OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced the Attorney General’s Office will be the first state agency to receive confirmation from the state Dept. of Personnel for its performance-based recognition program for general service employees.
“Attorneys and staff at the Washington State Attorney General’s Office are committed to meeting high standards, serving the state with dedication and accountability,” McKenna said. “That is our baseline.
“Every day, there are employees who go the extra mile, reaching beyond their day-to-day job duties to provide truly outstanding service to the state of Washington,” he said. “Performance recognition helps us identify and encourage those top-performers.”
Under its performance management program, the Attorney General’s Office is conducting an enhanced system of performance evaluations of all permanent employees and will provide recognition awards to attorneys and staff who meet or exceed specific award criteria, encouraging a high-level of accountability and productivity.
The Attorney General’s Office worked closely with the State Dept. of Personnel and the Governor’s Office to develop a fair and accountable plan.
“Government accountability is a key element of Gov. Gregoire’s management agenda,” said Department of Personnel Director Eva Santos. “Confirmation is granted only to agencies with proven leadership and solid management accountability. All Washington citizens benefit when we see our government is accountable and delivering on its goals.”
Civil Service Reform Drives Performance Management
In 2002, the Legislature approved the comprehensive Civil Service Reform Act which among other things authorized the state Dept. of Personnel to draft rules allowing all state agencies to develop and implement a performance management process. Agency performance management plans are approved by the state Department of Personnel to ensure fairness and consistency.
Developing a Performance-Based Culture
“ Performance management aligns each individual’s performance with the AGO’s mission, vision, values and goals, providing a clear link for employees to see how their work contributes to the success of the agency,” McKenna said. “This performance-based culture was cultivated under my predecessor, Chris Gregoire, and my management team and I have worked hard to continue to enhance it. When employees succeed, the AGO succeeds, reaching new heights in service to the state of Washington.”
The performance management process includes detailed job descriptions, work goals and employee evaluations to achieve a performance-based culture.
Performance and Development Plans (PDP) replace all existing evaluation forms. PDPs are prepared by each employee and his or her supervisor on an annual basis. Each PDP establishes individual growth goals and aligns those goals with division goals and objectives, which in turn support the AGO’s mission and vision.
“Our employees understand exactly what is expected of them, how they are doing, what is working well and what needs improvement,” McKenna said. “Employees and supervisors discuss development goals together and jointly create a plan for achieving those goals.”
Nuts and bolts
Performance plans for all employees cover the period of October 1 through September 30 of each year. The Attorney General’s Office achieved 100 percent completion of the performance development plans.
Performance evaluations begin in October and are expected to be completed by Dec. 1. Employees who meet or exceed the goals set forth in their performance development plans will be eligible for either an excellence award or a performance award.
Each AGO employee who achieves the goals established in his or her PDP while meeting additional performance criteria will be eligible for a Performance Award. This year, the award will consist of a $300 lump sum and three days of recognition leave. In the future, the award may vary depending upon the budget.
Excellence Awards are available to a small percentage of AGO employees who significantly exceed their PDP goals and meet the award criteria. This year, the award will consist of a lump sum of 5 percent of the employee’s annual base salary (not to exceed $3,000) and three days of recognition leave. In the future, the award may vary depending upon the budget.
Award recommendations will be submitted to the awards committee, who will make recommendations to Chief Deputy Brian Moran and Attorney General McKenna for final approval.
All employees are accountable for understanding how their performance contributes to the achievement of division and agency goals and for taking personal responsibility to achieve expectations. Supervisors and AGO leadership are held accountable for the full scope of employee performance management and for ensuring they themselves are appropriately trained to manage the performance of their staff.
The AGO Human Resources Office provides necessary support in implementing the Performance Management Program and ensuring compliance with system requirements, rules and procedures.
”The AGO is committed to promoting excellence in state government and to effectively serving the state of Washington,” McKenna said. “Further, we are committed to creating an environment that supports, sustains and rewards strong performance by employees. The success of the AGO turns on the successful performance of our employees.”
Copies of the performance and development plan form and the award criteria are available on the Attorney General’s Web site.
Janelle Guthrie, Attorney General’s Office Communications Director, (360) 586-0725
Brian Smith, Dept. of Personnel, (360) 664-6305