Week Two of the PA Cycle: Writing Week for PAs and Objectives


Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now that the training has been completed, as I discussed last week, it is time for the supervisors to start discussing objectives and writing the PA for each of their direct reports. I am including a copy of the forms in today’s post.

I spent the past several days dinking around with the forms and made some pretty significant updates from what I regularly use and really like what I’ve come up with. I can keep tweaking this and that but I’m to the point where just I need to get this post written and podcast recorded in order to get both published by Sunday.  So the form may need some further revision in the future.

So here goes.

I have both the Objective Setting Form (OSF) and Performance Appraisal Form (PAF) on a single Excel workbook.  The OSF is the first tab since it is the first document that is to be filled out at the beginning of each year and the PAF tab is the second document since it will be completed after the year is complete and the employee will be evaluated on the objectives established in the OSF earlier.  Also, the forms are tied together and have formulas that transfer information from the OSF to the PAF so you don’t have to re-enter information.

How to fill out the Objective Setting Form:

Page 1 – Cover Page

First, change the logo at the top to your logo and the date in the header by replacing the two XX in the title to the current date.

Second, enter in the employee’s name and title, the manager’s name and title, and the current date.  This information will automatically transfer to the PAF.

Third, read the instructions!  I know, nobody ever reads instructions but I have them anyway and they are important.  This blog post is pretty much is an expanded version of the instructions on the form.  You will need to make sure your managers read these so they understand how to properly fill out the form.

Fourth, is an explanation of the Performance Ratings.  HHHR uses the flowing five point rating scale.

1 – Unsatisfactory. Performance did not meet expectations.  Immediate Improvement is required.
2 – Needs Improvement.Performance met some requirements and expectations.
3 – Met Expectations. Performance met requirements and expectations.
4 – Exceeded Expectations. Performance exceeded requirements and expectations.
5 – Outstanding. Performance consistently exceeded very demanding expectations.

Finally, is the signature box.  This is not to be signed until the objectives have been discussed and agreed upon by both the employee and their manager.  This box is locked and must be filled out by hand.

Pages 2&3 – The Objectives

Here is where we get into the beauty of the process and determine each objective and their weighting.  The first box on page two is where you weight the Core Competencies which are found on page two of the PAF.   This is where the manager and employee determine how important the employee’s core competencies are.  They can be as high as 80% for a new inexperienced employee who has a lot to learn on the basics of the job or as low as 20% for a very experienced high performer where the core competencies are second nature.  When you decide the weighting of the Core Competencies, fill in the white box with that percent.

The next three boxes are for objectives.   Three objectives are the maximum that should be established for a year but there can be as few as one.  It all depends on the employees job description and their experience and competence.

Generally, nonexempt employees will have a higher weighting for the Core Competencies and one or two objectives with small weightings and exempt employees will have lower weightings for their Core Competencies and two to three objectives with higher weightings.  Note that I said “generally”, it all depends on the employee and their job.

For each objective, there is a box to fill out a brief description of the objective.  If you need more space, you just need to unlock the worksheet (the password to unlock is below with the links to the docs) and make the cell larger.

Next, are the Measurement Standards for each objective and a space to describe how the objective will look if  1- Unsatisfactory, 2 – Needs Improvement and up to 5 – Outstanding.  The text you put in each of these boxes automatically transfers to the Objectives section of the PAF.  Go ahead and look, pretty cool, huh? When these boxes are filled in, fill in the weighting which also automatically transfers to the PAF.  Of course, the weightings of the Core Competencies and the Objectives must equal 100% which is calculated at the bottom of page three.

Once the form is filled out and the objectives and weightings are agreed upon by both the manager and the employee, print it out and both sign.  Both should keep a copy and the original given to HR for the employee’s file.

How to fill out the Performance Appraisal Form

Page 1 – Cover Page

First, like the OSF, change the logo and date in the header.  You will notice that the Employee and Manager (Evaluator now) name and title have transferred over.  The only info that needs to be filled out is the Eval Period.

Second, you have to again, read the instructions.  I know, I know, but that’s the only way you’ll be able to complete the form correctly. Again, this blog post is an expanded version of the instructions.

Page 2 – Core Competencies

In this section, carefully read each Core Competency and it’s description and select the appropriate performance rating (1-5) for each by clicking on the cell and using the drop down.  I tell my managers to start at 3 – Meets Expectations as they consider each of their direct report’s Core Competencies and think about whether their performance is better or worse and score accordingly.

The sum of the scores you select will calculate at the bottom of the page.

Pages 3&4 –  Performance Objectives

Next are sections for the Core Competencies and the three (or two or one) Objectives which transferred over from the OSF. The Core Competencies score, rating, and weighting are all already calculated and transferred over so you don’t have to do anything here. For the Objectives, all you have to do here is select the appropriate performance rating (1-5) by clicking on the cell and using the drop down. The weighting also transferred over. Enter your comments about the objective – explain to the employee why you gave them the particular score for each objective.

Page 5 – Evaluator and Employee Comments

Finally, there is space to make Evaluator Comments. It’s very important that your final comments are consistent with your ratings and should clearly express the Message that you decided on when you were writing the PA. This is where you summarize the employee’s overall performance for the year and explain what they did well and what they need to do to improve for the upcoming year. The Employee Comments box is for the employee to fill out by hand, if they have comments, after you deliver the PA.

Well, that’s it for the Writing Week of the PA and Objective Setting cycle.  Next week I’ll cover off on Deadline Week!

Below are the links to the OSF and PAF for Managers, Exempt Non-Managers, and Nonexempt employees.  Like the training document I posted last week, you are free to use and modify as you see fit for your needs.

Managers: 20XX Manager Objective and PA Form

Exempt Non-Managers: 20XX Exempt Non-Manager Objective and PA Form

Non-Exempt: 20XX Non-Exempt Objective and PA Form


The FLSA Computer Exemption

Image courtesy of watcharakun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of watcharakun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As promised, this week I am going to explore the FLSA computer exemption classification.

First, a bit of history, before 1990 employees employed in computer related occupations could qualify as exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees. But in 1990, the Secretary of Labor issued regulations that allowed “computer system analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, and other similarly skilled professional workers” to qualify as exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees as long as they were being paid an hourly rate of at least six and a half times the basic federal minimum wage which was $4.25 at the time. This made hourly computer employees exempt if they were paid at least $27.63 per hour and met the job duties test. This is where the unusual $27.63 per hour rate for computer employees comes from! The 1990 legislation treated computer employees as professional exempt employees if they met the job duties test and were paid at least $27.63 per hour.

The 1990 amendments were implemented in 1992 by the Department of Labor and the primary duties tests of computer professionals were added to the regulations.

Then in 1996, Congress amended the FLSA to add a specific exemption for computer employees and fixed the minimum hourly rate at $27.63 per hour. They also made into law, the defined primary duties of computer professionals from the 1992 regulations.

The most recent update to the computer classification occurred in 2004. The new regulations simplified the duties test for computer professionals. The regulations also replaced a “long and short” weekly pay test with the $455 per week test. Computer employees are exempt if they are paid at least $455 per week but if they are paid by the hour they are exempt if they are paid an hourly rate of $27.63. Of course in both cases they must also meet the duties test.

As I pointed out last week, the $455 per week equals an annual salary of $23,660 whereas the $27.63 per hour equals an annual salary of $57,470 – a huge difference. I was able to discover, as I reported earlier in this post, how this happened but find it curious that the $27.63/hour came about in 1990 and the $455/week came about fourteen years later in 2004. I was unable to uncover anything during my research but maybe one of my readers/listeners knows the reason behind this.

An important note to cover, the 2004 regulations also removed the requirement that exempt computer employees must consistently exercise discretion and independent judgment.

So in addition to the computer professional being paid an hourly rate of $27.63 per hour or on a salary or fee basis of at least $455 per week, they must also meet the primary duties tests including at least one of the following:

  • The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications; or
  • The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications; or
  • The design, documentation, testing, creation, or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or
  • A combination of the duties listed above, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

So there you have a brief history of how the computer exemption classification came about and where we are today. My next post and podcast will be on the executive exemption classification.

Note:  Please excuse the low quality recording of this week’s episode. I had to scramble to get it recorded and published and, as a result, the quality suffered. I promise to do better next week!!

FLSA Computer Employee Exemption

The FLSA provides an exemption from both the Federal minimum wage and overtime for computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers and other similarly skilled workers in the computer field who meet certain tests regarding their job duties and their pay.

To qualify for the exemption for computer employees, the following tests must be met:

  • Compensation must be not less that $455 per week or $27.63 an hour;
  • Must be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer and other similarly skilled worker in the computer field;
  • Primary duty* must consist of one of the following four categories:

1.  Application of systems analysis techniques and procedures;
2.  Design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification if computer                           systems or programs;
3.  Design, documentation, testing, creation, or modification of computer programs related to                             operating systems;
4.  Combination of any of these duties.

*Primary duty is defined as the principal, main, or most important duty that the employee performs and is determined based on all the facts of a particular case with the major emphasis on the character of the employee’s job as a whole.

This is re-posted from www.RichBoberg.com