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NOAA Workforce Management Office

Serving NOAA's Most Valuable Asset - People


NOAA Supervisory Resource Guide

How Do I Plan Performance Under the Five-Level System?

Typical Scenario:
You are a supervisor who has direct reports covered by the Five-Level performance management system. It is the beginning of the appraisal cycle or you have a new employee, and you need to establish a performance plan.

Principle: All employees covered by the five-level system must have a performance plan in place within 60 days of the beginning of the appraisal cycle or within 60 days of the hiring effective date. 

Overview: Approximately four weeks before the start of the appraisal period, rating officials (supervisors) and employees should begin developing written performance plans for the next appraisal period. The process should involve both the supervisor and the employee. Performance plans must be recorded on the CD-430, Performance Management Record. Performance plans must be completed and signed by the rating official, approving official, and employee within 60 days of the beginning of the appraisal period.

Each employee's performance plan must contain at least 3, but no more than 5 critical elements. A critical element is a work assignment, responsibility, or result to be achieved that is of such importance that unacceptable performance in that element would result in a determination that the employee's overall performance is Level 1.

Each critical element must also be linked to at least one DOC strategic goal, one NOAA goal, and one SES goal (using the SES plan from chain of command).

Finally, each critical element must have associated supplemental standards (also known as credible measures) which specify the quality, quantity, and cost effectiveness expectations for a Level 3 performer.

Drafting Critical Elements: All elements in five-level performance plans must be results-oriented, instead of simply a listing of activities completed by the employee. Guidance on crafting good, results-oriented critical elements can be found at: http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/performancemgmt/fivelevel/fivelevelements.html.



Drafting Supplemental Standards: The "Criteria for Evaluation" section of the performance plan, also known as Supplemental Standards, is where a rating official defines Level 3 performance on that critical element. While the Generic Performance Standards offer parameters for evaluating the overall performance of an employee, supplemental standards are unique to each element. In fact, each critical element is required to have associated supplemental standards. Guidance on crafting measurable supplemental standards can be found at: http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/performancemgmt/fivelevel/fivelevsuppstandards.html

Sample Five-Level Performance Plans:

For additional, step-by-step guidance on planning performance under the five-level system, please see the FY10 Performance Planning Memo.

Page last edited: September 29, 2014


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