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Performance management handbook (appraisal) - chapter 4

Chapter 4. Roles and Responsibilities

Heads of Operating Units or Departmental Offices:

  • Ensure that the operating unit instructions on the Performance Management System are consistent with: current laws, applicable Office of Personnel Management rules and regulations, Departmental policies, this Handbook and valid collective bargaining agreements;
  • Ensure managers and supervisors receive training covering their duties and responsibilities;
  • Ensure covered employees are informed of their rights and responsibilities under the system;
  • Provide managers and supervisors with clear instructions on procedures for developing performance plans;
  • Communicate, in writing, overall missions, objectives, organizational strategic goals, and plans to all levels within the organization and ensure alignment of individual performance plans with organizational goals;
  • Ensure the opportunity exists for employee participation in the development of performance plans;
  • Ensure the maintenance of appropriate records and submit required data and reports on the operation of the Performance Management System;
  • Ensure that performance appraisal results are used by managers and supervisors in making personnel decisions regarding training, rewarding, reassigning, promoting, reducing in grade, retaining, and removing employees;
  • Ensure managers and supervisors meet appraisal deadlines and responsibilities;
  • encourage employee recognition to reward and motivate employees; and
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the program and take corrective action as warranted. 

Approving Officials:

  • Review critical elements and standards to ensure consistency with organizational strategic goals and plans;
  • Review, approve, sign, and date performance plans prepared by rating officials; 
  • facilitate conflict resolution between rating officials and employees over the content of performance plans;
  • Review performance plans and final ratings to ensure that evaluation criteria are objective and job-related, and that actual accomplishments or deficiencies identified by the rating official support the rating including documenting reasons for changing ratings;
  • Approve, sign, and date final summary ratings;
  • Approve or recommend performance-related personnel actions, including awards. 

Rating Officials:

  • Inform employees of the agency's mission and organizational strategic goals, plans, and activities of the work unit, and inform employees of their related duties and responsibilities;
  • Encourage employee participation in developing performance plans;
  • Provide employees with written performance plans which identify the critical elements and performance standards related to their specific duties, responsibilities, and expected levels of performance;
  • Engage in continuous dialogue with employees to ensure performance plan requirements are being met;
  • Conduct and document at least one formal progress review around the midpoint of the appraisal period and provide written feedback to employees;
  • Modify performance plans, as necessary;
  • Participate in the pre-appraisal meeting, if one is requested by the employee;
  • Complete appraisals which include determining and evaluating employees' actual performance;
  • Confer with approving officials about their organization's performance and obtain approval on the ratings they plan to assign their employees;
  • Obtain approving official's approval before discussing ratings with employees;
  • Document instances of unacceptable performance such as missed deadlines or poor quality work products;
  • Discuss the approved final appraisal with employees;
  • Sign and date performance plans, performance appraisals, and ratings;
  • Provide employees with a copy of the rating of record at the end of the appraisal cycle;
  • Recommend personnel actions (including awards), performance-based actions, and/or training based on employee performance in relation to performance standards; and
  • Submit the ratings assigned to each employee within 30 days of the end of the appraisal cycle to the servicing human resources office for entry into the automated employee record. 


  • Participate with supervisors in developing performance plans;
  • Perform duties and responsibilities in accordance with performance plans and position descriptions;
  • Document accomplishments against performance standards for both the progress review(s) and the final appraisals;
  • Participate in a scheduled progress review and request additional review(s), as necessary; 
  • Schedule a pre-appraisal meeting with the rating official, if desired;
  • Participate in the appraisal process with the rating official;
  • Sign and date performance plans, performance appraisals, and ratings to acknowledge receipt;
  • Prepare written comments if desired; and
  • Personally identify and request developmental opportunities/training to enhance performance. 

Human Resources Offices:

  • Communicate to supervisors, general workforce employees, and appropriate exclusive bargaining unit representatives the purpose and procedures of the appraisal system and its relationship to overall personnel management;
  • Provide instructions on how to develop critical elements and performance standards;
  • Ensure that critical elements are linked to organizational goals and objectives;
  • Provide training or orientation on the performance appraisal system;
  • Coordinate and submit required reports;
  • Participate in the development and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation program of the system;
  • Provide documentation on rating distributions and awards on an annual basis;
  • Provide rating and approving officials with appropriate advice when employee performance fails to meet performance expectations;
  • Enter ratings of record into the automated employee record (or database); and
  • Provide technical assistance to supervisors and managers in taking appropriate performance-based actions under 5 CFR 432 or 5 CFR 752, consulting with the Office of the General Counsel, as appropriate.