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Orlando's Performance Appraisal and Merit Increase Program

October 16, 2002
Related Topics: Managing Change, Variable Pay, Featured Article, HR & Business Administration

Below is a copy of the City of Orlando’s Performance Appraisal And MeritIncrease Program for city employees.

1. OBJECTIVE: Provide a performance appraisal and merit program based onperformance that meets or exceeds standards. All positions are governed by thispolicy except Elected Officials, Appointed Officials, Civil Service Management,temporary, and those covered by collective bargaining agreements.

2. AUTHORITY: This procedure amended by City Council April 2, 2001, Item B6.

3. DIRECTION: Personnel Management Bureau Chief, as an appointed official,serves at the pleasure of the Mayor, and receives direction through theAdministrative Services/Management & Budget Director.


A. Definitions

    The following words or phrases, for the purpose of this procedure, aredefined as follows:

  • Annual Review Period - from August 1st to July 31st.

  • Merit Increase - an annual increase in salary based on meeting orexceeding performance standards. Increases will be based on a percentage of themid-point of assigned pay grade.

  • Performance Bonus Award - a performance-related award processed as a lumpsum payment, not to become part of the employee's base pay and is not includedas pensionable income.

  • Performance Factor - a key job responsibility, which is linked to theCity's mission statement.

- Performance Goal - a projected result that is measured in terms of quality,quantity, and timeliness.

- Performance Increase Program - Provides recognition and reward forperformance that consistently exceeds standards in the form of a salaryadjustment.

- Probationary Employee - an employee assigned to a permanent position(full-time, part-time and contract) who has not completed an approvedprobationary period of employment with the City in that particular position.This period is six (6) months unless extended (see D.8.b., Extended ProbationaryRatings)

- Rater - an employee having direct authority over the employee rated, hereinreferred to as "Rater" or "Supervisor. "The rater isdesignated by a Bureau Chief, Department Director, Executive/AdministrativeOfficial, the Chief Administrative Officer, or the Mayor.

- Regular Employee - an employee who has successfully completed theprobationary period in a permanent position (full-time, part-time and contract).

- Reviewer - a Bureau Chief, Department Director, or Executive/AdministrativeOfficial, or designee, responsible for the actions of the rater.

B. Policy

  1. Employees' performance is formally evaluated in August of each year.

  2. Employees who have completed six (6) months' service as of September 30thwill be eligible to receive the approved merit increase. Employees with lessthan six (6) months' service as of September 30th (those employees hired on orbefore the last working day prior to September 30th) are eligible to receive amerit increase after completing six (6) months' service.

  3. Eligible employees who have been promoted/transferred/demoted and are in aprobationary status as of September 30th may receive a merit increase uponcompletion of their probationary period. Note that if these employees' pay fallsbelow the minimum of their assigned pay grade, their salary will be adjusted tothe minimum of the grade, when, and if, salary ranges are adjusted (normally thebeginning of the pay period closest to October 1st of each year). However, uponcompletion of their probationary period, if a merit increase is to be awarded,the employee will receive the difference between recommended merit amount andthe range adjustment amount received.

  4. Employees who receive an overall rating of Below Standards may becompensated at rates that are less than the minimum of their assigned pay range(see D.4, Overall Below Standards Rating).

  5. Employees hired on or after October 1st are not eligible to receive amerit increase for the current rating period.

  6. Employees covered by this policy may be eligible to receive a salaryincrease, based on continuous performance that exceeds standards, through thePerformance Increase Program.

  7. Employees covered by this policy may be eligible to receive a PerformanceBonus Award. This award is a lump sum payment not to become part of theemployee's base pay, and is for timely recognition of significant contributionsover and above normal job requirements. Awards may be given at any timethroughout the review cycle.

C. Description of Performance Appraisal Systems

    All employees covered by this policy are evaluated by comparing performancewith established performance factors and defined performance levels.

    1. Performance Factors

Employees in both exempt and non-exempt positions are evaluated on the basisof standardized performance factors  designed to measure significant dimensionsof their positions.

    There are five (5) performance factors applicable to all positions:

  • Innovation

  • Responsiveness

  • Knowledge

  • Courtesy

  • Professionalism

    There are three (3) additional performance factors for supervisory positions:

  • Leadership

  • Planning & Controlling

  • Teamwork

    All performance factors are defined on the Performance Appraisal Form808.22.1.

    2. Establishing Performance Goals

It is recommended that goals be established for employees in exempt andnon-exempt positions. Employees develop their performance goals and discuss themwith their supervisor to ensure conformity with unit objectives and the City'smission statement. Mutually agreed upon goals are submitted to reviewer toensure consistency with office/bureau and departmental objectives. Forprobationary employees, supervisors develop goals.

    3. Rating Employee's Performance

An employee's performance is rated on the degree to which employeedemonstrates behaviors described within each pre-established performance factorand, where applicable, on the basis of attainment of performance goals. For eachperformance factor the rater selects the level, which most closely describes theemployee's performance. The four (4) levels of performance used in ratings are:

  • Exceeds Standards - Performance consistently exceeds job requirements;demonstrates exceptional productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.

  • Meets Standards - Performance consistently meets job requirements,demonstrates productivity, effectiveness, and competency.

  • Needs Improvements - Performance does not consistently meet all jobrequirements; improvement is necessary to attain expected level of performance.

  • Below Standards - Performance is consistently below job requirements; doesnot demonstrate necessary skills and abilities.

    4. Establishing Overall Ratings

The rating for each factor is typically the rating most frequently given (themodal value). However; if all factors are of equal importance and if there aretwo modal values (a tie), the overall rating is at the lower level.

In determining the overall rating, the rater considers:

  1. The rating most frequently given;

  2. Any unforeseen conditions affecting the achievement of the goals; and

  3. The relative importance of each factor.

If, however, one factor is considered significantly more important than theother, this must be signified on the form and can be taken into considerationwhen establishing overall ratings.

    5. Frequency of Ratings

An employee's performance is formally evaluated at the end of the AnnualReview Period with the following exceptions.

a.    Probationary Ratings - A probationary employee's performance is evaluatedprior to the completion of the approved probationary period.

Probationary ratings are to be forwarded to the Classification and PaySection no later than fifteen (15) calendar days prior to the close of theprobationary period.

Should an employee's performance improve or deteriorate significantly anytime prior to the close of a probationary period, the preliminary performanceevaluation may be modified.

b.    Extended Probationary Ratings - Should a probationary employee's overallperformance be less than Meets Standards and the employee is not terminated, thereviewer may request, in writing, that the employee's probationary period beextended not to exceed ninety (90) additional days. The employee's performanceis evaluated prior to the completion of this extended probationary period.

c.    Transfer/Termination of Rater - A performance evaluation is submitted onan employee at the time of transfer, promotion, or termination of the rater forreasons other than termination for cause, provided an employee performanceevaluation has not been completed within ninety (90) days.

d.    Diminished Performance - If at any time during the review period anemployee's performance diminishes and becomes overall Below Standards, theemployee should be counseled to determine the cause and identify specificcorrective action. If improvement is not achieved within 30 days, the employee'sperformance should be evaluated and the employee placed on probation, not toexceed 90 days. If the employee's performance has not reached at least a NeedsImprovement overall rating, the employee will be terminated. Documentation tosupport this action must be attached. The employee may be terminated at any timeduring the probationary period. Refer to Policies & Procedures 808.20

Reviewers are responsible for ensuring all documents are forwarded to theClassification and Pay Section according to the time requirements outlined inthis policy.

    6. Appeals

A permanent employee may appeal an evaluation rating in writing to the OfficeHead/Bureau Chief through the immediate supervisor within three (3) working daysfrom the date the employee is advised of his/her evaluation rating.

The Office Head/Bureau Chief will hold a meeting with the immediatesupervisor and the employee for the purpose of settling differences in thesimplest and most direct manner. The Office Head/Bureau Chief will make adecision and communicate it to the employee, in writing, within five (5) workingdays from the date the complaint was received.

If the complaint is not resolved to the employee's satisfaction by the OfficeHead/Bureau Chief, the employee may forward the written complaint to theappropriate Director within three (3) working days of the date of notificationfrom the Office Head/Bureau Chief.

The Director will hold a meeting with the employee, immediate supervisor,and/or Office Head/Bureau Chief. The Director will make a decision andcommunicate it to the employee, in writing, within five (5) working days fromthe date the employee's complaint was received by the Director.

D. Administration

    1. Performance Appraisal

At the beginning of the Annual Review Period the Personnel Management Bureau,Classification and Pay Section will distribute performance appraisal forms forDepartments unable to access them from their networks.

    2. Establishing Standards, Goals and Objectives

Employees will review the standardized performance factors established fortheir positions. Supervisors (raters) meet with employees to review theperformance appraisal system, discuss job requirements and standards that areapplicable to the position, and, if feasible, jointly establish goals andobjectives for the coming year.

Employees and reviewers sign the performance appraisal form to signify thisprocess was accomplished.

    3. Monitoring Performance

To measure progress toward the accomplishment of established performancegoals and the performance of job requirements, supervisors should maintainaccurate and specific documentation of employee performance.

Supervisors should provide feedback to their employees on a regular basisregarding performance. However, supervisors must conduct at least one interim(mid-year) review to ensure that activities are proceeding according toexpectations, identify areas needing improvement, initiate corrective actions,and identify any changes in job assignments that may require adjustments toexpectations or goals. Supervisors are required to document this midyear review.

    4. Rating Employee Performance

Interim Review

During the interim (mid-year) review, Supervisors complete the PerformanceAppraisal Form using the modal decision making process and meet with thereviewer to obtain concurrence. Supervisors meet with the employee to discussperformance ratings. Completed appraisals are to be signed by the employee,rater and reviewer.

Annual Review

At the end of the Annual Review Period, supervisors complete the performanceappraisal form using the modal decision making process and meet with thereviewer to obtain concurrence. Supervisors meet with employee to discussperformance ratings. Completed appraisals are to be signed by the employee,rater and reviewer.

Overall Below Standards Rating

When an employee receives an overall Below Standards rating and is notterminated, demoted or transferred, the employee's performance must bereassessed within three (3) months, with specific attention directed tocorrective action on the identified poor performance rating. If the employee'sperformance has not reached at least a Needs Improvement overall rating, theemployee will be terminated. Documentation to support this action must beattached.

Overall Needs Improvement

When an employee receives an overall Needs Improvement rating no increasewill be awarded. However, after 90 days the employee will be re-evaluated. Ifthe rating improves to overall Meets Standards an increase of 50% of thedesignated percentage of mid-point increase or the adjustment to the minimum ofthe salary range, whichever is greater, may be given.

5. Processing Merit Increases

Before the end of the Annual Review Period, the Classification and PaySection distributes the computer printouts, and any other information anddocuments to facilitate the processing of merit increases.

Departments duplicate and provide a copy of the Performance Appraisal Form tothe employee/recipient, maintain a copy for their files, and send the originalsand computer printouts to the Classification and Pay Section on or beforeSeptember 1st. The final page of the computer printout must be signed by anappointed official to signify approval.

The Classification and Pay Section reviews all documents for compliance withpolicy, and processes the appropriate increases.

Increases are effective the beginning of the pay period closest to October1st. No employee's salary will exceed the maximum of their assigned salaryrange.

6. Processing of Performance Increase Program Adjustments

This program will be used to reward performance that consistently exceedsstandards. Managers will have the ability to award an increase in pay, which isapplied to an employee's base salary. Two percent of payroll will be set aside,in a separate departmental fund for the Performance Increase Program.

Salary increases for performance that consistently exceeds standards can beawarded at any time throughout the review period (fiscal year). An employee mayreceive up to two (2) increases through this Program during the review period(fiscal year). However, the maximum percent increase allowed through thisprogram in any one fiscal year is 6%. If an employee receives two (2) increasesfor performance that consistently exceeds standards, the cumulative total maynot exceed 6%.

Department Directors/Office Heads are responsible for monitoring funds andemployee eligibility.

Each Department Director/Office Head will determine how funds will beallocated within their respective department/office, which recommendationsjustify recognition, the appropriate bonus amount, and will ensure consistentand equitable consideration of all recommendations and awards.

An Employee Award Form must be completed for each increase, giving details ofmajor accomplishments. Forms must be signed by the Department Director/OfficeHead, and forwarded to Personnel Management, Classification and Pay Section, forreview and processing.

Performance increases will be processed effective the beginning of the payperiod following review by Classification and Pay.

7. Processing of Performance Bonus Awards

This program is designed to provide timely recognition and reward forsignificant contributions, above and beyond normal job requirements, to theoverall accomplishments of the department and/or City. Therefore, bonuses may beawarded at any time within the fiscal year. This program will operate asfollows:

Management and Budget will set up special accounts for each department/officeand will determine the dollar amount given annually by calculating a percent ofsalaries of eligible employees within each department/office. This percentagewill be determined annually by the Chief Administrative Officer.

Each Department Director/Office Head will determine how funds will beallocated within their respective department/office, which recommendationsjustify recognition, the appropriate bonus amount, and will ensure consistentand equitable consideration of all recommendations and awards.

The minimum bonus award amount is $100; the maximum amount is $1,250 peraward.

There is no limit set on the number of times an employee can receive a bonus.However, an employee may not receive bonuses in excess of $2,500 during anyfiscal year.

The bonus award amounts will not be added to base salary and is notpensionable.

Department Directors/Office Heads are responsible for monitoring funds andemployee eligibility.

An Employee Award Form (808.22.2) must be completed for each bonus award,giving details of major accomplishments. Forms must be signed by the DepartmentDirector/Office Head, and forwarded to Personnel Management, Classification andPay Section, for review and processing.

Checks will be issued on normal pay days. Completed Employee Award Forms mustbe submitted to Personnel not later than the deadline date, 5 p.m., of the weekprior to pay day.

E. General Instructions

    The following should be kept in mind by all raters and reviewers:

1. Complete the Performance Evaluation Form without the employee beingpresent.

2. Consider each factor separately, taking into account only that particularfactor which is being rated. Do not be influenced by your general opinion of theemployee's overall performance.

3. Be objective in evaluating the employee's performance so that eachfactor's rating accurately describes the level of performance in the particulararea being considered. The usefulness of any performance review depends almostentirely upon the understanding, impartiality, and objectivity with whichratings are made. The care and skill used by supervisors in rating employee'sperformance are measures of supervisory ability to direct the work ofsubordinates.

4. Do not be influenced by one or two unusual incidents, but rate in terms ofthe employee's regular day-to-day performance during the entire period beingconsidered.

5. Consider the evaluation in terms of the employee's present duties, not interms of the duties of a different, higher, or lower classification.

6. Do not consider potential value or personal abilities of the employee,except as they are actually revealed in and used on present work assignments.Ratings should reveal what the employee actually does in the present position.

7. In rating individual factors, remember that it is entirely possible forthe ratings to differ between factors. An employee's performance in certainfactors may be better than it is in other factors.

8. Ratings should reveal the rater's observations of the employee's workperformance. The opinion of others should not influence the ratings, except whenthe rater has sought out such opinion from others for whom the employee performswork.

9. Raters always include written comments for ratings other than MeetsStandards. Raters are encouraged to provide comments for all ratings as well assuggestions for development on the form. Concrete and relevant comments shouldbe provided to document and justify the rated level of performance. Supervisorsare encouraged to use additional paper, as necessary, to describe more fully theemployee's ratings, to outline a plan of action to improve or maintainperformance, to commend exceptional work efforts, etc.

10. It must be remembered that the evaluation of an employee's performance isa continuing process of day-to-day observance and not merely an extra activitywhen ratings are made. Supervisors are urged to keep a notebook or log for thepurpose of documenting each subordinate's performance, thus maintaining accuraterecords to be used in the evaluation process.

11. Supervisors should not expect an employee to meet performancerequirements unless the employee was made aware of all job requirements.Likewise, an employee cannot be held responsible for work assignments unlessthey have received understandable instructions from the supervisor. Thesupervisor has the direct responsibility to develop the employee with respect tototal job performance. If the employee is not performing at an acceptable level,they should be told how and in what respect they are failing. and how to improveperformance. This is one of the supervisor's most fundamental responsibilities.

12. It is mandatory that the rater discuss the evaluation thoroughly andcompletely with the employee after the reviewer has made comments. Theevaluation interview provides the supervisor the opportunity to again review theposition requirements with the employee and advise on the methods, procedures,techniques, and practices which must be applied in order to bring performance upto an acceptable level. This is the supervisor's opportunity also to praise theemployee for good work. After the evaluation report has been discussed, theemployee signs the form to indicate that the ratings have been discussed andreviewed, not to signify employee's concurrence with the ratings.

13. A performance evaluation is a personal matter and should never bediscussed with the rated employee's fellow workers.

14. FORMS: Performance Appraisal Form, 808.22.1; Employee Award Form,808.22.2.


16. REFERENCE: City Council Minutes July 10, 1972, Item 28; amended November13, 1972, Item 42; amended July 16, 1973, Item 26; amended December 16, 1974,Item 27; amended July 6, 1976, Item 18. Re-numbered from 708.22 and amendedSeptember 19, 1983, Item 6A-8; amended September 8, 1986, Item 28A-22; amendedMay 16, 1988, Item 19A-5; amended April 1, 1991, Item 3/43; amended June 21,1993, Item 2-P; amended September 27, 1993, Item NN; amended July 10, 1995, ItemUU; amended October 21, 1996, Item 8-YY; amended October 25, 1999, Item 3-A;amended April 2, 2001, Item B6.

17. EFFECTIVE DATE: This procedure effective April 2, 2001.

SOURCE: Reprinted with permission from "Human Resources Center Series:Compensation Strategies in the Public Sector," International PersonnelManagement Association (IPMA). For more information, visit orcall (703) 549-7100.

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