Preparing for your Performance Review: Part 2

Reporting on your success

Managing through the year:

  • Who can predict disasters? Look at some of the big news items throughout the year. Some of these will necessarily affect the objectives of executives as they work to meet the needs of Canadians. If this happens, you may need to renegotiate your expectations, especially when it is clear that there needs to be a change.
  • There may also be major changes that make a previous objective redundant. Do not keep an objective in if the world has moved on. If that objective has become modified or downgraded, make sure it is noted, dated and flagged.
  • Be realistic. It is always a negotiation. In the end your primary goal is to make sure that what is in your objectives can be delivered.
  • It is a good idea to review objectives on a quarterly basis (both your own and your team’s). You may wish to flag any items you noted as part of the review to your boss depending on your findings, they may need to change their own expectations as well.
  • Keep your agreement close at hand – it is a good thing to review it regularly, measure your progress, and remind yourself of all your objectives.
  • DELIVEROLOGY means effectively working to ensure government promises make it into practice. Essentially, this amounts to being able to effectively manage your programs, your projects, and deliver results. If this is hard for you, perhaps taking a course in Project Management should be added to your learning plan.

Understanding competencies and how they play in

  • At the end of the day, others will not be able to recall what you delivered, but they will remember how you achieved them – how you do things is as important as what you do!
  • The new Key Leadership Competencies (KLC’s) are at ).
  • If you have a gap in a particular area, get help (whether it is coaching or mentoring, training or counselling).
  • As you review the competencies, it is important for you to highlight both your successful and unsuccessful (i.e. needs help) competencies.

The learning plan

Seeking and incorporating feedback:

  • What level of detail is appropriate? Keep it short, but in the end it has to be clear what YOU did as well as what your group accomplished. The shorter it is, the clearer it is. Brevity really does give clarity. This will help to motivate others and will help fit into the boss’s own PMP.
  • Be as honest as you can when you are giving feedback to others.
  • Seek feedback from others (“how am I doing?” be action oriented, ask “what” and “how”). This could be specific to a task or more broadly focused on a competency. This permits adjustment and growth as you progress.
  • Focus on observable behaviour.
  • Follow up : a few months after receiving feedback, request an update “I heard what you said, and here is what I did. Are you seeing it?”
  • At the end of the year, there should be no surprises.
  • How to receive feedback : physically, try and present a receptive mode (i.e. open posture). If you do not like what you hear, say “I’ll get back to you. I need to think about this” Go back later, and build the feedback in to your next steps. This shows you are a continuous learner.
  • What if you do not get feedback ? Ask for it. If you do not receive feedback, it might be a sign of other problems and you might want to consider approaching your executive services or the Executive Counselling Services offered by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

At the end of the year

  • Be the voice of your own accomplishments.
  • Go in to your meeting with your accomplishments already prepared.
  • Base your input on the continuous narrative you have had throughout the year.
  • Do not forget: “Stuff happens” and that can affect your span of control or be a reason why you did not accomplish everything on your list.
  • Remember that a rating of “Succeeds” in a tough job is a great accomplishment. It is not the equivalent of a C in school.
  • Be conscious of where you are in the organization and in your career. In your first year as an executive, be aware that it is rare for you to be at 100%.
  • Sometimes, in order to achieve a “Surpassed”, it comes with other consequences such as no family life.
  • That said, make sure you are visible in the workplace and that others understand the work that you and your team does.
  • Can you expect feedback on the rating you obtain after the committee has met? Yes, once the meeting is held and the decision is rendered, you should be able to get feedback.
  • When you receive the feedback, work it into your next agreement.
  • In the end, the performance management process is a key part of how you build your career in the public service.

What are the performance management ratings?

Executives are assessed against a 5-point rating scale:

  • Unable to Assess
    (Level 0)
    Performance could not be assessed for a variety of reasons, such as having worked an insufficient amount of time in the position to adequately evaluate performance
  • Did Not Meet
    (Level 1)
    Did not achieve performance expectations
  • Succeeded Minus
    (Level 2)
    Did not fully succeed in meeting performance expectations, or succeeded in a position of much lesser scope and complexity compared to other executives at the same level
  • Succeeded
    (Level 3)
    Fully achieved performance expectations
  • Succeeded Plus
    (Level 4)
    Exceeded performance expectations, or fully succeeded in a position of much greater scope and complexity compared to other executives at the same level
  • Surpassed
    (Level 5)
    For truly exceptional performance that went significantly beyond expectation

Rating Distribution and Calibration
The Treasury Board Secretariat does not prescribe a specific rating distribution among executives in any given organization. While it is expected that performance results would reflect a normal distribution, effective rating calibration serves to clarify the difference between levels of performance.

The following questions may be used to confirm clear differentiation of performance levels and fair and consistent rating decisions:

  • What was the executive’s level of accountability and challenge relative to his / her peers?
  • Have similar standards of evidence and performance been applied to executives with similar roles?
  • What was the relative complexity of the organization’s goals and the executive’s commitments towards those goals?
  • How did this executive’s performance contribute to the achievement of organizational success?
  • What factors contributed to this executive’s achievements / failures? What actions did he / she take to address feedback received during the performance cycle?

In-range Movement
In-Range Salary Movement is the progression through the salary range, up to the maximum of the range. Executives are eligible for in-range salary movement if they obtain a performance rating of “Succeeded Minus” (Level 2) or higher. Normal progression for successful satisfactory performance is 5% per year so that an executive’s salary would typically reach the top of the range within 3 years. Higher or lower percentages may be approved by the deputy head based on performance.

Talent Management

  • The talent management questionnaire is a good thing to complete and it is used in your department
  • You could also include it in your learning plan and in discussion with your manager
  • Be focused on what you want.
  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) looks favourably on the use of learning plans and talent management in the new PSC rules for staffing (i.e. when to select someone versus someone else).




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