A federal government agency had recently received notice that its performance plans were not in compliance with Departmental performance management regulations.

Three standard performance plans were used to cover approximately 400 employees, representing about half of the agency’s workforce:

  • One of the standard plans was used for employees that ranged in federal grade level from GS-5 to GS-12, representing a wide range of professional experience and corresponding job performance expectations
  • Standard plans were used for employees with similar job titles but different job responsibilities and performance expectations
  • Employees with the standard plans were located across the United States in 12 field offices, with each office having slightly different job responsibilities for its employees

Employees were confused by the performance plans because the standards included in those plans were vague and did not reflect their actual job responsibilities.


We leveraged MineLight’s ADVANCE framework to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the current performance plans:

  • As a part of analysis, we assessed the plans against the Office of Personnel Management Human Capital Accountability and Assessment Framework and specific Departmental Regulation
  • We also conducted interviews with agency employee’s impacted by the plans to capture their feedback on the plans and the agency’s performance management practices

We reviewed key findings from the analysis with senior management and conducted an executive-level tutorial on important aspects of the Departmental regulations, clearly identifying required aspects of the performance plans as well as areas in which the agency had some flexibility.

For each of the three plans, we established a working group comprised of agency subject matter experts (SME’s) to rebuild the plan, focusing on developing performance standards that were aligned, achievable, quantifiable and measurable.

To provide a balance between management’s need to have a common set of performance standards across the agency and the reality of having a workforce with highly diverse job responsibilities and performance expectations, we developed an approach that enabled supervisors to quickly and effectively choose a set of performance standards that were aligned with the responsibilities and experience levels of individual staff members.


After implementation of the rebuilt performance plans, supervisors were able to quickly choose the standards that were aligned to the performance expectations of individual employees.

The new performance plans brought the agency into compliance with Departmental performance management regulations and improved employee morale by providing a performance management mechanism that accurately highlighted their performance and professional accomplishments.