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Employee Performance Development Program Q & A


1. What if my Division/Department does not have any strategic initiatives/goals?

The strategic initiatives/goals are identified by Department Directors and senior leadership. The goals have or will be shared top level down at each agency. If you are uncertain about your agency’s strategic goals, please contact your supervisor for clarification.

2. What if my direct report does not have any idea what goals he/she wants included?

Supervisors should work with each direct report to identify two types of goals: personal goals and goals that move the department to meet strategic initiatives.

  • Example of strategic goal: Develop and implement a tracking system (by June 2017) to monitor department supply needs and cost.
  • Example of personal goal: Attend OTD’s Intermediate Microsoft Excel training by May 2017.

3. How do I/we know if a goal is too difficult?

The two of you should be able to identify a high-level plan to achieve the goal and you can use past experience to determine if the goal is achievable.

4. Can two or more employees share a goal?

Yes. If there is a team-based goal that requires multiple individuals to participate in its achievement, then they can share the goal.

5. What if I don’t know what goals I should have for myself?

Remember that your goals should be both strategic and personal goals. You should sit down with your supervisor to discuss the goal and jointly create the final goals. Talk through projects you may be interested in becoming involved in during the year; or new skills you’d like to build.

6. What happens if one employee misses a goal due to not getting needed information from their peers?

An employee should still be able to receive a “meets” IF they brought the concern forward in advance and proactively worked with their peer(s) to get the necessary information. If no ownership is demonstrated, then a “meets” is not appropriate. You and your supervisor can also use the comments section on the Performance Evaluation form to provide additional information.

7. What if a goal is no longer valid part way through the year?

That’s the great part of the interim review process: you’ll be able to catch goals that change, document the progress to date, craft a new goal or revise your existing goal to better represent your changing work environment.


1. Do all the competencies apply to all jobs?

The competencies paint a picture of what it means to be a State of RI employee. Having said that, you and your individual team members should have a conversation about what “success looks like” for each competency for individual employees.

2. It seems like the competencies are written at a high level, why have an “exceeds” if what the competencies describe is a “meets” effort.

While meeting expectations for the competencies is a really good thing, there will be times when employees go above and beyond. The committee wanted to be able to recognize those instances.


1. It seems like this process will take a long time. Have you worked out how many hours this will take?

  • 45 minutes to an hour for the expectation setting conversation (to frame the year) and 15-20 minutes to prep.
  • Interim reviews will vary depending on how the employee is performing. If there are no issues on either side, you may only need 10 minutes to check-in; if the employee is struggling, allow 45 min (plus prep time).
  • The annual evaluation typically runs 45 minutes to an hour (plus prep time).
  • The return on the investment is a more engaged staff, with fewer performance issues throughout the year, and easier annual evaluation conversations due to a lack of surprises.

2. Having three interim reviews seems like a lot.

Only one is mandatory, the six month review. The others are voluntary. We strongly recommend that you hold them to ensure that there are opportunities to connect with each of your employees

3. Is this a pilot program?

The program of Performance Evaluation is a permanent program however, the tools are being piloted. The Performance Development program and tools were established by a working group of State employees from a variety of different agencies in conjunction with staff from the Division of Human Resources. As the program progresses throughout its first year, the working group and HR staff will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the tools being utilized and may adjust them if warranted. The program itself is intended to be a permanent part of our workplace landscape on a go-forward basis.


1. What if my employee won’t engage during the interim review?

Use open-ended questions to engage. (“What are you most proud of this quarter?” “What concerns you the most?” “Help me understand….” “Take me through what you’re thinking…” “I’m confused about….what are your thoughts?”) Ask them to give some thought to an issue and reschedule the meeting (to allow them to process.)

2. What if I don’t agree with my supervisor’s evaluation?

Write your comments on the last page of the evaluation, speak with your supervisor’s supervisor (who will be initialing the final evaluation), and/or reach out to the Classification and Compensation Unit in Human Resources at doa.performancedev@hr.ri.gov. Signing the form does not indicate that you agree with the evaluation, rather that you met with your supervisor and received and reviewed the evaluation.

3. What if one of my direct reports refuses to sign?

Remind them that their signature is not an indication of agreement, it’s simply an acknowledgement of receipt. Ask them why they don’t want to sign (ask for specific areas of disagreement). Encourage them to speak with your supervisor and/or HR. (Give your supervisor a “heads-up” in advance of the employee seeking them out.) You can also contact the Classification/Compensation Unit or your HR representative.

4. I don’t trust my supervisor to be fair. He/she will use this system to reward his/her favorites.

One reason the form is designed as it is, with your supervisor’s supervisor initialing the evaluation, is to help address that concern. It’s important to advocate for yourself, logically, professionally, and with specifics. Throughout the year, during the interim reviews, be prepared to discuss specific areas of success. Have examples and metrics ready and documented. During the final evaluation, if there are areas of disagreement, have examples and the data ready to substantiate your point of view. During interim review discussions, ask your manager for areas of success and concerns he/she may have. Be open-minded and use these discussions as learning tools. Get HR (Classification and Compensation Unit) involved early in the process if you feel inequities exist among team members.

5. Why isn’t the union being held accountable as well?

The long-term goal is to include union employees. However, that involves contract negotiations which takes time.

6. Is this just a tool to discipline employees and get them out of the organization?

No. As was stated up front, the main goal is to open up communication channels between supervisors and non-supervisors, and increase engagement and ownership at all levels. If an employee is being disciplined, this can be one piece of that process. If you are having an issue it is easier to address the issue right away and you should not wait until the Annual Evaluation to have the conversation.

7. Why bother if there’s no merit pay?

If the State develops a merit pay system, then a system like this will need to be in place.

8. Who sees my evaluation (or who will have access to it)?

Your final annual performance development form will reside in your personnel file. You and HR staff have access to your personnel file in accordance with provisions of the RI General Laws, Personnel Rules, and union contracts (if applicable). You are welcome to bring your annual performance development form to a job interview as evidence of your performance.