Labor & Employee Relations FAQs

Questions? Find answers and general information quickly about New Beginnings and the Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program using the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) included below.


“New Beginnings” is a cooperative labor-management effort involving the Department and a broad array of DOD employees and national-level union representatives, to design and implement significant Human Resource practices and policies, including implementation of a new Department-wide Performance Management and Appraisal Program. New Beginnings also encompasses reforms in the areas of Hiring Flexibilities, Training and Development, and Workforce Incentives.

Through the New Beginnings efforts, the Department is striving to institutionalize a shared culture of high performance through greater employee engagement. New Beginnings will also work to improve capabilities in recruiting, developing, and rewarding our dynamic and effective workforce.

NDAA 2010 amended section 9902 of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.), to provide the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) authority to:
Promulgate agency rules and regulations, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), providing for:

  • A new performance appraisal system that is fair, credible, and transparent; links awards and other performance-based actions to employee performance appraisal; and provides for regular on-going performance feedback throughout the appraisal cycle; development of attractive career paths; and development of employee performance assistance plans;
  • Redesigned procedures for use within DOD to make appointments to positions within the competitive service in a way that supports the mission, managers, and applicants;
  • Establish, at the Secretary’s discretion, a fund to be known as the DOD Civilian Workforce Incentive Fund to incentivize DOD employees based on team or individual performance, and to attract or retain employees with particular or superior qualifications or abilities.

The Department has made significant progress on training for supervisors and managers, as well as on steps to improve the skills and advisory capabilities of its human resource practitioner workforce. To do so, the Department is expanding training opportunities and increasing functional competency through the use of the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Human Resources University (HRU), knowledge transfer programs, and an increased focus on Human Resources (HR) functional training. Additionally, DOD Instruction 1400.25, Volume 410: Training, Education, and Professional Development Plans, has been published, which covers performance assistance at the employee-level through Individual Development Plans. Volume 410 also addresses performance assistance in the aggregate, i.e., through Component-level training, education and professional development plans that will be established in tandem with the Department’s 2016-2021 strategic workforce planning cycle.

Performance Management Program

The Defense Performance Management and Appraisal program will cover the majority of the Department’s civilian workforce; however, the Department is currently reviewing authorities granted to cover certain groups of employees under other performance management programs. For example, Senior Executive Service employees, those covered by the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System, and Demonstration Lab employees will not be covered by the new program because their performance programs are developed under separate legal authorities. Final determinations with respect to coverage will be made prior to implementation.

A three-level appraisal program was selected to implement across the Department because it:

  • Is consistent with the legislative requirement of the NDAA 2010, to provide “[a] fair, credible, and transparent system for linking employee bonuses and other performance-based actions to performance appraisals of employees;
  • Promotes a high-performing culture by making meaningful distinctions in performance that will be acknowledged formally in the rating process and will be used to inform other personnel-based decisions, including not only awards and recognition, but also promotions, training, and developmental opportunities; and
  • Provides the ability to retain high performing employees to meet the Department’s mission by granting greater service credit for top performers during reductions-in-force.

Deploying a Department-wide Performance Management and Appraisal Program across the Components for the vast majority of civilian employees will enable seamless transition of employees throughout the Department during career progression and workforce restructuring. The program will also link organizational mission and goals to individual performance plans, ensure regular feedback during the appraisal cycle between employees and supervisors, and result in increased employee engagement, morale, and effectiveness.

The DOD Labor-Management Roundtable engages in pre-decisional involvement (PDI), as well as national consultation rights (NCR) notice and discussion, and is the means by which the national unions provide input and raise concerns for the Department’s consideration prior to finalizing new policy that impacts bargaining unit employees. The Labor-Management Roundtable Implementation Working Group was established by the DOD Roundtable to continue the engagement of the unions in the development and implementation of the personnel authority decisions.

The Department, through continued collaboration with key stakeholders such as the Office of Personnel Management, labor representatives, and Component leadership, will finalize regulations required to implement the requirements of section 9902 of title 5, United States Code, for a “[a] fair, credible, and transparent system for linking employee bonuses and other performance-based actions to performance appraisals of employees.” In addition, the Department is developing the implementation and training plans for the Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program.

Department plans to begin a phased implementation of the three-level Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program in April 2016.

In support of the implementation of the Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program, the Department is developing an implementation plan including a holistic approach to ensure the Department effectively communicates and trains all stakeholders on the mechanics of the new program, and also the associated culture changes that will be required for successful implementation. Additionally, we are planning train-the-trainer events prior to the Department’s phased implementation, to ensure DOD Components are fully prepared to disseminate training and messaging that is consistent across the Department.

The change to the Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program will impact the majority of DOD civilian employees across each of the Department’s components to include General Schedule and Federal Wage System employees.

Traditionally, employees receive recognition and rewards at the end of the rating cycle. The Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program will emphasize and promote timely recognition and reward of employee contributions throughout the rating cycle. Continuous feedback is key, and no longer just about the “365th day.”

Significant progress has been made on the DOD Performance Management and Appraisal Program’s automated tool, MyPerformance, which will accompany the new program. In March 2015, Component and labor representatives participated in formal testing of the MyPerformance tool, providing valuable feedback on its content and functionality.

MyPerformance is available in within MyBiz+ a CAC enabled site, under Key Services. To access MyBiz+ visit: MyBiz+

MyPerformance is intended for use by all employees covered by DPMAP with computer access. Those that do not have computer access can use the DD Form 2906.

The Trusted Agent role is intended to assist the Rating Official with actions in MyPerformance. The Trusted Agent does not perform the rating function/duties for the Rating Official. The Trusted Agent can input the Rating Official feedback; move the performance plan from the Rater to the Higher Level Rater (if required) and to the employee when appropriate.

No. Ratings are not transferred from MyPerformance to the eOPF. Data elements from MyPerformance are transferred to DCPDS where reports can be generated. DoDI 1400.25 V431 Section 3.2.i. “Transfer of Employee Performance Files. When an employee transfers to another DoD Component or is assigned to another organization within the Component, the organization, in accordance with Sections 430.209 and 293 of Title 5, CFR, will transfer with the employee: (1) The most recent ratings of record as required by Paragraph 3.2.h. of this volume. (2) Any subsequent performance ratings.” For additional information on transferring records visit the Guide to Personnel Recordkeeping, Chapter 7: Transferring Records.

Yes. Performance Plans and Final Performance Appraisals can be printed from MyPerformance on to the DD Form 2906.

MyJournal is a feature within MyPerformance for employee use only. Employees can add notes and comments regarding their performance and accomplishments toward meeting their performance elements and standards in MyJournal. All information in MyJournal is viewable only by the employee. Using MyJounal throughout the year makes providing employee input at the Final Performance Appraisal Discussion easy by allowing employees to copy from MyJournal and paste content into the employee input field for submission to their rating official.

DPMAP encourages employee input and upward feedback throughout the year (e.g., during performance discussions and progress reviews with their supervisor). Employee input is most important when planning performance and at Appraisal time.

No. Performance discussions are less formal than a progress review or final performance appraisal discussion. Performance discussions often occur in passing as the supervisor or employee make a quick inquiry regarding an aspect of the employees’ assignment (e.g., How did things go in yesterday’s meeting? OR Were you able to discuss your project with the point of contact? OR Are there any resources you need to continue making progress?).

Employees receive ratings for their performance elements and standards as well as an overall rating of record at the end of the appraisal cycle. Ratings are not provided at performance discussions or at progress reviews.

Supervisors are only required to provide a performance narrative at the final performance appraisal. Narratives are not provided at performance discussions or at progress reviews.

Progress reviews are initiated by the supervisor/rating official.

If the supervisor has observed the employees performance for at least 30 days, the outbound supervisor can provide a narrative statement for the inbound supervisor to review and edit, if necessary.

If the employee has performed their elements and standards of an established performance plan for a minimum of 90 days, they may be entitled to a rating of record. Please refer to DoDI 1400.25 Volume 431 Section 3.8. Specially-Situated Employees for additional information.

If reorganization occurs during the rating cycle, it is important to review the reporting structure for changes in the rating official and employee relationships. Also, a review of duties may be necessary to determine if changes to the Performance Plan need to be made. Remember, if changes to the performance elements and standards are made, employee input is highly encourages AND all changes must be communicated to the employee. When both the supervisor and the duties are different and the employee has performed their elements and standards for a minimum of 90 days, a rating of record may need to be established for the outgoing performance plan and a new performance plan established.

Hiring Flexibilities

The Department is committed to implementing effective means of recruiting, compensating, and incentivizing the workforce in order to shape an effective workforce for today and into the future. The sound use of workforce incentives depends on a foundation that includes strategic planning for the organization and its workforce to ensure that incentives are used effectively to meet recruitment and retention needs. The Department continues to focus on its strategic workforce planning efforts, now fully integrating more than 600 occupations, including crafts and trades occupations, covering approximately 735,000 employees into a Functional Community construct based on similar job and occupational families.

On May 28, 2015, the Department launched the “Hiring Manager’s Toolkit,” which serves as a consolidated “one stop shop,” providing access to tip sheets, guides, checklists, and pamphlets to assist hiring managers with the hiring process.

The Hiring Manager’s Toolkit addresses the four key phases of the hiring process: Planning to Hire, Attracting the Candidate, Making Hiring Decisions and Shaping Early Experiences, and promotes collaboration between the hiring manager and Human Resources professionals. The toolkit provides an all-encompassing resource for hiring managers, and is comprised of an online collection of guides, checklists, quick references, pamphlets, and tip sheets for the hiring manager and Human Resources staff. Here are a few examples of the guides included in the toolkit: Guide to Workforce Planning, Job Analysis Guide, Hiring Options Guide, Guide to Veterans Hiring, Interview Guidelines, and the Onboarding Guide.

Hiring managers, supervisors, team leads, human resources practitioners and employees will benefit from utilizing the Hiring Manager’s Toolkit.

DOD employees are able to easily access the Hiring Manager’s Toolkit on the DCPAS website using their Common Access Card. The toolkit can be accessed at:
Hiring Manager's toolkit

The Hiring Manager’s Toolkit is CAC-enabled, and therefore only accessible to DOD employees with CACs.

The DOD Hiring Manager’s Toolkit is a living tool which will have periodic updates.

Yes. The information within the Hiring Manager’s Toolkit is applicable to managers in all agencies within DOD. For your Component specific guidance/policy contact your HR Professional

Training and Development

Any DOD employee can register for, and take training on, OPM’s HRU training portal. Much of the HR training available through HRU is free, while some training is available for a fee.

The Department has also incorporated new automated enhancements into the DOD hiring process, successfully implementing the majority of the automation initiatives proposed by the original Design Teams. The Department has now fully migrated to USA Staffing for its hiring processes, with automation improvements now that include additional status notifications to applicants, and improved ways in which applicants can navigate to and view job vacancy announcements. The Department is also making full use of the robust USAJOBS synonym dictionary to assist with keyword searches and a map search capability to assist with location searches, improving the job seeker experience for DOD's Federal Wage System (FWS) applicants.

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