plan. It gives the wrong impression as to what is acceptable. Perhaps that’s intentional as a learning exercise.
March 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm #172988
I quantify with with timelines and deadlines.
March 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm #172986
Interesting, Richard. To me, if that person has an established set of metrics in a stated time and they are hitting them, the employee should get the outstanding.” If that manager wants higher performance, then the impetus is on him/her to identify the average of the group and assign a higher metric that is in better accordance with known output / outcomes. Until then, the employee should be rated against stated performance metrics. I’d be really curious to hear how others who are in the trenches day-to-day would respond.
March 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm #172982
i agree. i think we would need to know the position, title and grade of the position. Assuming it is a secretary/administrative person. All 4 elements would be valid just need to be clearly written to effectively monitor.
March 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm #172980
I’m worried about using the word “all” in these expectations. Doesn’t that make these “absolute” so that no errors are tolerated. I think it would work to soften the element by removing the word “all” – especially since you define the expected level of accomplishment in the standards statements. Well, that’s true except in the last bullet where 100% is once again absolute. One error makes an unacceptable rating.
March 21, 2013 at 6:35 pm #172978
On #2, I like the tie to a standard doc that guides conduct.
Would 3.8 be pretty standard? That seems low…
March 21, 2013 at 6:35 pm #172976
Here are my suggestions.
1. During FY 2013, in accordance with Agency B Correspondence Manual, respond to all correspondence requests by agreed upon timeframes 95% of the time.
2. This one was tough since the statement focused on conduct. Recommend the following: Throughout the rating cycle, in accordance with Agency X General Office conduct standards, maintain a professional demeanor. Success will be measured by supervisory observations and feedback from customers.
3. Not a good idea to develop a performance standard that covers more than the 12 month rating cycle. Recommend the following: During the rating cycle, ensure consistency in “outputs” with no more than a 10% error rate. Quality measures are outlined in Agency policy manual dated 1-OCT-2012.
4. Throughout the rating cycle, complete all assignments requested by the customer based on agreed upon timeframes and quality measures with minimal rewrites requested by the customer.
March 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm #172974
I tend to agree with you. I do feel the manger has been consistent with all plans. However, the metric only speaks to timeliness not quantity. All the more reason for clear, concise performance standards.
March 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm #172972
Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner – respond to all correspodence according to priority, but no later than 48 hours after you’ve received it.
Show an imporvement in office demeanor – ?
Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months – Projects or assignments must be consistent in execution and results over the next 18 months.
Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient. – Complete projects and tasks within the projected delivery timeframe, or client’s expected delivery date.
March 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm #172970
I agree with you, Teri. Great input.
March 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm #172968
Generally, we write standards that describe acceptable performance. In a multiple-level rating scheme, there needs to be room to do BETTER in order to be rated at a higher level. If 3.8 is acceptable, perhaps 4.5 or above is exceptional. Anything below 3.8 needs improvement since the employee is failing to meet the acceptable level.
March 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm #172966
Good question…I’ve gone back to ask the manager who the work was distributed and if the number of cases processed was within the employees control.
March 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm #172964
March 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm #172962
I think consistency may need to be define in order for the employee to effectively demonstrate it and execute it.
March 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm #172960
Looking at everyone’s responses, it’s clear that #2 is the hardest to nail down with quantifiable metrics. It’s hard to address behavior change vs. output/ outcomes.
March 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm #172956
My posting is a prime example of what happens when you cut and paste: disaster. The work all should have been removed from the first and last bullet.
March 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm #172954
March 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm #172952
Numbers and timeframes are very important if it’s a standard and its something you are being measured against. At one point you will need to know if you are meeting that standard of measurement, whether it’s time, percentage, etc. Otherwise there’s no way of knowing if you are meeting or exceeding the requirements?
March 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm #172950
As always 😉
March 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm #172948
One thing I experience a lot is supervisor who have used percentages such as 95% in a standard and then aren’t actually tracking this! So if you’re going to say that “all correspondence requests are addressed by agreed upon timeframes 95% of the time” then you had better be tracking all correspondence requests, their agreed upon time, and whether or not they were responded to. Not saying it’s not a good way of handling measurability, but just something to watch out for in my experience.
Sorry for missing the time for our discussion due to a meeting conflict! 🙁
March 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm #172946
Thanks for the feedback. Excellent point. This is a really good exercise for learning how to write standards.
March 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm #172944
Thanks for the feedback Andrew.
March 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm #172942
Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner.- In may opinion, when we send an email, we all need a respond back as soon as possible. However, if we did not add any comments/notes “please responds ASAP” then don’t expect a responds in timely manners. Reponds timely manner when the email was received and reponds to the email on any update on the project.
Show an improvement in office demeanor.- Inform the people involve in the project to complete. Set a standard on how the project has to be done.
Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient, Set a deadline on the project and follow up on daily basis to see the improvement.
Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months.- if the projects was set for the 18 months then consistency of the project should be completed.
March 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm #172940
1.) “all” reads like an absolute; “timely” is too general.
In accordance with SOP, 90-95% of correspondence is responded to within 3-5 work days.
2.) what’s sufficient “improvement”? As “office demeanor” is more of a competency, attempted to capture sufficient office demeanor.
Actively participates on teams ina cooperative manner and demonstrates respect for the time and input of others; exhibits respect for diverse opinions.
3.) Appears incomplete. Recommend limiting timeframe to the 12 month appraisal period.
Recommendations are consistent with the quality and timeframes outlined in ABC manual
4.) “all” reads as an absolute. Can further explain “manner that satisfies the recipient.”
90-95% of assignments are completed on time and in accordance with ABC manual
March 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm #172938
Jeanette Guardia-de JesusParticipant
- Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner. We are customer service – very important to respond with the day you receive the correspondence or tell them that you will get back within a certain time frame.
- Show an improvement in office demeanor. – Show the team or co-workers that it is very important to reply to all correspondence – set a priority and work the list.
- Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months. – Always look at your in-house policy and regulations – be consistent as how you do business.
- Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient. – Make sure you have provided quality work.
March 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm #172936
Paula A. GarrityParticipant
- Cultivate professional relationships and customer service by providing appropriate, complete, and accurate responses to internal and external inquiries within 24 hours of receipt. Where additional research is required, this timeframe may be extend to 72 hours, provided that the employee communicates this expectation in an inital response within 24 hours of receipt.
- Consistently demonstrate the agency values (integrity, service, openness, commitment, cooperation, excellence, and respect) in interpersonal interactions within the office. Personal interactions should exhibit professionalism, courtesy, and diplomacy, and should be coordinated with the appropriate parties in advance. Improvements in office demeanor will be measured at 3-month intervals on the basis of feedback received from supervisors, customers, and fellow staff.
- Deliver assigned work products with consistent quality and timeliness. Quality is rated on being thorough, accurate, and sufficient to accomplish the agency/office mission, vision, and goals within established resource constraints. Timeliness is rated on meeting established milestones, and promptly advising management of any anticipated deviations. Consistency will be measured at 3-month intervals on the basis of supervisory observation, customer feedback, and adherence to the schedule established in the office operating plan.
- Deliver assigned work products in accordance with customer expectations regarding scope, quality, and timeliness, with no more than one needed revision to achieve a minimum score of 90% on the associated customer satisfaction survey.
April 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm #172934
Sorry for my very late response (I was on leave for the past week and a half). Anyway, here goes nothing:
Exceeds – Almost always responds to correspondence in accordance with office policy/procedure.
Met – Typically responds to correspondence in accordance with office policy/procedure.
This is specific to an employee who has performance issues so no performance standard should reflect “show improvement”…this is more appropriate for a PIP where there would be specific examples of what the employee is doing below standard and how (s)he needs to improve.
Again, this doesn’t appear to me to be an appropriate standard since the fact they need to perform consistently should be articulated how in each specific standard.
I don’t like this one either because what if the employee did what they were supposed to do but the recipient isn’t happy. Making the recipient happy all of the time could very well mean the employee has to violate policy/procedure.
April 5, 2013 at 1:23 am #172932
Patricia G AlexanderParticipant
Respond to correspondence within three business days of receipt with no more than five unanswered replies during the rating cycle.
Demonstrate helpful, cooperative, and courteous attitude towards peers, customers, and management with no more than two valid complaints per rating cycle.
Provide consistent clerical support to the VLTP during a 9 month period. Clerical duties include processing and filing of applications with no more than four errors during the rating cycle.
Complete surveillance assignments in accordance with established guidelines with no more than six errors per rating cycle.
April 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm #172930
1. Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner.
– e-mails/calls will be acknowled within 24 hours
2. Show an improvement in office demeanor.
I agree with other commenters that this seems to be more of a conduct issue. While conduct can affect performance, I think you’d have a hard time setting up measurable ways to assess improved or declined office demeanor as well as establishing reasonable benchmarks
Demonstrate consistency over the next 18 months.
Agree with other commenters that performance should generally be measured in 12 month cycles or at least be broken down into milestones that can be achieved within the 12 month performance cycle. The objective is also unclear as to what is supposed to be consistent.
4. Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient
– Achieve a 90% customer satisfaction score from customer surveys
– Respond to all feedback from customers within 24 hours of receipt
April 11, 2013 at 6:21 pm #172928
Performance Element: Handling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
Performance Standard: With few exceptions, thoroughly responds to incoming FOIA requests within 30 calendar days.
Performance Element: Customer Service
Performance Standard: Provides accurate, complete, useful responses with no more than one confirmed allegation of discourtesy per quarter.
Performance Element: Case Management
Performance Standard: Consistently maintains case files that are organized,complete, and easily accessible.
Performance Element: Technical Assistance
Performance Standard: Thoroughly analyzes issue raised by the customer and properly determines resolution of the inquiry.
April 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm #172926
Respond to all correspondence in a timely manner.
- Prioritizes correspondence within 24 hours of receipt, specifically Congressional correspondence.
- Routes Congressional correspondence to the appropriate SME within 36 hours of receipt.
- Tracks all correspondence and ensures response from SME within 48 hours.
- Generates a weekly correspondence tracking report and provides the report to the supervisor.
Show an improvement in office demeanor.
- Actively participates as a team member in team projects that further strategic goals.
- Practices positive open two-way communication with peers and supervisor.
- Shares information with team members in order to facilitate team projects/work.
- Provides excellent customer service and ensures professionalism in each interaction.
Demonstrates consistency over the next 18 months
- Reliable team player and subject matter expert.
- Ensures quality of products provided to supervisor and peers.
- Consistently meets deadlines and supports team in meeting deadlines.
Complete all assignments in a manner that satisfies the recipient
- Provides project plan and timeline to customer/supervisor/peer within in order to manage milestones.
- Tracks project’s milestones from craddle to grave, and ensures stakeholders are kept abreast of each project phase.
- Pays close attention to detail and quality of products.
- Keeps customers abreast of any foreseen delays and status of assignments on a recurring basis.
- Makes adjustments as necessary, and informs supervisors of barriers/challenges encountered as part of the assignment.
- Delivers high quality products in a timely manner to meet and/or exceed due dates.
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