Commentary

July 12, 2013

EPR system not broken if used correctly

Master Sgt. Brian Noethlich
99th Logistics Readiness Squadron

EPR-edit
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — I’m not certain how many of you had an opportunity to watch Chief Master Sgt. James Cody’s, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, recent comments regarding the enlisted performance report, but I strongly recommend you take a minute to visit the Air Force Portal and check it out.

Our leaders at the very highest levels are encouraging us, once again, to apply our integrity when considering our performance and the performance of our subordinates. In order to do that effectively, we must understand the purposes of the Enlisted Evaluation System.

The first purpose is to provide meaningful feedback to individuals on what is expected of them, provide advice on how well they are meeting those expectations, and provide advice on how to better meet those expectations.

The second purpose is to provide a reliable, long-term, cumulative record of performance and potential based on that performance.

The third purpose is to provide officer central selection boards, senior NCO evaluation boards, the Weighted Airman Promotion System and other leaders sound information to assist in identifying the best qualified officers and enlisted service members.

Note that nowhere within these purposes do you read the words “incentive” or “punishment.” The performance report is a simple, honest documentation of performance from the start date to the end date of the report.

When considering your own performance, ask yourself the following questions. How did I perform during the last 365 days? Was my performance unacceptable? Did I need improvement? Was I average? Was I above average? Was I truly among the best?

Supervisors, ask yourself the same questions when considering the evaluation of your subordinates.

However, more than just duty performance must be considered. Most Airmen come to work every day and do a great job in the performance of their primary duties.

Consider the whole Airman concept. Consider standards and conduct, fitness, training requirements, teamwork and followership, resource management and decision making and leadership.

Consider the responsibilities outlined in Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure.
Consider things like personal and professional education and development, readiness in all pillars and participation in professional organizations.

Consider only the current reporting period. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of current or future performance.

Go back to your thought about your performance and the performance of your subordinates during the last 365 days. Apply the following standards based on your answers to the questions you asked yourself.
Poor: Performs at an unacceptable level. Disciplinary action is not required; however, the report will be a referral.

Needs Improvement: Meets some, but not all, performance standards. Disciplinary action is not required; however, the report will be a referral.

Average: Meets standards/expectations, performs in the median when compared to peers.

Above Average: Performs beyond established standards/expectations and performs at higher level than many of their peers.

Truly Among the Best: Only when ratee performs at a level above their peer group and is an elite performer who goes above and beyond. Every Airman does not warrant this rating.

One does not necessarily have to be excellent at everything to be “truly among the best.” But, one must strive for excellence in every category.

If you strive for excellence in all you do, when you fall short you’re still very good.

Those who are “truly among the best” do not strive to meet standards and expectations. They strive to exceed them.

Based on your performance, where did you land? Where did your subordinates rate? If you believe the current Air Force-wide numbers today, you’ll be forced to accept that the vast majority of Airmen perform identically, superiorly and well above and beyond their peer group.

Identical performance with peer group cannot be the same as well above peer group.

It’s time to stop blaming the system and time to stop using words like “inflation.” Where the EES is concerned, inflation simply means that if everyone else is lying, I should lie too. This attitude is unacceptable and is a detriment to our Air Force.

When used with integrity, and in the manner that it was intended, the EES does exactly what it is meant to do.

It’s time to fix what’s truly broken. Hint: It’s not the system.




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