Pay-for-Performance Management System

(PPMS) Newsletter

March 2024

leadership human resources and performance cogs image


With the approaching 26th anniversary of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) Personnel Demonstration Project (PDP) on June 7, 2024, it soon will be time for all civilian employees in the PDP to receive their 2024 performance rating. The end of the rating cycle is June 30, 2024. This newsletter highlights key aspects of the PPMS, addresses the major roles and responsibilities of participants in the PPMS, and provides a schedule of events to assist you through the final steps of the PPMS process.

The PPMS is designed to provide an objective, effective, efficient, and flexible way of assessing, compensating, and managing civilian employees in the PDP workforce. It provides a method for linking compensation (e.g., pay progression/adjustment and/or bonus) directly with employee performance. The system demands effective supervisor-employee communication in jointly setting performance objectives that are reflective of mission needs and consistent with the duties and responsibilities associated with the employee's occupational family and pay band. Importantly, the PPMS ensures that employees have an active role in the performance appraisal process.


There are 3 major events associated with the evaluation process.

  1. The first event consists of the supervisor and employee jointly setting the performance objectives and performance element weights that comprise the performance plan for the new performance appraisal rating cycle. The Performance Objectives will reflect the types of duties and responsibilities expected at the employee's respective pay level within their assigned pay band. All elements will be considered critical; non-critical elements will not be used. See Critical elements.

    Each performance element is assigned a weight, in multiples of five, within a specified range. The total weight of all elements is 100 points. The supervisor, in concert with the employee, assigns each element some portion of the 100 points in accordance with its importance for mission attainment. These weights will be developed along with performance objectives.

    The performance plan, including objectives and the weight assigned to each performance element, should be in place within 30 days of the beginning of the rating cycle or from EOD. The objectives/weights may be modified during the cycle when significant changes occur. The Performance Plan becomes approved when electronically initialed and dated by the Senior Rater.

  2. The second major event in the performance evaluation process is the mid-year review, which normally is completed during January. During the mid-year review, the supervisor and employee meet to discuss the employee's progress in achieving the agreed-upon performance objectives and to determine if any of the objectives should be modified to reflect changes in the requirements of the job.

  3. The third event in the PPMS entails completion of the Performance Appraisal and begins during the final weeks of the performance cycle. Key activities that raters must ensure occur during the PPMS cycle are provided as a "Rater's Checklist".

Individuals and organizations with PPMS responsibilities
in the performance appraisal and payout process.
USAMRDC Commanders/Directors
Pay Pool Managers
Senior Raters
Supervisor / Rater
Quality Control Team
Civilian Ratees
The following information will assist you to successfully work through the final steps of the PPMS process.

PPMS End-of-Cycle Process

There are four major steps that must occur in consonant with the end of one review cycle and the beginning of the next annual performance cycle. All steps are documented within PAT. (See specifics below)

  1. Employee submits his/her list of accomplishments.
  2. Supervisor conducts performance review meeting with employee.
  3. Supervisor completes the employee's written performance appraisal.
  4. Supervisor conducts an evaluation feedback meeting with employee after Senior Rater approval received and documents new objectives for next cycle.
  1. Employee submits his/her list of accomplishments.

    As the end of the rating cycle approaches, PAT will send notification to each employee submit his/her list of accomplishments as they relate to his/her performance plan. These should be provided at least 2 weeks prior to the end of the performance rating cycle. In this regard, employees may find it helpful to record key accomplishments in a log during the rating cycle.

  2. Supervisor conducts performance review meeting with employee.

    The supervisor reviews and considers the employee's input before conducting the Performance Review Meeting with the employee to discuss job performance and accomplishments. This meeting may occur any time after receipt of the employee's accomplishments but should be completed not later than 1 week after the end of the rating cycle. Employees will be given an opportunity to give a personal performance assessment and to describe their accomplishments in more detail. The supervisor and employee will discuss job performance and accomplishments in relation to the critical elements, objectives, and planned activities. Supervisors never assign performance scores or ratings before or during this meeting.

  3. Supervisor completes the employee's written performance appraisal.

    Following the performance review meeting, the supervisor prepares the employee's written Performance Appraisal. Based on the employee's input for and information received at the Performance Review Meeting, the employee's performance plan and position description, as well as other input the supervisor may request, the rater will determine a rating (numerical score) for each critical element.

    The evaluation of employee performance is based on a numerical rating derived from the quality/level (expressed in percent) of achievement for each element and the corresponding score assigned for that element. Selection of the quality/level percentage and numerical performance score to assign to each of the employee's critical elements is facilitated by use of the Performance Standards Summary (PSS) and/or Benchmark Performance Standards (BPS). The resultant numerical rating for each element is recorded on the employee's Performance Appraisal Form. The overall rating equals the sum of the individual numerical scores derived for each of the corresponding elements. Employees receive an assigned rating of "Superior," "Exceptional," "Successful," or "Failure" depending upon the overall numerical score of 85-100, 70-84, 50-69, or 0-49, respectively.

    If any critical element is assigned a numerical score of less than 50% of its assigned weight, then the overall rating will be "Failure" even if the cumulative score for all elements exceeds 49. When this happens, the rater must comment on the Performance Appraisal as to why the rating is Failure. The process of evaluating and scoring a performance appraisal is explained on the Performance Standards Summary (PSS).

    The rater's completed Performance Appraisal is provided to the senior rater for review and optional input and must be completed within 30 days of the end of the rating cycle.

  4. Supervisor conducts an evaluation feedback meeting with employee and documents new objectives for next cycle.

    The supervisor holds an Evaluation Feedback Meeting with the employee following receipt of the senior rater's approval of the annual appraisal. The supervisor informs the employee of management's assessment of the employee's performance, as well as the employee's numerical score, overall rating, and number of payout shares. The total dollar value of the shares will be provided after the mass pay for performance process is complete. During this Evaluation Feedback Meeting, the supervisor and employee will also discuss and document performance objectives and element weights for the new rating period. The employee's completed Performance Appraisal is then forwarded to the Pay Pool Manager for final processing. The Pay Pool Manager reviews the Performance Appraisal and will notify Rater, Employee or Senior Rater if there are any issues.

PPMS Payout Schedule

The end of the PPMS process cycle requires intense management and attention to detail to ensure that performance appraisals are completed on time. This is a critical rater and management responsibility that is critical, as there are a number of ensuing activities that must be completed in meeting the effective payout date for eligible PDP employees. September 8, 2024, has been established as the effective payout date for the annual performance rating cycle that ends on June 30, 2024. Table 1 Payout Timeline provides the timelines and activities that must be completed to meet the approved effective payout date.

Key Features of PPMS

There are a number of additional key features of the PPMS that raters and ratees should keep in mind.

Annual Rating Period

  1. The performance period for the next rating cycle for the USAMRDC PDP is July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025 or EOD through June 30, 2025.
  2. Employees who move into a different position within 60 days or less to the end of the rating period, and on an approved performance plan for 60 days, will receive an annual rating based upon their performance in the old position. Employees who leave their position to accept another Federal position after completing at least 60 days under an approved performance plan, and there is more than 60 days remaining to the end of the rating period, will receive a special appraisal to provide to their gaining supervisor. (New Rater will be able to see the "special" in PAT)
  3. Newly hired employees with less than 60 days remaining to the end of the rating period will not be rated that year but will have an extended rating cycle.
  4. Raters who leave their position will prepare special ratings for all employees under their supervision who have been on an approved performance plan for a minimum of 60 days and there is more than 60 days remaining to the end of the rating period. The rater will prepare an annual rating when the employee has been on an approved performance plan for a minimum 60 days, and 59 days or less remain in the current rating cycle.
  5. Employee MUST be a current MRDC Lab Demo civilian at the time of payout to receive it. If the employee leaves before the effective date of the payout, they will NOT receive a payout. Management may consider a special act award for the departing employee.

Minimum Rating Period

The minimum rating period is 60 days. As stated above, the plan is considered approved when the Senior Rater initials and dates the plan. Employees cannot be rated until they perform under an approved performance plan for a minimum of 60 days.

Official Rating Chain

Each employee will have an identified rating chain consisting of at least a rater and a senior rater. The rater is typically the employee's first-line supervisor. The senior rater is typically the employee's second line supervisor and will resolve conflicts between the employee and rater.

Pay Pool Manager

Pay Pool Managers are appointed by each Commander/Director and are responsible for managing the allocated pay pool. They also ensure timely completion of performance appraisals and must certify in writing to the Commander/ Director no later than 45 days following the end of the rating period that all performance appraisals have been completed.

A Pay Pool Manager is accountable for staying within pay pool limits. The Pay Pool Manager verifies the performance pay increases and/or performance bonuses to individuals is accurate.

The payout calculations are currently done under the direction of the USAMRDC PDP DCSHR and DCSIM Team, using EPOS software that generates a Summary Report for each pay pool that DCSHR provides the Pay Pool Manager. The Pay Pool Manager verifies the performance payout data on the Summary Report, identifies any required changes, and forwards them to the DCSHR.

Performance payouts are calculated for each individual employee based on their annual rating. The total pay pool payout cannot exceed the resources that are available for payout. Performance payouts for the rating cycle will be effective not later than the end of the current fiscal year. The Commanding General, USAMRDC, will reassess the payout factor at the end of the annual rating and payout process to determine if an adjustment is warranted for the upcoming rating cycle.

Pay Pool Composition

The value of a given pay pool is derived from the payout factor (percentage) and the sum of the basic rate of pay (not locality) for all individuals in a pay pool. The Commanding General, USAMRDC, established a pay pool factor of 2.5% for the current performance appraisal rating cycle. The payouts made to employees from the performance pay pool will be a mix of base pay increases and/or bonus payments. Some portion of the activity's budget will be reserved for special ad hoc awards (e.g., suggestion awards, on-the-spot awards, and special act awards) and will not be included as part of the pay pool.

Benchmark Performance Standards

Benchmark Performance Standards

The Benchmark Performance Standards (BPS) were developed to guide raters in evaluating (i.e., selecting the generic level of achievement expressed in percent) and scoring (numerical rating) an employee's performance for each of the weighted critical elements.

As stated in PSS and BPS, there are four generic levels available for expressing employee achievement for each performance element: 100%, 70%, 50%, and "unsatisfactory" (‹50%). In scoring, the rater first determines the employee's generic level of achievement for a performance element, uses the BPS to locate the column corresponding to the weight assigned to that element, and then selects a numerical score from the range of points available within the column that is bounded by the generic level of achievement selected.

If, for example, a performance element (e.g., Technical Competence) with an assigned weight of 40 was evaluated at the full 100% level, the numerical score for the employee would be 40–the full value of the element's assigned weight. If a score of 36 (corresponds to 90% achievement level) was selected, the rater is indicating that the performance was evaluated as less than the full 100% level for that element but well above the 70% generic level of achievement.

The BPS is used to evaluate and score each of the critical elements. The sum of the numerical rating score for each performance element is used to determine the employee's overall rating for the performance appraisal. For example, an appraisal with a numerical sum of 86 would be assigned an overall rating of "Superior." If any critical element were assigned a numerical score of less than 50% of its assigned weight, the assigned overall rating would be "Failure."

Setting/Identifying Objectives, Elements and Weights:

Performance Objectives

Employees and supervisors will jointly develop performance objectives. The objectives will reflect the types of duties and responsibilities expected at the employee's respective pay level within their assigned pay band.

  1. The performance objectives, representing joint efforts between the employee and their supervisory rating chain, should be in place within 30 days after the beginning of each rating period or EOD.
  2. Objectives may be modified during the rating period as necessary to reflect significant changes.
  3. Performance objectives are considered approved when the senior rater electronically initials and dates the performance plan.

Critical Elements

Critical elements are generic attributes of job performance, such as technical competence, that an employee exhibits in performing job responsibilities and associated performance objectives. Each critical element is assigned a weight, in multiples of five, within a prescribed range. The total weight of all critical elements in a performance plan is 100 points. The supervisor, following a discussion with the employee assigns each element some portion of the 100 points in accordance with its importance for mission attainment. As a general rule, essentially identical positions will have the same critical elements and the same weights. These weights will be developed along with employee performance objectives.

All of the elements listed below are critical. All employees will be rated against critical elements 1-5. Only those employees whose duties require manager/leadership responsibilities will be rated on critical element 6. Supervisors will be rated against all 7 critical elements including Supervision/EEO as listed below.

  1. Technical Competence – Exhibits and maintains current technical knowledge, skills, and abilities to produce timely, quality work with the appropriate level of supervision. Makes technically sound decisions and recommendations that add value to mission priorities and needs. For appropriate career paths, seeks and accepts developmental and/or special assignments. Adaptive to technological change. (Weight range: 15 to 50)
  2. Working Relationships – Accepts personal responsibility for assigned tasks. Considerate of others' views and open to compromise on areas of difference, if allowed by technology, scope, budget, and direction. Exercises tact and diplomacy and maintains effective relationships, particularly in immediate work environment and team situations. Always willing to give assistance. Shows appropriate respect and courtesy. (Weight range: 5 to 15)
  3. Communications – Provides or exchanges oral/written ideas and information in a manner that is timely, accurate and cogent. Listens effectively so that resultant actions show understanding of what was said. Coordinates so that all relevant individuals and functions are included in, and informed of, decisions and actions. (Weight range: 5 to 15)
  4. Resource Management – Meets schedules and deadlines, accomplishes work in order of priority; generates and accepts ideas and methods for increasing work efficiency; effectively utilizes and properly controls available resources; supports organizational resource development and conservation goals. (Weight range: 15 to 50)
  5. Customer Relations – Demonstrates care for customers through respectful, courteous, reliable and conscientious actions. Seeks and develops solid working relationships with customers to identify their needs, quantifies those needs, and develops practical solutions. Keeps customer informed and prevents surprises. Within the scope of job responsibility, seeks out and develops new programs and reimbursable customer work. (Weight range: 10 to 50)
  6. Management/Leadership – Actively furthers the mission of the organization. As appropriate, participates in the development and implementation of strategic and operational plans of the organization. Develops and implements tactical plans. Exercises leadership skills within the environment. Mentors junior personnel in career development, technical competence, and interpersonal skills. Exercises due responsibility to oversee technical acquisition/organizational positions assigned to them. (Weight range: 0 to 50)
  7. Supervision/EEO – Works toward recruiting, developing motivating, and retaining quality team members; takes timely/appropriate actions, applies EEO/merit principles; communication mission and organizational goals; by example, creates a positive safe, and challenging work environment; distributes work and empowers team members. (Weight range: 15 to 50)

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