MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) — After a major phase of fleet testing Nov. 30, the Navy is making great progress in fielding an enhanced and modern performance evaluation system that emphasizes quality feedback to improve individual and unit performance — what many consider a must in an era of great power competition.
“The Navy the Nation Needs requires leaders of competence and character throughout the fleet. We’re focused on driving culture change that places greater value on the professional and personal development of every member of the team through inspired coaching and effective performance assessment,” said Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes, commander, Navy Personnel Command.
Feedback from numerous focus groups, application of human behavioral science, use of commercial IT systems and analytic methodology all contributed to the proposed design concept. The new evaluation system will be an online, web-based application accessible from a Sailor’s work or personal computer, tablet or smart phone.
“A new process with better tools is only part of this modernization effort. We need to provide more candid and meaningful feedback to each other. Sailors are telling us this is important to them. We need to enhance the process and use modern tools to best accomplish this,” Hughes said.
The new evaluation system places greater value on merit over seniority or tenure. It eliminates “forced distribution,” with relative ranking against peers in categorized groups within a command, and instead rates a Sailor’s performance on paygrade-based objective standards. These standards are captured in trait categories that reflect key attributes of professional competence and character. Sailors are evaluated on value statements from within these trait categories using an expanded 9-point scale for greater accuracy and distinction. The evaluator responds intuitively during a short, timed window when providing a score for each value statement. This approach will apply to both the proposed coaching and evaluation processes. The recently completed test phase focused primarily on the coaching phase.
A major part of this modernized performance assessment approach is a shift to greater emphasis on coaching. The multi-source assessment and feedback tool is a commercially developed web-based application that supports the coaching process, and is designed to deliver candid, open and actionable feedback to the Sailor. The formal performance evaluation (EVAL or FITREP) tool will look nearly identical, but will involve only the rater, senior rater and the individual being rated.
The coaching process starts with a self-assessment, then combines input from subordinates, peers and the direct supervisor to provide comprehensive feedback through various perspectives to each Sailor. Assessments can be requested by the Sailor or the supervisor. An information rich report is then made available for the Sailor and the supervisor to discuss performance and chart a way forward to drive self and unit improvement. This process and tool will better enable coaching sessions, which just aren’t occurring across the fleet today like they should. The tool will not only be available for periodically scheduled sessions, but also on demand for when a Sailor or the supervisor desires a coaching event.
“We completed a fleet-wide test with approximately 10,000 Sailors from 140 diverse active-duty and Reserve component commands representing numerous Navy communities. We sequenced numerous waves of commands throughout the two-month test period to rapidly incorporate feedback as we learned while bringing more units into the test population,” Hughes said. “Additionally, we are gaining greater fleet feedback on their assessment of the proposed traits and value statements and the 9-point grading scale.”
“Initial feedback is that both the process and tool support a quality and efficient coaching session as envisioned,” Hughes said, “We expect to complete the data analysis phase by the end of January.”
This constitutes the third of five test phases leading to the delivery of the coaching portion of the new system in mid-2019 and the evaluation portion soon after. The plan is to introduce this new design concept across the entire fleet through the coaching phase while still using the current EVAL and FITREP system before we transition to the new evaluation process. This will allow for much better mid-term counseling across the fleet next year and set the conditions for a smooth transition to the enhanced evaluation system.
Please visit MyNavy Portal at https://www.mnp.navy.mil/group/performance to access a link to perform a self-assessment using the coaching tool. Additionally, a demonstration video and the training/reference products used by the fleet test participants will also be available for you to view.
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.