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AL Bulletin 360-13-13

Subject:  PER – Employee Performance – Annual Performance Appraisal for Fiscal Year 2013 and Performance Plans for Fiscal Year 2014.

Purpose.  To provide guidance for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Performance Appraisals for Alabama General Schedule (GS) employees.  Likewise, Performance Plans for GS employees for FY 2014 must be completed by October 4, 2013.  To meet this deadline, all persons (rater, reviewer, and employee) must have reviewed the rating and completed the EmpowHR processing by checking off in the appropriate box by October 4, 2013.

Introduction.  Effective with Performance Year 2014, first and second line supervisors’ summary ratings will be affected by the timeliness of their employees’ 2013 Performance Appraisals and 2014 Performance Plans.  If supervisors fail to put employees on plans and/or fail to give ratings, they and their respective reviewing officials will fail their FY 2014 leadership/supervision element rating.

Expiration Date.  September 31, 2013

Action Required By:  October 4, 2013

Background.  Performance management is the systematic process of planning work and setting expectations, continually monitoring performance, developing the capacity to perform, periodically rating performance in a summary fashion, rewarding good performance, and addressing poor performance.  Performance rating means evaluating employee performance against the elements and standards in an employee's performance plan and assigning a summary rating of record.

Policy for the Performance Management System can be found in the General Manual, Title 360, Part 409, Performance Management System.  This Alabama Bulletin does not replace Part 409 of the General Manual but does provide supplemental and procedural guidance.

Performance Appraisal Cycle

The rating period for all employees is October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.  Performance standards must have been effective for at least 90 days in order for employees to be rated against the standards.

Rating Official

The rating official is the employee's immediate supervisor or acting supervisor at the end of the performance appraisal period.  There is no minimum time period for the supervisor to have been in the position before becoming the rating official.  If the rating official has not supervised the employee for the full appraisal period, the rating official should assign a summary rating that includes interim reviews and or feedback from previous supervisor(s) for the appropriate time period.

Conducting Year-End Summary Appraisals

The year-end summary appraisal process should include a discussion of the employee's accomplishments against the objectives and standards documented in the employee's performance plan.  A written narrative outlining the employee's accomplishments against the standards must be prepared and documented in EmpowHR for each element.

In addition, for each element in which the employee receives a rating of "Exceeds Fully Successful" or "Does Not Meet Fully Successful" must further show how the employee's performance exceeded or failed to meet the fully successful standard.  See the attached National Bulletin for tips for writing performance narratives.

Feedback on performance should be objective and fact-based. When providing feedback, avoid making judgments that inhibit impartiality, such as the use of subjective criteria and rater bias. See the attached National Bulletin for tips on providing effective feedback and tips for recognizing rater bias.

Performance Appraisal Year-End Processing

To close out the FY 2013 Performance Appraisal Cycle, a rating will need to be processed via EmpowHR no later than October 4, 2013.  Rating officials must enter the rating of record into the EmpowHR system and then it will flow to the reviewing official for approval. Do not communicate a rating to employees prior to approval by the reviewing official.  Rating officials are not to print or save performance appraisals from the Summary Rating module until the information is ready for forwarding to the reviewing official for concurrence.  See the attachment for tips on processing performance appraisals using EmpowHR.

The performance cycle is not complete until the employee reviews the summary rating, adds comments if desired, and checks the Viewed/Discussed box in EmpowHR.  This is part of the process that must be completed by October 4, 2014.

Performance Ratings

There are five possible summary rating levels.  Base the rating of record on work performed during an entire appraisal period.

  • Outstanding:  Performance of very high quality. Employee produces exceptionally high quality work, employee produces work that is significantly ahead of established schedules or deadlines, and employee completes work with little or no supervision. Performance for each element exceeds the Fully Successful level.
  • Superior:  Performance of unusually good or excellent quality. Employee produces high quality and/or quantity of work ahead of established schedules or deadlines and with less than normal supervision.
  • Fully Successful:  Performance is of good quality.  Employee produces the expected quantity and/or quality of work and meets deadlines or schedules for completion of work.  Employees rated "Fully Successful" have met all of the quality and quantity requirements called for in their performance standards, are valued employees of the agency, and are making a valuable contribution to the agency.
  • Marginal:  Performance needs improvement to achieve the "Meets Fully Successful" level.  Employee demonstrates the need for close supervisory review, discussion, and/or correction of work products. Placing an employee on an Opportunity to Improve (OTI) with this rating is not required. However, action to bring the employee to fully successful should be implemented.
  • Unacceptable:  Performance fails to meet established "Meets Fully Successful" performance standards in one or more critical elements of the employee's position.  Corrective action is necessary.  Supervisors must initiate an OTI immediately.

 If you have any questions concerning the year-end appraisal or performance plan development, please contact Youlanda Caudle, Human Resources Specialist at (256) 532-1677, Ext 108 or email at


State Conservationist

Attachment:  Tips for Creating Performance Plans in EmpowHR