Performance Management Process - FAQ's

What is Performance Management?

Performance Management is not just a form, it is a process that involves planning, coaching, feedback, review and reward. It is a development tool for employees.

Why do we need to change our process?

There are currently 26 different types of performance review systems within State of Kansas agencies. There is no consistency amongst agencies on how employees are being developed and reviewed.

A new Performance Management system for all classified employees is being developed to support the new flexible Compensation System approved by the Legislature, and to create consistency amongst state agencies. There is also a need for a system to understand not only what an employee does but the behaviors displayed while accomplishing tasks. (ie, how the employee does their work)

Who is developing the process?

The Department of Administration is working in conjunction with the Hay Group. Two committees were formed to develop the new process.

The first is a steering committee which is a group of individuals who are primary stakeholders and sponsors of the project. This group is responsible for overseeing the project, setting overall direction, providing input and championing and supporting the new process.

The design committee is made up of State employees who represent a diverse group of occupations and agencies. This group is responsible for designing, developing and implementing the new Performance Management Process.

What are the components on the new process?

Performance Planning – The means by which to plan and communicate performance expectations to all employees. Employees play a significant role in this process. The process includes identifying task accountabilities and behaviors.

Coaching and Feedback – Ensuring good performance by providing both formal and informal opportunities for the Employee and Manager to discuss progress against objectives, review demonstration of competencies and determine if any objectives should be modified.

Reviewing and Appraising Performance – Assessing how objectives were achieved.

Recognizing and Rewarding Performance – Reinforces good performance.

Four Components of Performance Management

What changes will employees see with the new process?

  • More face to face time with your supervisor.
  • Clear expectations agreed upon by both the supervisor and employee.
  • Enhanced training for supervisors.
  • Improved communication between employees and supervisors.
  • Growth and development opportunities.

What is the timeline?

Design Performance Management Process: January 2008 - April 2008
Development of training materials: April 2008 - July 2008
Informational Employee Meetings: August 2008 - September 2008
Supervisor and Manager Training: Fall 2008
Implementation: FY 2010

What if my supervisor is already behind in my evaluation/review?

The new process has a focal point that requires all classified state employees to begin their annual review period between October 1st and December 31st, the Mid year Discussion will take place between April 1st and June 30th and the annual review will take place between October 1st and December 31st of the following year.

What if a supervisor doesn't like to talk to their employee(s) and never has time for certain employees: how is this process going to increase communication between supervisors and employees?

Coaching is a component of the new process. Supervisors across the state will be trained on the proper techniques of coaching and will be encouraged to have formal and informal discussions with employees regarding their performance throughout the year.
There are also leadership behaviors where supervisors will be evaluated and held accountable on their own performance with respect to Performance Management and Leadership.

Is it expected the signatures for beginning, middle and end will get supervisors to do better about discussing expectations and allowing employees input in the process and results of their work?

At the beginning of the review period when the supervisor and employee sit down for the planning discussion the supervisor and the employee will agree on objectives for the employee to accomplish in the next year and the supervisor will outline what the employee needs to do to meet those expectations.

What is in place to ensure those supervisors who already do not like an employee will provide them the same opportunities to be evaluated on work and not personality likes or dislikes?

There will be in depth training for supervisors to learn how to be consistent in developing employees and how to evaluate them on objectives and competencies that are work related.

There are now 5 levels of performance evaluation, how will raises be based on this system?

The link between performance and compensation is still under development at this time, as implementation of the new pay plans is still nearly two years away. Information regarding this component will be shared as soon as these decisions are finalized.

Will supervisors be required to complete logs of discussions they had with employees?

There is a section on the Performance Management Form to document coaching sessions with employees. While every coaching session may not need to be documented, it is highly encouraged that any coaching session that addresses performance be documented on the form.

Will all supervisors and managers receive the same training?

Training will be provided to agency Human Resource staff and/or agency trainers that will be used to train supervisors and managers on the new Performance Management Process. While agencies may add additional information to the training, no information may be taken out of the training so that a level of consistency is provided to supervisors and managers across the state.

Will all supervisors and managers be required to attend the training on the new Performance Management Process?

Yes, all supervisors and managers will be required to complete the training on the new Performance Management Process.

Are agencies and employees able to make comments or suggestions about the new Performance Management Process?

Comments or suggestions about the new Performance Management Process may be submitted to the following email address: PerformanceMgmt@da.ks.gov

Will unclassified employees who supervise classified employees be required to attend the training?

Yes, unclassified supervisors and managers who supervise classified employees will be required to attend the training on the new Performance Management Process.

Will employees be able to appeal their performance ratings under the new Performance Management Process?

The appeal rights under the new Performance Management Process will be the same as the appeal rights under the current review system.

Will the new form be able to be used electronically?

Yes, we hope to have the new form placed on the internet during the fall of 2008.

How will the new focal point requirements impact probationary periods?

The focal points will not impact probationary periods. Once an employee becomes permanent they will begin their annual review process. The difference will be that the end of the annual review will fall between October 1st and December 31st as opposed to on the employee’s anniversary date.

How will supervisors deal with disgruntled employees who receive a lower performance rating than another employee?

Supervisors will coach employees throughout the review period and inform the employee what they need to do to meet their expectations. If an employee is not meeting their supervisor’s expectations it should not be a surprise to the employee.

How can supervisors be expected to complete performance evaluations for all of their employees during a three month period?

The design team felt that if the supervisor is using the process correctly throughout the year, there should be little work to do at the time of the annual review. The team felt that the 90-day window would be more than sufficient to complete the annual reviews.

How will supervisors be held accountable for correctly utilizing the new Performance Management Process?

A supervisor’s ability to evaluate their employees will be a component of their own performance evaluation. Performance Management is competency which deals with promoting employee development opportunities and fostering the long-term learning or development of others as well as setting clear goals and expectations and ensuring that feedback and performance issues are addressed in a timely manner. This competency also includes the ability to apply State of Kansas regulations and policies, to delegate effectively, to deal with performance issues, and to hold others accountable. All supervisors and managers within the State will be evaluated on this competency.

If a rating is not completed during the focal point, does the employee have to wait until the next year to receive a performance rating?

If a supervisor misses the focal point period to review an employee, they should review that employee as soon as possible and begin the employee’s next review period to end during the next set of focal points.

What is the downside of not meeting expectations established under the new Performance Management Process?

With respect to compensation, since we are still very early in this process, the impact of performance on compensation is still under development so we are unable to answer this question at this time.

Will this new Performance Management process be required for unclassified employees as well?

State regulations do not require unclassified employees to be reviewed at all. However, many agencies have decided that unclassified employees will utilize the new Performance Management Process as well as classified employees.

What if an employee does not want to be as active in the planning process as others, and is comfortable with the supervisor setting the goals? Will this have a negative impact on the employee’s performance rating?

If an employee does choose to take an active role in the performance planning discussion there will be no negative impact on the employee. The ability to have a role in this discussion is for the employee’s benefit however if the employee chooses not to participate that is the employee’s choice.

Can you please tell me what the protocol will be for employees who are hired on later in the year (Aug - Dec). Will they go through the planning process still or will they wait until the next year to begin before going through the planning stage?

Employees in this situation will serve a standard probationary period (6 months) so will not be required to coincide with the focal points for this review. It would be expected that these employees would go through the same processes as they would if they were undergoing an annual review, it is just that the timing will be different. Following the completion of the probationary review, employees will then begin to be reviewed in accordance with the focal points. This may require the completion of a special evaluation to get them to the focal period, but that will be a one-time event for timing purposes.

How is a special performance review handled under the new PMP?

According to K.A.R. 1-7-10(a)(5), an appointing authority may still conduct a special performance review rating for any employee at any time under the new PMP, unless prohibited under K.A.R. 1-14-8 due to pending layoffs. However, since annual performance ratings must be assigned within a particular timeframe under the new PMP, the process for handling special performance reviews is different than it has been in the past.

If you need to place an employee on a special performance review you should not “close out” the annual review before starting the special performance review like was done in the past. Instead, you should carry out the special performance review concurrently with the annual review. Essentially, the special performance review is now a specific period of time within the annual rating period for which an employee will receive a separate performance review rating.

To start a special performance review for an employee, the supervisor should hold a meeting with the employee to inform them that they are being placed on a 30, 60 or 90 day special performance review. At this meeting, the supervisor should also explain to the employee why they are being placed on the special review and that they will receive a specific performance review rating for their work performed during the period of the special performance review.

The supervisor should then inform the employee of his or her expectations for the special performance review and explain what behaviors or duties that the employee needs to change or improve upon in order to meet those expectations. Even more so than during the annual rating period, it is highly recommended that the supervisor meet regularly with the employee during this special performance review period to discuss the employee’s progress towards meeting those expectations or not. At the end of the special review period, the supervisor will essentially “close out” the special performance review and assign an overall rating to the employee for that special performance review period.

Once the special performance review is completed, the employee will then return to the annual review until the focal point period of October 1st – December 31st when the employee will receive a performance review rating as part of the annual performance review process.

Example: John has always struggled to arrive to work on time. One of the competencies that was identified during John’s Performance Planning session (which took place November 2, 2009) for his annual review is that he needs to arrive to work on time. The supervisor has repeatedly met and discussed that John needs to be at his work station at 8:00 a.m. every day since the beginning of the annual performance review period.
It is now March 15, 2010 and John has been late to work over ten times in the last month. The supervisor has determined to place John on a special performance review in order to help him realize that he needs to take this seriously. So, from March 15, 2010 – May 13, 2010 John will be on a special 60-day evaluation in hopes to help him understand the need to arrive to work on time.

John and his supervisor continue to meet regularly during this 60-day period to discuss his progress towards arriving to work on time. By May 13, 2010, John had arrived to work on time every day and due to his improved performance, he was given a performance review rating of meets expectations for the special performance review period. At that point, John then returned to working under his annual performance review until the focal point period of October 1st – December 31st when he will be assigned a performance review rating for the annual review period.

Can I place an employee on a special performance review during the focal point period?

Ideally you would not place an employee on a special performance review during the focal point period of October 1st – December 31st. This is the time that employees should receive performance review ratings for their annual performance review and should also have Performance Planning sessions with their supervisors in order to establish expectations and competencies for them for the upcoming year. These planning sessions provide a good opportunity for supervisors to discuss any issues that the employee may be having in regards to work expectations and the supervisor’s thoughts and suggestions on how the employee may be able to work on those issues.

In addition, placing an employee on a special evaluation during this time will also result in the employee receiving two performance evaluation ratings within a relatively short period of time. If these reviews both happen to be less than meets expectations, the timing of the special evaluation could lead a panel reviewing the matter – whether that is a performance evaluation appeal committee or the Civil Service Board – to form a negative inference that the agency was somehow “stacking the deck” against the employee in order to establish the basis to take disciplinary action. As such, it is strongly recommended not to begin or end a special evaluation during the focal point period established in K.A.R. 1-7-10 (a)(3).

How do I handle a new probationary employee that is about to come off of original probation but is working at less than meets expectations?

The scenario is you have a new hire employee who at the end of their original 6 months probation is working at a needs improvement level. How should you handle this situation as the supervisor?

The regulations state the following:

K.A.R. 1-7-3 (b) Before the end of the probationary period, the appointing authority shall provide the director with results of a performance review for the employee. If the overall performance review rating given to a probationary employee before the end of the employee’s probationary period is unsatisfactory, the employee shall not be granted permanent status. The performance review ratings required by this subsection shall not be required to occur within the time period established in K.A.R. 1-7-10 (a)(3).

K.A.R. 1-7-3 (d) Any probationary employee, other than an employee on probation due to a promotion from a position in which the employee had permanent status, may be dismissed by the appointing authority at any time during the probationary period.

K.A.R. 1-7-4 (a) Each new hire and each rehire made on a basis other than reemployment or reinstatement who is employed in a regular position shall be subject to a probationary period of six months. This probationary period may be extended by the appointing authority for not more than six additional months if action to extend the probationary period is taken before the end of the original six-month probationary period. A probationary period of not more than 12 months may be established by the appointing authority if specific training or certification requirements for a position cannot be completed within six months.

1-7-6. (a) Before the expiration of each employee's probationary period, a performance review shall be completed and a rating shall be assigned, and the appointing authority shall notify the employee and the director in writing of one of the following:
(1) The employee has been dismissed or demoted.
(2) The probationary period is being extended, if extension is permissible under the provisions of K.A.R. 1-7-4.
(3) The employee is being given permanent status.
(b) If a probationary employee has not been notified in accordance with subsection (a) by the end of any probationary period, the employee shall be deemed to have been given permanent status. In case of dispute as to whether the employee was notified, a determination shall be made by the director.

So, based on these provisions, you have two options in this scenario. The first option is to not grant permanent status, and terminate the employee pursuant to K.A.R. 1-7-3 (d). The regulation requires that an employee who receives an unsatisfactory rating shall not be granted permanent status, but there are no requirements with respect to any other rating. Therefore, if an employee receives a Needs Improvement rating on an original probationary evaluation, the determination of whether the employee is granted permanent status may be made on a case-by-case basis, as determined by the specific issues that served as the basis of the Needs Improvement rating.

The second option in this situation would be to extend the probationary period for an additional six months if specific training or certification requirements for the position cannot be completed within the original six month probationary period. In accordance with K.A.R. 1-7-6 (a), this action must be taken before the expiration of the original six month probationary period. If not, the employee will be deemed to have been granted permanent status pursuant to K.A.R. 1-7-6 (b). Remember that this option is only available when the employee is a new hire or rehire, and is not an option when the employee returned to State service via reinstatement or is serving a probationary period due to a promotion.