General Order 35.1
PERFORMANCE REVIEW AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Last Revised: 11/1/03

SUBJECT: PERFORMANCE REVIEW AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

This order consists of the following numbered sections:

35.1.1    Philosophy

35.1.2    Review system

35.1.3    Required annually

35.1.4    Probationary employees

35.1.5    Review criteria

35.1.6    Unsatisfactory performance

35.1.7    Explanatory comments

35.1.8    System accountability

35.1.9    Performance and professional development counseling

35.1.10    Employee signature and response

35.1.11    Distribution of records

35.1.12    Appeal process

35.1.13    Retention of records

35.1.14    Supervisor training

35.1.1 Philosophy

I.    Performance review

Performance reviews are done to assist employees at all levels in achieving success in their jobs. Reviews provide timely, constructive feedback that encourage employee growth, learning and development and enhance the Department’s overall quality of customer service delivery. The review system, while it has formal elements, is a non-adversarial, on going process of communication and feedback that examines how effectively an employee performs his/her professional duties, as well as how well he/she supports the vision and values of the Department.

The review system is designed to include formal times for each employee to meet with his/her reviewing supervisor, plus regular opportunities for communication throughout the period the employee spends with his/her supervisor. The system allows for upward feedback from employees to managers.

The Department believes that well-trained supervisors who are held accountable for conducting quality reviews best implement a success-oriented review system.

The Department believes that the performance review process should communicate community values and expectations, as well as those of the Department.

II.    Professional development

To sustain high quality service and meet the changing needs of customers, employees are encouraged to develop their careers. The Department supports employees who want to learn and become more valuable to the organization through personal and professional enrichment opportunities. The Department encourages the development of the “whole person” and wants employees both to perform their best and explore their limits.

While professional development is inherently the responsibility of each employee, the Department is committed to participating with employees in a process that is designed to reasonably assist each individual employee pursue his/her professional goals. In this context, reasonable assistance with individual career goals presumes that an appropriate balance between opportunities for professional growth and focus on regular duties is maintained.

35.1.2 Review system

I.    The Department’s performance review process focuses on the following:

A.    For employees -

1.    Acknowledging actions that make a positive difference in the community and that reflect a commitment to improvement of the community’s quality of life;

2.    Acknowledging the modeling of behaviors that demonstrate respect for the law and respect for the rights of individuals;

3.    Acknowledging creativity and thoughtful risk-taking;

4.    Acknowledging problem-solving;

5.    Acknowledging sensitivity to diversity and attention to the special needs of specific segments of the community - e.g., juveniles, minorities, etc.;

6.    Acknowledging the building and maintaining of collaborative partnerships in the community;

7.    Acknowledging attention to identified community concerns;

8.    Acknowledging attention to, and expansion of, professional knowledge and skills;

B.    For supervisors, all of the items listed previously, and -

1.    Acknowledging facilitation, coaching and mentoring of employees;

2.    Acknowledging modeling of expected behaviors;

3.    Acknowledging judicious delegation of responsibility and authority to employees;

4.    Acknowledging effective support, guidance and coordination of employee problem-solving efforts;

5.    Acknowledging the encouragement of creativity and thoughtful risk-taking and the removal of internal obstacles to that creativity and risk-taking;

6.    Acknowledging effective communication of Department values, standards and expectations to employees and the community;

7.    Acknowledging fair and effective leadership (both in the Department and in the community);

8.    Acknowledging use of community input to guide unit activities and assess unit success.

9.    Acknowledging the handling of concerns and complaints (including assigned professional conduct review investigations) in a fair, timely and professional manner.

C.    For managers, all of the items listed previously, and -

1.    Acknowledging creative visioning;

2.    Acknowledging the efficient, effective and responsible use of resources;

3.    Acknowledging actions that contribute to a positive work environment for employees;

4.    Acknowledging the building and maintaining of effective working relationships with elected officials, City management staff and community leaders;

5.    Acknowledging the use of community input as an essential basis for planning and resource allocation;

III.    Performance reviews defined

Formally, performance reviews are written documents which describe the on-going communication between an employee and his/her supervisors during a set review period. Less formally, performance review is the on- going communication between an employee and his/her supervisors regarding how well they perform the duties of their respective jobs.

Review documents may be used by the Department to assist in promotion decisions, special assignments, transfers, training requests and other such decisions where an employee’s past performance may indicate his/her future ability to perform a new set of tasks. Review documents may also be used in the employee motivation/discipline process.

IV.    Formal system elements

A.    Performance review documents - The performance review documents provide the basis for performance review and include the basic written record of the annual review process. The review documents consist of the following parts:

1.    Documents used for reference only:

a.    The current job task description for the position of the employee being reviewed;

b.    The Department’s ethics, teamwork and customer service standards;

2.    Documents used actively in the performance review:

a.    Supervisor input document (completed by the reviewing supervisor, based on information provided by all of the supervisors for whom the employee worked during the year being reviewed);

b.    Employee input document (completed by the employee);

c.    Employee response (optional).

B.    Professional development planning sheet (updated by the employee and his/her supervisor during the performance review meeting).

C.    Performance review meeting - The performance review meeting is the setting in which the employee and supervisor discuss performance review documents. The performance review meeting is private, uninterrupted time for dialog between the employee and supervisor regarding performance expectations, actual job performance and setting of career goals and objectives.

IV.    Informal system elements

A.    Team meetings - Supervisors meet with their assigned work teams at appropriate times to assure that all employees are aware of performance expectations.

1.    Each Patrol supervisor conducts a meeting with his/her work team early in each shift rotation. During this meeting performance expectations are clarified and employees are given ample opportunity to discuss performance-related issues and ask questions.

2.    Each civilian and specialty unit supervisor conducts a meeting with his/her work group during the first quarter of each calendar year. During this meeting performance expectations are clarified and employees are given ample opportunity to discuss performance-related issues and ask questions.

3.    Team meetings throughout the year also provide a forum for team members to assess their collective performance and explore ways in which service can be enhanced, both individually and as a work group.

B.    Individual coaching and counseling - Individual coaching and counseling on performance-related or professional development issues may occur at any time. Individual sessions may be initiated by employees or supervisors.

C.    Impromptu discussions/comments - Supervisors are encouraged to provide employees with impromptu rewards and/or advice on performance improvement. Employees, likewise, are encouraged to provide supervisors with constructive feedback at any time.

V.    Feedback to supervisors

1.    Employees are encouraged to provide input regarding supervisor performance in two ways:

a.    By discussing supervisor performance directly with the involved supervisor either at an impromptu meeting, a timely individual session or during the annual performance review meeting;

b.    By completing a Supervisor Feedback Form and submitting it either to the reviewing supervisor during the performance review meeting, or directly to the involved supervisor’s manager.

2.    Supervisor Feedback Forms are forwarded to the involved supervisor’s reviewing manager for consideration in the supervisor’s performance review process.

35.1.3 Required annually

Each non-probationary employee in the Department receives a formal performance review at least once each calendar year. The regular annual performance review is completed within sixty (60) days following the anniversary date of the employee’s appointment to his/her current rank/position, and covers job performance occurring only during the twelve (12) months immediately prior to the employee’s last anniversary date.

35.1.4 Probationary employees

Each employee on probationary status receives a documented performance coaching and counseling session at least once each month during the period of probation.

35.1.5 Review criteria

I.    The criteria for performance reviews are always specific to the job tasks and responsibilities of the actual position(s) held by each employee during the review period.

II.    Adhering to Department values and to established teamwork, ethics and customer service standards are performance expectations specific to all job classes.

35.1.6 Unsatisfactory performance

Unsatisfactory performance both impedes job success and adversely affects customer service. The Department strives to eliminate unsatisfactory performance behaviors and restore employee job success using the following procedures:

I.    Unsatisfactory performance behavior is addressed in a timely manner by supervisors - immediately, whenever possible. In some situations, however, a supervisor may delay response for a reasonable period of time to permit a more appropriate environment for discussion of unsatisfactory performance behavior.

II.    Unsatisfactory performance behavior is expected to be immediately and permanently corrected by the employee.

III.    A supervisor may deal with unsatisfactory performance behavior informally when appropriate, and when the supervisor finds the employee amenable and responsive to that approach.

IV.    A supervisor may deal more formally with unsatisfactory performance behavior when more formal handling is appropriate, or when the supervisor finds the employee either not amenable or unresponsive to an informal approach.

V.    The following may be documented in annual performance review documents and are factors that can adversely affect career choices and/or opportunities:

A.    Inability to correct specific unsatisfactory performance behaviors;

B.    Unwillingness to address unsatisfactory performance behaviors;

C.    Failure to address unsatisfactory performance behaviors in a timely manner;

D.    Repetition of a specific unsatisfactory performance behavior (i.e., failure to permanently correct an unsatisfactory performance behavior);

E.    Engaging in several individual incidents of different unsatisfactory performance behaviors;

F.    Engaging in any incident of serious misconduct.

G.    Engaging in any breach of safety or policy that, in the opinion of the reviewing supervisor, warrants documentation in the annual performance review.

35.1.7 Explanatory comments

I.    Generally, reviewing supervisors are expected to provide employees with ample explanation of all observations contained in annual review documents.

II.    Specifically, reviewing supervisors are expected to provide detailed explanations in annual review documents for any observations that reflect either unsatisfactory performance or exceptionally high quality performance.

35.1.8 Accountability

I.    Performance review documents prepared by first-level supervisors are approved by the reviewing supervisor’s mid-manager and division manager before being forwarded to the Chief’s office for final review and filing.

II.    Performance review documents prepared by mid-managers are approved by the appropriate division manager before being forwarded to the Chief’s office for final review and filing.

III.    Performance review documents prepared by division managers are approved by the Chief of Police before being filed.

IV.    All performance review documents are reviewed by the Chief of Police prior to filing in City and Department personnel files.

V.    The Chief of Police holds division managers accountable for the quality and timely completion of annual review documents in their respective divisions.

VI.    Division managers hold reviewing supervisors accountable for compliance with the spirit and substance of the performance review system.

35.1.9 Performance and professional development counseling

At the performance review meeting, the reviewing supervisor counsels the employee regarding the following:

I.    Results of the performance review;

II.    Professional development options;

III.    If necessary, clarification of performance expectations and/or Department values and goals;

IV.    If required, a specific performance improvement plan. (NOTE: a performance improvement plan is a written “blueprint” intended to assist an employee in correcting unsatisfactory behavior and/or making other critical performance improvements. There is no “official” format for a performance improvement plan, and one may be crafted in any format a supervisor believes is likely to be most effective in helping the employee achieve success. Performance improvement plans are not a part of the Department’s discipline system.)

35.1.10 Employee signature and response

I.    Each employee is required to sign his/her annual review documents to indicate that he/she has read the documents and has had the opportunity to discuss the documents with the reviewing supervisor. This signature shall not be construed, in any way, as agreement or disagreement with the content of the annual review documents.

II.    As a part of the annual review process, each employee is afforded the opportunity to submit, in writing, a response to any part of the review documents that he/she feels is either inaccurate or incomplete. Such responses must be delivered to the reviewing supervisor no more than thirty (30) calendar days following the employee’s annual review meeting.

III.    Employee responses to annual review documents are attached to the original review documents prior to forwarding to the next level for oversight review.

IV.    Employee responses to annual review documents are filed, in total and unedited, along with the annual review documents, in City and Department personnel files.

35.1.11 Distribution of records

Annual review documents are distributed as follows:

I.    Originals are forwarded to the City Human Resources Department;

II.    A copy of all originals is filed in Department personnel files;

III.    A copy of all originals is provided to the employee.

35.1.12 Appeal process

The performance review system is both intended and designed to be non-adversarial in nature. A formal appeal process is not appropriate in such a system. In place of a formal appeal process, each employee is provided with the ability to file an unedited written response to the content of an annual review to assure that differing viewpoints remaining after a performance review meeting can be reflected in official documentation [see 35.1.10].

35.1.13 Retention of records

I.    Annual performance review documents for current employees are maintained in City and Department personnel files for as long as they remain in continuous service to the Department.

II.    Annual performance review documents are maintained in a former employees’ personnel file for employees who retire, resign or are terminated from service. Such files are retained for a period of three (3) years following an employee’s separation from service.

III.    The Administrative Secretary is the custodian of Department personnel files.

IV.    The City Human Resources Director is the custodian of City personnel files.

V.    All personnel files are kept in a locked file.

VI.    Any employee may view the contents of his/her Department personnel file at any time during regular business hours (i.e., 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, except holidays), subject to the following rules:

A.    Requests to view a Department personnel file are made with the Administrative Secretary or the employee’s supervisor or division manager;

B.    Department personnel files shall not be removed from the Administrative Secretary’s work area without permission of the Administrative Secretary or his/her designee;

C.    Supervisors are exempt from these rules, insofar as they may view and/or temporarily remove the personnel files of subordinates pursuant to fulfilling their assigned duties.

35.1.14 Performance and professional development counseling - supervisor training

All supervisors receive training in performance and professional development counseling. The training regimen includes, but is not limited to, instruction in the following topic areas:

I.    Department philosophy regarding performance review, professional development and training;

II.    Laws, rules and regulations applicable to performance review;

III.    General counseling and behavior modification techniques;

IV.    Knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) assessment techniques;

V.    Supplemental training opportunities (both within the Department and from other sources);

VI.    Formal educational opportunities and applicable incentive programs (if any);

VII.    Workforce diversity issues related to performance review and professional development.