The Department of Transportation is committed to ensuring accountability for an honest, economical, and efficient Government. A primary way to achieve this goal is to hold Senior Executive Service (SES) members accountable for their individual and organizational performance through an effective performance management system. In 2013, the Department implemented the Governmentwide SES Performance Management System to incorporate planning, monitoring, developing, evaluating, and rewarding individual performance. This system promotes consistency, clarity, equity, and transferability of performance processes, standards, feedback and ratings throughout Government.
SES Performance Management Process
At the beginning of the SES rating cycle, supervisors and SES members develop and communicate performance plans which include critical elements and performance requirements. The Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) provide a framework for organizing the performance requirements and defining expected performance levels. The ECQs are:
ECQ 1 – Leading Change: Develops and implements an organizational vision that integrates key organizational and program goals, priorities, values, and other factors. Assesses and adjusts to changing situations, implementing innovative solutions to make organizational improvements, ranging from incremental improvements to major shifts in direction or approach, as appropriate. Balances change and continuity; continually strives to improve service and program performance; creates a work environment that encourages creative thinking, collaboration, and transparency; and maintains program focus, even under adversity.
ECQ 2 – Leading People: Develops and implements an organizational vision that integrates key organizational and program goals, priorities, values, and other factors. Assesses and adjusts to changing situations, implementing innovative solutions to make organizational improvements, ranging from incremental improvements to major shifts in direction or approach, as appropriate. Balances change and continuity; continually strives to improve service and program performance; creates a work environment that encourages creative thinking, collaboration, and transparency; and maintains program focus, even under adversity.
ECQ 3 – Business Acumen: Assesses, analyzes, acquires, and administers human, financial, material, and information resources in a manner that instills public trust and accomplishes the organization’s mission. Uses technology to enhance processes and decision making. Executes the operating budget; prepares budget requests with justifications; and manages resources.
ECQ 4 – Building Coalitions: Solicits and considers feedback from internal and external stakeholders or customers. Coordinates with appropriate parties to maximize input from the widest range of appropriate stakeholders to facilitate an open exchange of opinion from diverse groups and strengthen internal and external support. Explains, advocates, and expresses facts and ideas in a convincing manner and negotiates with individuals and groups internally and externally, as appropriate. Develops a professional network with other organizations and identifies the internal and external politics that affect the work of the organization.
ECQ 5 – Results Driven: This critical element includes specific performance results expected from the executive during the appraisal period, focusing on measurable outcomes from the strategic plan or other measurable outputs and outcomes clearly aligned to organizational goals and objectives. At a minimum, the performance plan will include performance requirements (including measures, targets, timelines, or quality descriptors, as appropriate) describing the range of performance at Level 3 for each result specified. The Results-Driven critical element must also identify clear, transparent alignment to relevant agency or organizational goals/objectives, page numbers, from the Strategic Plan, Congressional Budget Justification/Annual Performance Plan, or other organizational planning document in the designated section for each performance result specified.
At the end of the SES rating cycle, SES members review their performance plan and prepare a narrative of their accomplishments during the cycle. The supervisor and the SES member discuss the performance results and agree on a rating for the cycle. If misconduct has affected performance, evidence of such misconduct may be considered in assessing performance against the applicable requirements or standards. The SES performance appraisal package (SES Performance Plan, SES Member’s accomplishments, and the supervisor’s comments) is submitted for review by the SES Performance Review Board. The Board reviews the documentation and determines whether the rating is appropriate given the supporting documentation. The Appointing Official (Administrator or Secretarial Officer) determines the final rating, and the cycle is complete. The supervisor and SES member begins the process again for the next fiscal year.
SES Performance Management Cycle: October 1 to September 30
Appraisal Packages due: October 31
Performance Review Board Meets: Early November
Next FY SES Performance Plans due: December 1
SES Performance Ratings and Relationship to Pay and Performance Awards
Results of performance appraisals will be used as a basis for adjusting pay, granting awards, determining training needs and making other personnel decisions. Performance-based pay increases may be authorized for the SES members. In addition, career SES members may be considered for a bonus. Career SES members must meet Departmental eligibility requirements to be eligible to receive an SES Performance Award:
- The career SES member must be in their current position for at least 6 months prior to the end of the SES performance cycle.
- The career SES member must have a current SES Performance Plan and be under standards for at least 90 days prior to the end of the SES performance cycle.
- The career SES member must be on the Department’s rolls on the effective date of the performance award payment. (SES members who retire or leave DOT prior to the effective date of award payment are not eligible.)
- The career SES member must not be receiving a retention allowance.
As leaders in their agencies, SES members serve as role models for the entire workforce and must meet stringent personal and professional standards. When determining performance awards, the Department considers the current challenging fiscal conditions and resources needed to meet overall agency mission priorities. Further, to ensure the continued integrity of the SES performance awards, conduct is considered when determining performance awards for career SES members. The Performance Review Board must take into account the impact of any documented misconduct on the executive’s performance, within the parameters of the applicable performance requirements or performance standards for the underlying position during the relevant appraisal period when making recommendations on appraisals and performance awards. Any career SES member who is subject to a disciplinary action during the SES performance management cycle is not eligible and will not be considered for any award.
Most Requested Information
SES Performance Plan The SES Performance Plan varies slightly from year to year, depending on the Secretary’s Priorities, the Department’s Strategic Plan, Office of Personnel Management initiatives, and Office of Management and Budget requirements.
SES Program Manager
Phone: (202) 366-8085
SES Program Manager
Phone: (202) 366-9453