Below are a list of Frequently Asked Performance & Development Program questions, you can click on a question to see the answer. If there is a question not answered here, please visit the Contact Us page to get in touch.
Can I join the Performance & Development Program?
The Performance & Development Program is not currently adding new departments, we are working with current participants to make sure everything works smoothly before adding more people.
If you would like to be considered for addition in the future, or have questions about which teams within our current departments are participating, please visit the Contact Us page.
What is expected of Program Participants?
There are four main expectations of Program participants:
- Meet with your supervisor at least every other week for a 1:1 feedback conversation of at least 15 minutes to discuss progress on projects/tasks, support or resource needs, or how to overcome obstacles.
- Meet with your supervisor at least every six months to discuss setting, tracking, and reaching your individual performance and development goals.
- Answer your pulse survey and give honest feedback every other week (every week for Library), your feedback is key to identifying needs and areas to improve.
- Recognize your coworkers, supervisors, or staff for doing great work by giving Cheers for Peers; whether they helped you complete a difficult project, or brought bagels which helped you through a difficult day, send a Cheers to show your appreciation.
What is expected of supervisors in the Program?
Supervisors are expected to do all of the same activities as participants, including making themselves available for meetings and keeping commitments, not letting day-to-day tasks get in the way unless absolutely necessary. Supervisors need to be open to honest feedback from their teams, and model a commitment to continuous improvement in their actions and conversations. Additionally, supervisors are responsible for reviewing Pulse Survey data reports (if available) with their Program Liaison, and communicating with the Liaison if there are staffing changes (new hires, exits, or leaves of three weeks or greater).
How is the Program related to other County Initiatives?
The Performance & Development Program is closely related to a number of other County Initiatives. It fits under the Agile Organization initiative in its focus on continuous organization improvement, and it is run by a Management Fellow, an Agile Work Delivery position. The Pilot is also related to the Employee Engagement initiative. In addition to both being run by the Organizational Development team, both are grounded in psychological research on how active feedback and great days at work create great results. Performance & Development Program participants are still expected to complete their annual Employee Engagement Survey. Lastly, the Performance & Development Program builds on the experience with the Collaborative Performance Management System initiative in how to design flexible technical systems and create scalable behavior changes.
What happens to my Annual Review?
Program Participants are not required to complete the traditional Annual Review process, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still discussing and reviewing performance with your supervisor. Instead, the Program focuses on taking all the feedback you would have gotten at the end of a review cycle, and giving it to you in real-time throughout the year so you are better able to take steps towards improvement. We are developing new documentation/systems to help capture a summary of those feedback conversations for the purposes of a civil-service file, regulatory requirements, or promotional opportunities. But for now, you should meet with your supervisor individually to discuss if you would like a written record of performance.
Participants with ongoing performance problems will be removed from the Performance & Development Program, placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, and follow that cycle of traditional reviews until they reach satisfactory performance and can be returned to Program, or other steps taken.
What is a Pulse Survey?
Pulse Surveys are designed to check the “pulse” of the county by letting employees give regular, anonymous, feedback. For the first year of our pilot, we will be using a vendor called TINYpulse to send you questions every other week (every week for the Library), with some schedule adjustment around holidays. TINYpulse surveys have four main components which you can also learn more about here:
- The question: mostly frequently a 1-10 scale, sometimes Yes/No, open-response, or multiple choice, responses always anonymous.
- Additional comments: this is where you can give context or elaborate on your response to the question, responses always anonymous.
- Cheers for Peers: a way to recognize someone for going above and beyond and supporting our collaborative county culture, the person is always notified they received a Cheers, your name is included by default but can be made anonymous.
- Suggestions: this is where you can give suggestions or ideas to improve policies/programs, suggestions are more likely to be acted upon if they are local to your department and include a recommendation, rather than a complaint about an individual. Suggestions are not currently active for the Library. Suggestions are always anonymous, and are reviewed by Pilot Liaisons and department leadership.
How do I answer the Pulse Survey?
Our Pulse Survey will arrive in your email inbox every other Wednesday (every Wednesday for Library, for new participants your first survey may arrive a different day but then will follow the normal cadence). From your email, directly click on how you’d like to respond (1-10, Y/N) and then it will take you to your unique TINYpulse survey page.
Alternatively, you can download the TINYpulse app for iOS or Android to answer surveys directly from your mobile phone, this may be a better option for participants not regularly at a desktop work station but is not a requirement.
Survey questions remain open until the next one comes out, so if you received a question on Wednesday, January 10, it remains open until the next one on Wednesday, January 24 (the Library has questions every week so this would be January 17). You can access and answer the question by clicking the link in the original email or the follow-up reminders. But, try to answer questions sooner rather than later, and get into the habit of responding to them every other Wednesday. You cannot answer past questions once a new one comes out.
Are Pulse Surveys really anonymous?
Yes! Protecting your anonymity is extremely important and we want your honest feedback. To protect anonymity, supervisors will not see responses until at least 5 people respond to a pulse survey question. Any response to the pulse survey question and any suggestion you make is completely anonymous forever. The exception are Cheers for Peers which are public by default, but can be anonymous if you’d prefer. You can learn more by checking out our flyer on anonymity, or TINYpulse’s commitment to anonymity.
What happens with Pulse Survey responses?
Pulse Survey responses are aggregated and shared in reports with supervisors and department leadership. If a given team has at least 5 survey respondents, the supervisor can see a report showing their team’s average score on a particular question, but not the score distribution, additional comments, or suggestions. At the department/division level, the Pilot Liaison can see survey average scores, distributions (how many 10’s, 9’s, 8’s…), additional comments, or suggestions, but not which team comments or suggestions came from. These reports are then used to track the success of 1:1 and goal conversations, identify areas individuals or supervisors need support, and track progress over time.
You can see an example of the type of report a department or supervisor may receive here.
How do Cheers for Peers work?
Cheers for Peers is a way to give recognition to coworkers, employees, or supervisors whose positive contribution you want to celebrate. You can send a Cheers to anyone participating in the pilot, and since early 2018 to anyone with an email address. The circles with initials are just examples of who you could send Cheers to, you can manually type in any email address, then the person will be emailed a link to view the Cheers you sent.
In early 2018 Cheers for Peers also added a feature to attach GIFs to your cheers, just click the “Include a GIF” button to open a searchable library then include a fun animated image/meme with your cheers.
How do Suggestions work?
Suggestions are an opportunity for participants to share their ideas of department needs, suggested improvements, or other issue they do not feel comfortable discussing directly with their supervisor. Anonymous suggestions are reviewed by Program Liaisons and department leadership, and may be shared with other managers, but will never identify who gave the suggestion. Liaisons may respond to suggestions in the TINYpulse system, in which case the original suggester will get an email notification the liaison responded, and then have the opportunity to reply and have a back and forth conversation where the suggester is 100% anonymous throughout. Due to time constraints not every Suggestion can be responded to, Suggestions which include a proposed solution are more likely to receive a response.
What are the best practices for 1:1 Check-Ins?
There is no perfect formula for a 1:1 check-in, some people may get more out of a highly structured check-in with an agenda emailed in advance, some may prefer a more free-flowing conversation to address whatever is no the top of mind.
The only hard rule for 1:1's is that they should happen at least once every two weeks, more frequently as needed. We have a list of resources available for 1:1's here, and there is also a class to help supervisors have effective 1:1's. Some general guidelines: conversations should be at least 15 minutes in order to share all relevant information, many supervisors report taking 30 minutes or more; conversations should be in private, whether in an office, conference room, or outside location; and conversations should be two-way, with the employee having enough time to ask questions or for support as needed.
What are best practices for Goal Conversations?
There is no perfect formula for a successful Goal Conversation, it can vary widely depending on preferred communication styles, years in position, and type of position. Generally speaking, supervisors and employees should meet to set, discuss, and review progress on goals at least once every six months, but many will do it more frequently than that, see Goal Conversation resources here. The intention is for this to be a longer conversation than the more regular 1:1 check-in, with more space for reflection on both parts and coaching by the supervisor. Generally, employees should have a mix of 3-5 Performance (complete Project X by Date Y, with success measured by criteria Z) and Development (graduate formal education program, do a Work Out of Class to learn supervisory skills) goals.
One method for which can be helpful for setting effective goals is the SMART system, learn about SMART Goals here, but this is not currently required. There is also flexibility for how you track goals, if you'd like to use Workday check out this guide, if another system works for you and your supervisor that is fine too.
The most important consideration with goals is that they need to be agreed to by both the employee and supervisor. Your supervisor will probably have priorities based on their goal-setting process, if you are unsure you can meet those expectations or have a different priority based on your experience that should be communicated immediately so you can work together to develop a plan. Goals do not need to strictly align with higher-level cascading goals, but they do need to support the County/department mission in a way your supervisor supports.
How are 1:1 Check-In's and Goal Conversations tracked?
Currently, 1:1 and Goal Conversations are tracked through TINYpulse and survey questions where participants report if the conversations are happening, if they're effective, and how they could be improved. The responsibility to schedule and ensure 1:1's happen regularly is shared by both the employee and supervisor. If a Pilot department/team does not appear to be consistently holding 1:1 conversations, and administrator interventions do not spur improvements, they may be removed from the pilot and returned to Annual Reviews.