Ben Crosby, 39th Contracting Squadron performance management flight chief, stands in front of the 39th CONS building June 8, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Crosby was selected as the 2016 Air Force Association Air Force Civilian of the Year, Civilian Program Manager Category. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Devin M. Rumbaugh/Released)

Ben Crosby, 39th Contracting Squadron performance management flight chief, stands in front of the 39th CONS building June 8, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Crosby was selected as the 2016 Air Force Association Air Force Civilian of the Year, Civilian Program Manager Category. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Devin M. Rumbaugh/Released)

Starting in April 2017, the Air Force is scheduled to implement a new civilian appraisal system aimed at improving performance while providing continuous feedback and two-way communication between supervisors and employees.

The new program, called the DOD Performance Management and Appraisal Program, is part of the DOD’s collaborative labor-management effort known as New Beginnings. DPMAP will link employee duties and performance to the organization’s mission and goals. It will also make distinctions in overall job performance and will include a three-tier level rating — outstanding, fully successful and unacceptable.

The criterion for outstanding work includes exceptional results, exceeding high metrics, acting as an expert and role model and handling roadblocks well. On the other hand, unacceptable work is defined as being unreliable, making poor decisions, failing to use skills required for the job and requiring more supervision than expected.

The Air Force reports in a DPMAP fact sheet that performance management increases individual success and accountability, achieves agency and organizational goals, and improves operational efficiency.

The service is vowing to place high value on its civilian force and creating a culture of engagement by fostering ongoing feedback, constructive informal interactions, and continuous learning for supervisors and employees at every level.

“Our civilian airmen are an important part of the Air Force mission, and we want to continue to build on our culture of high performance with this new program,” said Cynthia Manchester, the performance management program manager at Headquarters Air Force.

The Air Force’s new appraisal system’s goal is built around an atmosphere where employee and supervisor are working toward the common goals of mission success and employee growth. The new system also ties promotions, within-pay grade increases (WGI) and quality step increases (QSI) to the performance reviews.

“While DPMAP may feel familiar to the current Air Force appraisal program, it provides for greater employee-supervisor communication, increased employee engagement and timely recognition,” Manchester said.

Educational training is available to civilian employees and their supervisors in advance of the roll out. Training options include web-based training via Joint Knowledge Online, an eight-to-12 hour in-resident class or a combination of the two. Employees will receive information about scheduling and taking DPMAP training when it is planned for their base. DPMAP training is mandatory for all DPMAP covered civilians and their supervisors.

The first annual appraisal under this new system will be in 2018.

CHANGES TO OPR SYSTEM FOR 2017

Civilian employees aren’t the only ones expecting changes in the New Year.

The Air Force will also continue an overhaul on how it evaluates and promotes officers.

Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services headquarters for the Air Force, announced the officer promotion overhaul in October, and called it a “cradle-to-grave look” at every part of the system to see what needs to be updated “for the 21st century officer.” That could include the process for evaluating officers, deciding on promotion recommendations, and stratifying officers.

Stratification restrictions limit the percentage of airmen in each rank that may be endorsed by a senior rater.

According to officials, the Officer Performance Reporting system may take a year to a year-and-a-half to complete.

Grosso said the Air Force is talking to its officer airmen right now. It will then decide what needs to be fixed and put in recommendations to senior leadership.

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