5 CFR 1330.404 - Certification criteria.
(a) To be certified, an agency's applicable appraisal system(s) for senior executives or senior professionals must make meaningful distinctions based on relative performance and meet the other requirements of 5 U.S.C. chapter 43, as applicable, in addition to the particular criterion cited here (i.e., consultation). Such system(s) must provide for the following:
(1) Alignment, so that the performance expectations for individual senior employees derive from, and clearly link to, the agency's mission, GPRA strategic goals, program and policy objectives, and/or annual performance plans and budget priorities;
(2) Consultation, so that the performance expectations for senior employees meet the requirements of5 CFR part 430, subparts B and C, as applicable, and/or other applicable legal authority; are developed with the input and involvement of the individual senior employees who are covered thereby; and are communicated to them at the beginning of the applicable appraisal period, and/or at appropriate times thereafter;
(3) Results, so that the performance expectations for individual senior employees apply to their respective areas of responsibility; reflect expected agency and/or organizational outcomes and outputs, performance targets or metrics, policy/program objectives, and/or milestones; identify specific programmatic crosscutting, external, and partnership-oriented goals or objectives, as applicable; and are stated in terms of observable, measurable, and/or demonstrable performance;
(4) Balance, so that in addition to expected results, the performance expectations for individual senior employees include appropriate measures or indicators of employee and/or customer/stakeholder feedback; quality, quantity, timeliness, and cost effectiveness, as applicable; and those technical, leadership and/or managerial competencies or behaviors that contribute to and are necessary to distinguish outstanding performance;
(5) Appropriate assessments of the agency's performance—overall and with respect to each of its particular missions, components, programs, policy areas, and support functions—such as reports of the agency's GPRA goals, annual performance plans and targets, program performance measures, and other appropriate indicators, as well as evaluation guidelines based, in part, upon those assessments, that are communicated by the agency head, or an individual specifically designated by the agency head for such purpose, to senior employees, appropriate senior employee rating and reviewing officials, and PRB members. These assessments and guidelines are to be provided at the conclusion of the appraisal period but before individual senior employee performance ratings are recommended, so that they may serve as a basis for individual performance evaluations, as appropriate. The guidanceprovided may not take the form of quantitative limitations on the number of ratings at any given rating level, and must conform to 5 CFR part 430, subpart B or C, as applicable;
(6) Oversight by the agency head or the individual specifically designated under paragraph (a)(5) of this section, who certifies, for a particular senior employee appraisal system, that—
(i) The senior employee appraisal process makes meaningful distinctions based on relative performance;
(ii) The results of the senior employee appraisal process take into account, as appropriate, the agency's assessment of its performance against program performance measures, as well as other relevant considerations; and
(iii) Pay adjustments, cash awards, and levels of pay based on the results of the appraisal process accurately reflect and recognize individual performance and/or contribution to the agency's performance;
(7) Accountability, so that final agency head decisions and any PRB recommendations regarding senior employee ratings consistent with5 CFR part 430, subparts B and C, individually and overall, appropriately reflect the employee's performance expectations, relevant program performance measures, and such other relevant factors as the PRB may find appropriate; in the case of supervisory senior employees, ratings must reflect the degree to which performance standards, requirements, or expectations for individual subordinate employees clearly link to organizational mission, GPRA strategic goals, or other program or policy objectives and take into account the degree of rigor in the appraisal of their subordinate employees;
(8) Performance differentiation, so that the system(s) includes at least one summary level of performance above fully successful, including a summary level that reflects outstanding performance, as defined in§ 1330.402, and so that its annual administration results in meaningful distinctions based on relative performance that take into account the assessment of the agency's performance against relevant program performance measures, as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section, employee performance expectations, and such other relevant factors as may be appropriate. Relative performance does not require ranking senior employees against each other; such ranking is prohibited for the purpose of determining performance ratings. For equivalent systems that do not use summary ratings, the appraisal system must provide for clear differentiation of performance at the outstanding level; and
(9) Pay differentiation, so that those senior employees who have demonstrated the highest levels of individual performance and/or contribution to the agency's performance receive the highest annual summary ratings or ratings of record, as applicable, as well as the largest corresponding pay adjustments, cash awards, and levels of pay, particularly above the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule. Agencies must provide for transparency in the processes for making pay decisions, while assuring confidentiality.
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