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/.
The Navy released a NAVADMIN on the upcoming revamped fitness report and evaluation system. Here are the highlights:
- The new evaluation system will place emphasis on merit over seniority or tenure. It eliminates forced distribution with relative ranking against peers in categorized groups within a command and instead rates the performance of a Sailor 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 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 plan is to introduce this new design concept across the entire Fleet with an updated coaching phase while still using the current fitness report and evaluation system before they transition to the new evaluation process. They will deliver the coaching portion of the new system in mid-2019 and the evaluation portion soon after.
- There’s also a PPT slide deck that shows you some screen shots of what the new tool looks like and how it works.
Whenever a promotion board starts, the members are provided two items to guide them as they decide who to promote, the board precept and the convening order. These documents are available on-line and should be used to figure out how to promote and write your fitrep.
The Board Precept
The precept is released in December and can be seen anytime afterwards. For example, if you go to the FY19 O4 Staff Corps Promotion Board page and click on the link marked with an arrow, you’ll get the board precept even though this board hasn’t started yet:
The Convening Order
The convening order for a promotion board is not released until it starts. If you monitor the board page closely, you’ll usually be able to get it within 1-2 days after the board begins. You just click the link that reads “Board Convening Order”:
Incidentally, this is how I always find out the promotion opportunity for all the boards and post it on the blog. It is in the convening order.
Why You Should Care
You should care about the precept and convening order because they tell you how to promote to the next rank. Go to this page and download them from the most recent boards of your next rank. You can see all the different boards circled in red here:
Click on the board for the next rank you’ll be competing for, and download the precept and convening order. If the board hasn’t happened yet (like the FY19 O4 board), then you’ll have to look at last year’s convening order (FY18).
Use these documents for two things. First, to figure out how to promote. For example, I deconstructed a past O6 convening order here.
Second, use them to come up with wording for your fitrep bullets, as discussed here where I showed you how to pull phrases for your block 41.
The Bottom Line
- Go to this page.
- Get the precept and convening order for your next rank. You might have to go to last year’s board for the convening order if the board hasn’t started yet.
- Use them to figure out how to get promoted and for writing your fitrep.
O5 fitreps are due soon, so it is time for me to write my fitrep. How do I do it? Here are the steps I go through:
- I get the Surgeon General’s priorities and the convening order for last year’s O6 board. (If you were an O4, you’d want the O5 convening order. If you are an O3, you’d want the O4 convening order.)
- I read through them, highlighting the important language (similar to what I did in this very popular post). I do this because I use this exact language to take my accomplishments and frame them in the setting of strategic Navy initiatives. This allows me to demonstrate Navy-wide impact, which is the goal when you are trying to prove to people that you deserve to promote.
- I take my CV, which is the document I use to track my accomplishments, and I edit it so that it only includes what I did during the time period covered by the fitrep. Here’s what was left, which is what I use to build my blocks 29 and 41.
- I print out a copy of my last fitrep.
- I download the Word template you use when drafting a block 41. This template eliminates some of the spacing issues you run into when printing your fitrep only to find that the last line of your block 41 narrative isn’t there anymore.
- I boot up NAVFIT98A and I start writing the fitrep, as outlined in Joel Schofer’s Fitrep Prep.
- Once I have a draft ready, I put it aside for 24 hours and/or have someone else who I trust read over it. Having a mentor or two take a look is always a good idea.
- I read it one more time, ensuring that I spell checked it.
- I submit it up the chain of command.
I’ve been hearing about new FITREPs for at least a year now, but very few hard details or timelines are available. Here is a Navy Times article about it:
The most telling sentence is, “Officials are still hammering out details, but the Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke told Navy Times that he wants a transition in place soon.”
Here is an article that gives some details on the new system they are developing to replace fitness reports: