U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Home / Resources / Legislation, Regulations and Guidance / Directives and Memorandum / Orders

This directive was canceled November 15, 2013.

Order
Subject
FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 5 Performance Evaluation Subject, Section 2: Performance Management System
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C November 2, 2005  

Par.

  1. What is the purpose of this section?
  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive?
  3. What references were used in writing this section?
  4. What is the coverage of this section?
  5. What is the FHWA policy on developing the performance plan?
  6. How are performance objectives and standards identified and measured?
  7. How is the appraisal assignment handled?
  8. How is performance information documented for employees on detail or temporary assignment?
  9. What rules and guidance govern the rating process?
  10. When are ratings of record assigned?
  11. How are performance rating disagreements resolved?
  12. What is the linkage with other human resources decisions or actions?
  13. What is the process for requesting exceptions and waivers?
  14. How and when is performance appraisal training conducted?
  15. How is the PMS evaluated?

  1. What is the purpose of this section? The purpose of this section is to provide specific operating details for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) performance appraisal system, also known as the Performance Management System (PMS), and to document the FHWA's revised performance management program as required by the Department of Transportation's (DOT's) Departmental Personnel Manual (DPM), Chapter 430, Performance Management. The DPM chapter 430 provides overall system parameters and guidance to the operating instructions in this section. This section is also intended to create a results-oriented performance culture within the FHWA by defining, measuring, managing, and improving performance as well as recognizing and rewarding results.

  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive?Yes. This directive cancels FHWA Personnel Management Manual (PMM) Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 2, Performance Management System, dated September 30, 1996.

  3. What references were used in writing this section?

    1. Public Law (P.L.) 103-89.

    2. Title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.), Chapters 23, 35, 43, 45, 53, 55, and 71.

    3. Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 293, 351, 430, 432, 451, 530, 531, 536, 550, and 752.

    4. DOT DPM Chapter 430, Performance Management, and DOT DPM Chapter 451, Awards and Recognition System, as amended, supplemented, or superseded.

    5. DOT DPM Letter 771-1, dated May 18, 1988, Handbook - Agency Administrative Grievance System, as amended, supplemented, or superseded.

    6. FHWA PMM Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 1, Within-Grade Salary Increases (General Schedule and Federal Wage System), and Part 1, Chapter 9, Section 1, Awards and Employee Recognition - General.

    7. The DOT Human Resources (HR) Supervisory Toolkit.

    8. Privacy Act of 1974, cited in statute as 5 U.S.C. 552a.

  4. What is the coverage of this section? The PMS shall apply to all General Schedule (GS) employees grades 15 and below, all prevailing rate (Wage Grade) employees regardless of grade, former Performance Management and Recognition System (PMRS) employees covered by P. L. 103-89, and other employees not excluded as specified in 5 U.S.C. 4301(2) and DOT DPM Chapter 430, including student aides and temporary employees serving under appointments exceeding 120 days.

  5. What is the FHWA policy on developing the performance plan?

    1. Performance plan requirements. A performance plan will be developed for all employees in accordance with the procedures outlined in paragraph 6 of this section. The first-level supervisor is responsible for the development of the performance plan, and employee participation in the process is encouraged. The performance plan consists of the establishment of performance objectives and standardized rating criteria (performance standards). Performance objectives are defined as being the same as the critical elements in 5 CFR 430 and DOT DPM Chapter 430. The performance objectives will be rated collectively against one set of standardized rating criteria to measure performance of the most important parts of the position as a whole. The standardized rating criteria, in conjunction with any specific requirements included in the performance objectives, are equivalent to performance standards in 5 CFR 430 and DOT DPM Chapter 430. Performance plans must be established and approved, and a copy provided to the employee, no later than December 1 of each year. For newly appointed, promoted or reassigned employees, the plan must be approved and provided to the employee within 30 days of entry into the new position. The FHWA Performance Appraisal Form (Form FHWA 1552) is to be used to record the performance plan. Employee performance plans will be aligned with DOT and FHWA goals and objectives, will be results-oriented, and should include the accomplishment of organizational objectives to the maximum extent applicable.

    2. Finalizing and changing the performance plan. The performance plan becomes final when approved by the first-level supervisor. The first-level supervisor and the employee will sign and date the plan to document its approval, and to indicate that the employee received a copy. Changes in the plan may occur at any time during the appraisal period. However, all changes must be discussed with the employee, signed or initialed, and dated by both the employee and the first-level supervisor.

    3. Optional second-level review. A second level review and approval of the performance plan by the second-level supervisor, and subsequent review and approval of the summary rating assigned, is not required but may be helpful to ensure consistency with organizational outcomes and objectives. A decision to require second-level review and approval before performance plans and summary ratings become final may be made at the discretion of local management at any organizational level.

    4. Documentation requirements. A copy of the approved performance plan must be given to the employee at the beginning of the rating period. The first-level supervisor retains the original copy. Forms that contain the Social Security number, rating information, progress reviews, and final ratings must be kept in a locked and secure file, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (cited in statute as 5 U.S.C. 552a).

  6. How are performance objectives and standards identified and measured?

    1. Results-oriented performance objectives. The employee and the supervisor will identify performance objectives for the rating year for each position. Each employee should actively participate in developing his/her performance objectives, including the designation of performance outcomes and targets for the rating period. Performance objectives should outline the most critical or important assignments, responsibilities, and performance expectations of the employee's individual, non-supervisory work for the coming year, and they should reflect the goals of the unit to the extent applicable. They should be results-oriented and link the work of the employee to the organization's outcomes. Therefore, they should include any action items in the National Strategic Plan, the unit's strategic plan, the manager's Senior Executive Service (SES) objectives, and any other organizational goals for which the employee is directly responsible. These objectives should be listed briefly and concisely in the "Individual and/or Team Performance Objectives" section of Part D on Form FHWA 1552. Each performance objective should include designated performance outcomes and targets, as well as any target dates that are applicable for the rating period.

    2. Team objectives. Those organizations using a formal team-based structure, where the work of the positions on the team is interdependent, have the option of identifying team objectives in lieu of or in addition to individual ones in the same section of Part D on Form FHWA 1552. Team performance objectives should be clearly labeled as such, and should also include designated performance outcomes, targets, and target dates.

    3. Supervisory and leadership objectives. For all supervisory and managerial positions, "Supervisory and Leadership Performance Objectives" should also be indicated in Part D on Form FHWA 1552. Mandatory generic supervisory performance objectives are provided, and any unique or job-specific supervisory and leadership objectives should also be identified, if applicable. The mandatory supervisory objectives included in Part D align with the four supervisory elements mandated by DOT in DOT DPM Chapter 430. Performance results, targets, and target dates should also be included in "Supervisory and Leadership Performance Objectives" to the extent that they are applicable. Part D on the appraisal form should list all performance objectives for the position.

    4. Generic performance standards. All performance objectives identified in Part D on Form FHWA 1552 will be tracked and measured collectively against one set of generic performance standards consisting of eight factors applicable to all positions. These standard factors are: (1) Job Knowledge, (2) Quality of Work, (3) Volume of Work, (4) Timeliness/ Dependability, (5) Teamwork, (6) resource Management, (7) Customer Service, and (8) Communication. These performance standards and the rating form are contained in Part E of the appraisal form. These performance standards, in combination with the performance targets and target dates and any other qualifying information contained in the performance objectives, comprise the performance standards of the position as described in DOT DPM Chapter 430.Each of the factors will be rated at one of three levels (or "Does Not Apply"), and the factor ratings for all those that are applicable will be used to derive the summary rating, as described in paragraph 9c of this section. For positions in team-based organizations that have elected to identify team objectives, two additional factors may be used in addition to or in lieu of the eight standard factors in determining the summary rating. These additional factors are: (1) Team Accomplishment, and (2) Individual Effectiveness as a Team Member. This provides a means to emphasize the performance of the team as a whole and the extent of the individual's participation in the team process. To the extent that team objectives are rated against the factor Team Accomplishment, those objectives are considered to be noncritical elements under 5 CFR 430 since the performance output of the team is not entirely within the control of the individual being rated.

    5. Supervisory performance standards. For supervisory positions, "Supervisory and Leadership Performance Objectives" will be further measured against a second set of generic performance standards consisting of five factors applicable to supervisory positions in Part E-1 of the appraisal form. These supervisory factors, which complete the alignment with the mandatory supervisory elements in DOT DPM Chapter 430, are: (1) Organizational Accomplishment, (2) Planning and Organizing, (3) Staff Development and Motivation, (4) Counseling and Appraising, and (5) Fostering and Achieving EEO and Diversity. These factor ratings will be combined with those in Part E, and the combined factor ratings will be used to produce a summary rating for supervisors and managers. The use of the supervisory performance standard in Part E-1 is mandatory for supervisors and managers, and it is optional or team leaders. When used for team leader positions, two additional factors are available to evaluate team leader responsibilities, along with any of the five supervisory factors that are applicable to the position. These additional team leader factors are: (1) Motivating and Guiding Team Efforts, and (2) Facilitating Group Interaction and Achievement.

    6. Secondary process for "Fails to Meet Requirements" performance. Whenever performance is identified as dropping to the "Fails to Meet Requirements" level, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) will be developed, and a separate, secondary process for evaluating performance will be initiated. This will involve the development of critical elements from the performance objectives, and individual narrative performance standards for each critical element, as part of the PIP. The regulations in 5 CFR 430 and 432 provide more information about critical elements and performance standards. The PIP process is described in greater detail in paragraph 9e of this section.

  7. How is the appraisal assignment handled?

    1. Appraisal period. Twelve consecutive months is the normal appraisal period. The minimum period for which performance may be appraised is 90 days. The appraisal period is October 1 through September 30 of the following year.

    2. Official appraisal for a period less than 12 months. An official appraisal will be given for an appraisal period of less than 12 months if:

      1. at any time during the performance appraisal period an employee's performance falls below the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level (following the implementation of and evaluation under a PIP); or

      2. at the end of the appraisal period the employee has completed the minimum appraisal period but not a full 12 months in his/her current position.

    3. Extended appraisal period. For an employee who has not been in the position occupied on September 30 under current performance objectives and standards for at least 90 days, the appraisal period will be extended for the amount of time necessary to meet the minimum appraisal period. At the end of the extended 90-day appraisal period, a rating of record shall be prepared. An exception to this requirement is provided in paragraph 7d of this section. There may be other extenuating circumstances in which it is not possible to rate the employee during the annual appraisal period. In these cases the supervisor should contact his or her servicing human resources office for assistance.

    4. Summary rating. A summary rating (a written record of the performance appraisal but not a final rating of record) must be obtained from the previous organization when an employee changes positions or transfers during the appraisal period if the employee has served for a minimum appraisal period in the position from which he or she has changed. The summary rating must be taken into consideration in determining the final rating of record. If the position change or transfer occurs within 90 days of the end of the appraisal period and a summary rating is prepared by the previous supervisor, the new supervisor has the option of: (1) using the summary rating as the official rating of record, or (2) extending the rating period to provide the minimum appraisal period in the position occupied on September 30 and rating the employee in the new position.

    5. Mid-year progress review. At least one mid-year progress review will be held between the supervisor and the employee concerning progress being made toward meeting performance objectives and standards, currency of performance objectives and standards, and whether any changes or adjustments in the performance plan are necessary. Local management at any organizational level may mandate that more than one mid-year progress review be required each year. Mid-year progress reviews should be used as part of the process to communicate and clarify to employees on an ongoing basis organizational goals and objectives, and to identify individual accountability for achieving organizational goals and objectives. The first-level supervisor and employee will sign and date the plan to show that the review took place. If the employee's performance is determined by the supervisor to be less than "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" at any time during the appraisal period, the employee must be placed under a PIP. The PIP will be presented to the employee and will explain the employee's performance deficiencies, the steps needed to resolve the deficiencies, and the critical elements and written performance standards at the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level for each critical element.

    6. Basis for appraisal. An employee will be appraised on the identified performance objectives as a whole, in comparison with those standardized performance rating factors that apply to the position. Specific rating factors that do not apply should be identified at the beginning of the rating period, or as soon as possible thereafter. When new assignments and objectives that are important enough to merit being part of the overall evaluation are added to the position during the year, they should be added to the performance objectives in the performance plan at the same time. Newly added performance objectives must be included in the performance plan for at least the minimum rating period of 90 days before being included in the appraisal.

  8. How is performance information documented for employees on detail or temporary assignment? Performance of employees covered by the PMS who are detailed or temporarily assigned for a period of 120 calendar days or longer will normally be appraised upon completion of the detail or temporary assignment. Performance plans must be prepared by the new organization no later than 30 days after the start of the detail or temporary assignment. Ratings on these performance objectives and standards must then be forwarded to the employee's permanent or official first-level supervisor who must consider the evaluation in completing the rating of record. For an extended detail that covers at least the minimum 90-day appraisal period in two different rating periods, performance on the detail will be appraised both at the end of the official rating period and upon completion of the detail. For periods of less than 120 calendar days, the development of a written performance plan and receipt of a written performance rating are not required. However, information regarding the employee's performance should be obtained and given appropriate consideration.

  9. What rules and guidance govern the rating process?

    1. Rating levels. Summary ratings and ratings for individual rating factors will be assigned on a three-level scale ("Outstanding," "Meets or Exceeds Requirements," and "Fails to Meet Requirements"). Each rating factor in Parts E and E-1 of the appraisal form that applies to the position will be assigned one of the three levels of ratings as defined in paragraph 9b of this section, and as further described for that factor on the appraisal form. A summary performance rating will then be determined in accordance with the instructions that follow in paragraph 9c. The appraisal of performance should be a continuing process with the supervisor providing information to and consulting with the employee in one-on-one discussions on a regular or as-needed basis. Managers and supervisors should provide an opportunity for employees to submit self-assessments of their performance for supervisory consideration. These reports of accomplishments or progress from the employee, if required by the supervisor, should be as brief as possible and designed to facilitate discussion between the supervisor and employee. Elaborate self-evaluation systems or supporting documentation are neither required nor encouraged for either progress meetings or the final performance evaluation.

    2. Individual factor ratings. The first step in determining the summary rating is to rate each of the individual rating factors in Parts E and E-1 (if applicable) of the appraisal form that apply to the position. Each rating factor will be assigned one of three levels of ratings as described for that factor on the appraisal form. In assigning rating levels for both individual factor ratings and for the summary performance ratings described in paragraph 9c of this section, the following overall rating level definitions should be used as guidance:

      1. "Outstanding." This is a level of superior performance. Almost all aspects (at least 75 percent of the rating factors) of the employee's performance have clearly and significantly exceeded the documented expectations and performance standards for the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level to such an extent as to be truly unusual and noteworthy. Performance at this level has added value to the organization to an unusual degree and has made significant contributions to mission accomplishment.

      2. "Meets or Exceeds requirements." This is a range of performance that meets or exceeds the expectations of the rating official. it describes good, sound performance and reflects the employee's positive response in accomplishing assignments. This is a wide range, where at the base level the employee has made significant contributions, and performance is adequate to fully meet the requirements and expectations of the rating official. At the top of the range, performance is high-quality in most or all aspects (rating factors), exceeds expectations in major areas of the position, and adds value to the organization.

      3. "Fails to Meet requirements." The employee's performance and work products do not meet the minimum requirements and contain major deficiencies. "Fails to Meet Requirements" performance in any rating factor in Sections E and E-1 (except Factor 9 in Section E, Team accomplishment) will result in an overall summary rating of "Fails to Meet requirements." A rating of "Fails to meet Requirements" is the same as a rating of "Unacceptable" in the DOT DPM Chapter 430 and 5 CFR 430 and 432. See paragraph 9e for specific instructions for dealing with performance that fails to meet requirements.

    3. Summary performance ratings. After all individual rating factors in Parts E and E-1 (if applicable) are rated, the following criteria will be used to establish the summary performance rating.

      1. "Outstanding." At least 75 percent of the factors in Section E (plus Section E-1 where appropriate) are rated "Outstanding," and none are rated less than "Meets or Exceeds Requirements."

      2. "Meets or Exceeds requirements." All factors rated in Section E (plus Section E-1, where appropriate) are rated at least "Meets or Exceeds Requirements," and less than 75 percent of the factors are rated "Outstanding."

      3. "Fails to Meet requirements." One or more factors in Section E (plus Section E-1, where appropriate) are rated "Fails to Meet Requirements." Before a rating of "Fails to Meet requirements" is assigned, the employee will also have been provided a PIP; and the employee failed to meet the specific requirements of the PIP for raising performance to at least the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level.

      4. Exception to these definitions. An exception to these definitions in paragraph 9c is that Factor 9 in Section E, Team Accomplishment, may not be used to derive a summary rating of "Fails to Meet Requirements." To the extent that Factor 9 is rated "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" or "Outstanding," it is included in the definitions in paragraphs 9c(1) and 9c(2) in this section.

      5. Examples of summary performance ratings. The following examples show how summary ratings are derived, and illustrate several summary ratings of "Outstanding" and "Meets or Exceeds Requirements," including one for an organization with a total team emphasis in its performance plan structure.

        Example of "Outstanding" Summary Rating:

        Rating Factor Rating
        Section E
        1. Job Knowledge Outstanding
        2. Quality of Work Outstanding
        3. Volume of Work Outstanding
        4. Timeliness/Dependability Outstanding
        5. Teamwork Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        6. Resource Management Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        7. Customer Service Outstanding
        8. Communication Outstanding
        Section E-1
        Not Applicable for Non-Supervisory Employee

        (6 of 8 Factors (75%) rated "Outstanding")

        Since 75 percent or more of the individual rating factors were rated "Outstanding," with no factor being rated lower than "Meets or Exceeds Requirements," the employee's summary rating is "Outstanding."

        Example of "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" Summary Rating:

        Rating Factor Rating
        Section E
        1. Job Knowledge Outstanding
        2. Quality of Work Outstanding
        3. Volume of Work Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        4. Timeliness/Dependability Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        5. Teamwork Outstanding
        6. Resource Management Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        7. Customer Service Outstanding
        8. Communication Outstanding
        Section E-1
        1. Organizational Accomplishment Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        2. Planning and Organizing Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        3. Staff Development & Motivation Outstanding
        4. Counseling and Appraising Outstanding
        5.Fostering and Achieving EEO & Diversity Meets or Exceeds Requirements

        (7 of 13 Factors (54%) rated "Outstanding")

        Since less than 75 percent of the individual rating factors were rated "Outstanding," with no factor being rated lower than "Meets or Exceeds Requirements," the employee's summary rating is "Meets or Exceeds Requirements."

        Example of "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" (Organization with a Total Team Emphasis) Summary Rating:

        Rating Factor Rating
        Section E
        1. Job Knowledge Does Not Apply
        2. Quality of Work Does Not Apply
        3. Volume of Work Does Not Apply
        4. Timeliness/Dependability Does Not Apply
        5. Teamwork Does Not Apply
        6. Resource Management Does Not Apply
        7. Customer Service Does Not Apply
        8. Communication Does Not Apply
        9. Team accomplishment Outstanding
        10. Individual Effectiveness as Team Member Meets or Exceeds Requirements
        Section E-1
        Not Applicable for Non-Supervisory Employee

        (1 of 2 Factors (50%) rated "Outstanding")

        Since less than 75 percent of the rating factors actually rated were rated "Outstanding," with no factor being rated lower than "Meets or Exceeds Requirements," the employee's summary rating is "Meets or Exceeds Requirements."

    4. Performance that meets minimum requirements but needs improvement. Performance may be identified that meets at least the minimum requirements for "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" in all rating factors, but the performance still contains significant weaknesses or is not at the level it should be for an employee at the full performance level in the position at that grade level. This situation should be noted by checking the block at the end of Part E or E-1, as appropriate. This block indicates that improvement or additional development is needed to operate at the full performance level, and it provides a space to identify the rating factors where improvement is needed. This indicator is provided to aid communication about areas where significant improvement is needed. Training and development activities to address the identified areas should be discussed with the employee. Use of this block does not affect the overall rating or any resulting pay entitlement. However, its use should generally be limited to identifying areas or rating factors that, while not causing the overall performance of the objectives to fail to meet requirements, are still potential problems or significant weaknesses that fall below the expected full performance level for the position at that grade level.

    5. "Fails to Meet requirements" ratings. The following process should be followed when performance is identified as dropping to the "Fails to Meet Requirements" level.

      1. PIP. If at any time during the performance appraisal period an employee's performance falls below the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level, the first-level supervisor should consult the servicing human resources office for assistance in developing a PIP. The identification of performance at the "Fails to Meet Requirements" level and the initiation of a PIP will trigger a separate, secondary process for evaluating performance. That process requires the use of specific critical elements and job-related performance standards for each critical element. Critical elements will be identified, developed, or consolidated from among the performance objectives as part of the PIP. Individual, job-specific performance standards for each critical element will also be developed as part of the PIP. The first-level supervisor will present the PIP to the employee, explain the employee's performance deficiencies and steps to be taken to resolve the deficiencies, and provide the employee with critical elements and written performance standards describing the minimum level of performance needed to attain the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level for the key elements of the position.

        1. This period of intensified evaluation and assistance to the employee prior to the assignment of a final rating is the initial phase of the overall PIP.

        2. The PIP must be at least 90 days in duration to provide at least the minimum rating period under the critical elements and performance standards identified in the PIP.

        3. rather than waiting until the end of the appraisal period, the supervisor should determine whether a PIP is needed during the mid-year progress review, or earlier if the employee's performance has fallen below the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level.

        4. at the end of the PIP, the supervisor will reevaluate the employee's performance and prepare a final rating, based upon the critical elements and performance standards in the PIP. The PIP and the narrative summary prepared at its conclusion that documents whether or not the employee achieved the minimum performance standard for "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" for each critical element, and the resulting final rating, becomes the official documentation for the resulting rating of record. After the final rating is determined under the PIP process, it may then (but is not required to) be documented on the original Form FHWA 1552 and appended to the PIP documentation.

      2. "Fails to Meet requirements" performance. If performance under the PIP is rated "Fails to Meet Requirements," the employee must be given assistance and a reasonable period of time (at least 90 days) as an opportunity to demonstrate performance at the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level. This is the second phase of the PIP (referred to as the "opportunity period"). At the conclusion of the opportunity period, a determination will be made as to whether the employee's performance has improved to a higher level or remained at the "Fails to Meet requirements" level. If the first- and second-level supervisors determine that the performance has remained at the "Fails to Meet Requirements" level at the conclusion of the opportunity period, the first-level supervisor must initiate a reassignment, reduction-in-grade or removal action. The first-level or second-level supervisor should contact the servicing human resources office for assistance.

      3. Performance that is raised to the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level. If performance under the PIP was rated "Fails to Meet Requirements," but has improved to "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" during the required opportunity period to demonstrate acceptable performance, a new final rating of "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" must be assigned. The opportunity period is ended and the new appraisal period begins. At that point, the first-level supervisor must decide for the new appraisal period whether to return the employee to a performance plan using the Form FHWA 1552, with performance objectives and standardized rating factors, or to continue using a PIP for the next appraisal period. if the PIP is continued (with critical elements and specific standards) and performance again drops to the "Fails to Meet Requirements" level, a final rating can be given at that point, and a new opportunity period of at least 90 days in duration must be given to the employee before any performance-based action can be taken. If the employee is returned to a performance plan with performance objectives and standardized rating factors and performance again drops to the "Fails to Meet Requirements" level, the entire PIP process must be started again by initiating a PIP.

      4. Impact of "Fails to meet Requirements" performance on pay and other human resources decisions. In any instance where an employee is given a final rating of "Fails to Meet requirements," the employee is not eligible for a within-grade increase (WIG), an award, or a career-ladder promotion to the next grade. When a WIG has been withheld, the first-level supervisor, at any time thereafter (but not later than 52 calendar weeks following the original eligibility date for the WIG), may prepare a new rating of record for the employee and grant the WIG when the determination has been made that the employee has demonstrated performance at the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level. Warning of the possibility of such a WIG denial should be given at the first instance where performance is determined to require a PIP. Refer to PMM Chapter 5, Section 1 for more details on granting or withholding a WIG.

    6. Completed appraisal forms. The completed Forms FHWA 1552 must be forwarded to the servicing human resources office as soon as possible but not later than November 30 (or 30 days after the end of an extended rating period).

  10. When are ratings of record assigned? Under this plan, ratings of record must be assigned as follows:

    1. End of annual appraisal period. At the end of the annual appraisal period (or extended period) (based upon Form FHWA 1552 or PIP documentation);

    2. Transferred summary rating. When a PMS employee changes positions or organizations within 90 days of the end of the appraisal period, and the gaining supervisor elects to use the transferred summary rating as the rating of record (as discussed in paragraph 6d) (based upon Form FHWA 1552);

    3. End of PIP period. At the end of the PIP when performance has been determined to be "Fails to Meet requirements" (based upon PIP documentation);

    4. End of opportunity period. At the end of the opportunity period in which the employee's performance has improved from "Fails to Meet Requirements" to at least "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" or higher (based upon PIP documentation); or

    5. WIG Decision. When a WIG increase decision is not consistent with the employee's most recent rating of record, a more current rating of record must be prepared (based upon PIP documentation or Form FHWA 1552).

  11. How are performance rating disagreements resolved? Whenever possible, disagreements concerning the performance rating should be resolved in an informal manner between the employee and supervisor. However, if the disagreement cannot be resolved informally, the PMS employee may formally grieve the rating. Employees who are members of a collective bargaining unit with a negotiated grievance procedure applicable to the appeal of performance ratings should file their appeal under the negotiated appeals procedure. All other employees must file their request for reconsideration of an overall summary rating in accordance with Agency Administrative Grievance System procedures under DOT DPM Letter 771-1.

  12. What is the linkage with other human resources decisions or actions? In addition to those decisions and actions outlined in the DOT plan, the following are linked to the performance appraisal.

    1. WIG. To merit a WIG, an employee's performance must be at an acceptable level of competence and must receive an overall rating of "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" or higher. (See PMM Chapter 5, Section 1 for further information.)

    2. Step increase under Federal wage system. Federal wage employees, under a regular wage schedule who have an overall rating of "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" or higher after completing the prescribed period of service, advance automatically to the next higher step of their grades. (See PMM Chapter 5, Section 1 for further information.)

    3. Quality-step increase (QSI). An eligible employee covered by the PMS who has received a current rating of "Outstanding," and whose highest-quality performance at that level is expected to continue into the future, may be granted a QSI. A QSI is an additional step increase that raises an employee's rate of basic pay at a faster than normal rate. The use of QSIs is limited by available appropriations, and it is usually centrally controlled and reserved for only a small number of employees exhibiting the highest and most sustained level of "Outstanding" performance. an employee may receive only one QSI in any 52-week period. (See 5 CFR 531, Subpart E, and PMM Chapter 9, Section 1 for further information.)

    4. Awards for performance. All eligible PMS employees receiving a current rating of record of either "Outstanding" or "Meets or Exceeds requirements" may be granted one or more of several types of awards based upon superior achievements in accomplishing the performance objectives of the position, as documented in the performance plan and the performance appraisal. These awards include Special achievement Awards for Performance; Special Achievement Awards for Special acts; Time-Off Awards; and Honorary Awards. (See PMM Chapter 9, Section 1, for further information.)

    5. Merit promotion. In evaluating an employee's qualifications for merit promotion under competitive promotion procedures described in PMM Chapter 3, Section 1, consideration may be given to performance appraisals. Past performance is an appropriate indicator for future performance only to the extent that the applicant's performance objectives and standards (and the duties or tasks upon which they are based) are relevant to those of the position being filled. However, no employee will receive a career-ladder promotion unless his or her current rating of record is "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" or higher.

    6. Reduction-in-force (RIF). The results of the performance appraisal will be used in a RIF situation. Additional service credit for RIF purposes must be given based on an employee's last three annual performance ratings of record received during the 4 year period prior to the date of issuance of a RIF notice. (See 5 CFR 351 and PMM Chapter 3, Section 6 for further information.)

  13. What is the process for requesting exceptions and waivers?

    1. Requesting exceptions or waivers. Washington Headquarters and field organizations may request exceptions to the provisions of this section or waivers of specific requirements under this section. Requests will be approved or denied by the Director, Office of Human Resources (HAHR), with the concurrence of the Executive Director. Exceptions or waivers may be granted for such purposes as, but not limited to, pilot testing new approaches which show promise for improved results, or for meeting local conditions which cannot be accommodated under the existing provisions of this section.

    2. Submitting Requests. Requests for exceptions to or waivers from the provisions of this section should be submitted to the Director, HAHR, and should include justification for the proposed exception or waiver, a description of the time frames for which the exception or waiver would apply, and an evaluation plan for assessing the results. Additional information may be requested by HAHR as needed.

  14. How and when is performance appraisal training conducted? During implementation of major revisions to the PMS, training or briefings for all FHWA employees will be conducted by human resources staff from Washington Headquarters and the Administrative Services Teams. Human resources updates and notices pertaining to PMS will also be sent to employees. On an ongoing basis, new employees will receive basic information from the servicing human resources office. Supervisors will receive performance appraisal training as part of the mandatory supervisory training.

  15. How is the PMS evaluated? The FHWA PMS is subject to review and evaluation by the Planning and Systems Development Group, HAHR. Periodic functional reviews of performance management will be conducted as needed. Reviews of operational practices may be conducted periodically by the servicing human resources offices. Results and findings related to performance management from employee surveys, listening sessions, and other communication channels may also be used in evaluating the PMS.

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000