Here in ETA's Seattle office, we've decided as a group (33 people) to
create our own merit awards system within the existing governmental
pay-for-performance system with which we are straddled.
Traditionally (and in most of ETA) managers determine merit pay based on
annual appraisals, which are, in many cases, arbitrary political
documents. Nothing surprising here.
The Seattle office must still work within the personnel rules, which
includes performance appraisals, signed off by the supervisor of record,
and with merit pay tied to the final performance rating. The office
solution was to create performance appraisals based on team and customer
input, and centered around the goals of the teams. There are five ratings
(not accaptable to outstanding), but the office agreed that highly
effective and not effective would be the only ratings people could get --
pass/fail! It's a great office, so (fortunately) everyone passes, and
everyone gets an even split of the merit pay.
Some award money was held back for "peer awards." Anyone in the office
can nominate anyone else, with a suggested award amount. Generally, there
is no way to get nominated by "going it alone." The awards team reviews
and accepts nominations. When the money runs out, we can give time-off
awards instead. We also have the "Whoops" award (it looks like a melted
trophy), which circulates around the office to the person who made the
biggest mistake. People can opt out of the whoops award process.
The only glitch is managers' awards. They come out of a separate pot of
money. We tried to see how it could be pooled together, but there was no
way to do it last year. They had the same process, however.
As a newcomer to the office, I certainly like the way it works. Everyone
feels part of a larger team, yet their is still room for individual
accomplishment and recognition!
-- Barak Rosenbloom, Troublemaker U.S. Department of Labor, Seattle firstname.lastname@example.org