Federal Employee Performance Appraisals: 5 Things to Know

January 25, 2018
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

Federal employees, like employees in the private sector, are expected to fulfill their job responsibilities. In order to ensure that federal workers are on track in doing what is expected of them, federal workers are subject to periodic performance appraisals.

While these appraisals will ideally go smoothly and result in positive feedback being provided, sometimes problems can arise. The outcome of your federal performance appraisals could potentially result in threats to your job over the long-term, so you should make certain that you consult with Baltimore employment lawyers if you believe you were treated unfairly in your performance appraisal. An experienced attorney can help you to understand the appraisal process, and to better understand your rights as a federal employee, so you can protect your interests.

Because your performance appraisal can affect future career opportunities, it’s important to know what to expect when it comes to federal performance appraisals. Read on to find out five key things you need to know.

OPM is in Charge

The Office of Personnel Management, an independent government agency managing civil service workers, is ultimately responsible for regulating the federal performance appraisal system. This means while individual departments and managers have some input into the specific metrics used to assess workers, ultimately it is OPM that establishes the framework by which federal employees are judged.

Employees are Subject to Annual Appraisals

Federal performance appraisals typically occur on an annual basis. The specific time of year when you will undergo your federal performance appraisal varies depending upon which agency you work in. However, many of the agencies in the federal government operate on a similar schedule and conduct appraisals based on an October 1 through September 30 calendar year.

The Scale Ranges From Unacceptable to Exceptional

There are five different ratings that could be assigned to you as part of your federal performance assessment. Some agencies use their own unique terminology, but generally the measures intend to label workers either as exceptional, superior, fully or minimally satisfactory, and unacceptable.  An exceptional rating is typically reserved for individuals who go above-and-beyond, who communicate effectively, and who aren’t afraid to take on difficult tasks.

Federal Performance Appraisals Focus on Critical Elements

When you undergo a federal employment appraisal, the appraisal is focused on how well you are performing in key areas that specifically relate to your job function.  Every federal worker is expected to have at least one critical element within their performance appraisal review that is linked only to their performance and not to the performance of a team of workers as a whole.

You Typically Have to Be on the Job at Least 60 days to Go Through the Process

Typically, you will not have to undergo a federal performance appraisal as a federal worker unless you have been on the job for at least two months. For some positions, the agencies have opted to have workers do their jobs for a longer period of time before they get a performance appraisal.

If you have concerns about your appraisal, you should consult with Baltimore employment lawyers for help as soon as possible. Call The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C. at 410-514-6099 or contact us online today.