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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 12, 2021

Civilians getting a new performance management system 

The Coast Guard is preparing to launch another great improvement to performance management for civilian employees.

In 2008, civilian GS supervisors successfully transitioned from the Excellence, Achievement, and Recognition System (EARS) to the Department of Homeland Security Performance Management Program (DHS PMP). The Coast Guard is now preparing to transition all GS employees to DHS PMP. At the same time, the service will launch ePerformance, an automated performance management tool through FedHR.

This transition begins for a small group of GS employees in April 2021, and for most GS employees in April 2022. Specific training will take place for employees and supervisors prior to implementation.

“We think civilian GS employees will really appreciate the new system,” said program manager Brooke Lawson. “It will help GS employees and supervisors have better communication around performance goals, standards and ratings. It will also be easier to use, since it will all be electronic.”

Here is some key information on the DHS PMP and ePerformance transition. 

When do we start? 
Implementation of the DHS PMP and ePerformance will roll out in two phases: 

  • Phase 1: Takes effect on April 1, 2021 and transitions all GS employees in CG-1 (not including PSC) and Base Seattle. 
  • Phase 2: Takes effect on April 1, 2022 and transitions all remaining GS employees. 

Who is covered? 
This initiative covers all GS employees, supervisory and non-supervisory. Supervisory GS employees will remain covered by DHS PMP and will transition into ePerformance in the designated phases. Federal Wage System (FWS) employees will remain under the current EARS performance management program and will not be placed in the ePerformance tool. Senior Executive Service and Academy Faculty employees will also remain under their current performance programs and will not be moved to the ePerformance tool at this time. We have completed all labor obligations and we have been testing the e-performance system to prepare for implementation. 
What kind of training will be available? 

  • Virtual training will precede implementation for supervisors and GS employees. Training and resources include: 
  • Virtual training modules on DHS PMP and ePerformance will be scheduled for employees. 
  • Job aids and recorded tutorials will be available for key process steps. 
  • Resources will be available on a new Civilian Performance Management CG Portal page (training, job aids, tutorials, other resources). 
  • Internal Management Support POCs will provide support within your organization. 

Why are we transitioning from EARS to DHS/PMP? 
DHS requires all components to implement this performance management program for all GS employees. DHS PMP offers enhancements to Coast Guard performance management: 

  • Invites employees to engage with supervisors by emphasizing the 4 “C”s—Collaboration, Connection, Clarity, Communication—throughout the performance management cycle. 
  • Replaces the 3 level EARS rating system with a 4 level rating system, which allows for more differentiation and accuracy in performance ratings. 
  • Aligns employees’ goals with USCG strategic plans. 
  • With the increased communication on goals and performance standards, provides employees more clarity on performance expectations and performance ratings. 
  • Offers employees more performance award levels based on the standard award algorithm. 

Why are we transitioning from paper-based processes to ePerformance? 
ePerformance will improve employees’ experiences with the performance management process by: 

  • Replacing paper-based tools and providing easy-to-use templates, automated processes, and electronic signing capabilities. 
  • Capturing real-time changes to performance plans and enabling employee access to their electronic cases. 
  • Improving tracking, record keeping, accountability, and compliance with performance management requirements. 

What are the main differences between the old program and the new program? 
See the table below, which compares the programmatic features of EARS and DHS PMP. 

Comparison of EARS and DHS PMP
Rating Cycle April 1 – March 31  April 1 – March 31 
Rating Levels  3
Required Progress Reviews  2
Form  CG-3430.8R (9/18); paper, PDF based  Varies based on series and grade; electronic 
Plan Components: Competencies  Yes, standard across CG; select minimum 4  Yes, 1-7 goals with associated performance standards 
Plan Components: Goals  No  Yes, 1-7 goals with associated performance standards 
Plan Components: Strategic Alignment  No  Yes; goals must be aligned to CG strategic priority/goal and can also be aligned to a unit or supervisor goal 
Plan Components: Workplan  Yes No 
Plan Components: Critical Elements  Core Competencies are critical elements. Fails to Meet on any Competency results in overall Fails to Meet Rating and warrants performance improvement actions such as a PIP/PDP.  Competencies and Goals are critical elements. Unacceptable on any Competency or Goal results in an overall Unacceptable rating and warrants performance improvement actions such as a PIP/PDP. 
Final Rating  Exceeds, Meets, Fails to Meet based on rating each selected competency; must be approved by Approving Official (2nd line supervisor) and Rating Official (1st line supervisor)  Achieved Excellence, Exceeded Expectations, Achieved Expectations, Unacceptable based on rating each competency and each goal using the rating calculator to determine final rating score and summary rating level (40% Competencies; 60% Goals); must be approved by Reviewing Official (2nd line supervisor) 
Performance Awards  Based on negotiated Standard Algorithm  Based on negotiated Standard Algorithm 
Records Management  Paper or PDF files transmitted to HR for scanning/uploading to eOPF Performance Folder  Available to print PDF from system; final records will be maintained electronically in FedHR Performance Management case 
Tracking/Metrics  None  Detailed metrics available for establishment of plan, completion of mid-cycle review, and issuance of final rating 


DHS Performance Management Resources

  • More detailed information - including specific dates, trainings, and resources - will be made available as the implementation moves forward.
  • If you have any questions, please contact your servicing HR Specialist. 

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