The Foreign Service Journal - March 2014 - page 47

MARCH 2014
Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA USAID VP.
or (202) 712-1631
ePerformance Is On the Horizon
In support of the administra-
tor's USAID Forward Talent
Management initiative, the
Office of Human Resources
plans to pilot an ePerfor-
mance system. This new
tool is designed to facilitate
Internet access to the annual
evaluation form from any-
where, provide automated
workflow between employees
and their managers, allow for
electronic signatures, and
bring increased transparency
and accountability to the
evaluation process.
Transitioning to electronic
document handling holds
much promise; however,
startups are rarely, if ever,
without glitches. Many may
remember the tedious proce-
dures we faced instituting the
New Management System.
We learned a lot about what
it takes to launch agencywide
software in an agency that
happens to be spread out
over 80 countries. Yet, even
some of the more recent
electronic initiatives such
as WebTA and the Global
Acquisition and Assistance
System, have shown that it is
nearly impossible to escape
early glitches, no matter how
much preparation is done.
The Foreign Service evalu-
ation is essential for promo-
tion, tenure and career plan-
ning. Therefore, a smooth
rollout of ePerformance—and
the assurance that any
glitches that surface do not
disadvantage any FSO—is
imperative. To ensure that
the agency understands just
how personally any potential
glitches would affect FSOs
during this rollout, and to
begin close monitoring of
remedy procedures, I met
recently with the office of
the Chief Information Officer,
Labor Relations and OHR
OHR is looking to pilot
the ePerformance system
at several missions (pend-
ing at this writing) to ensure
that the system supports the
current performance man-
agement processes for the
Foreign Service and Senior
Foreign Service. The pilot is
planned for the 2014-2015
performance cycle, beginning
April 2014. The rollout for the
entire FS/SFS will be deter-
mined based on the results of
the pilots.
I relayed my initial con-
cerns during this meeting:
that the introduction to FS
members should include a
longer test period in Wash-
ington; that those participat-
ing in the overseas pilot must
in no way be penalized by the
performance boards due to
any glitches in the system;
that alternate (or proxy)
users be allowed in the sys-
tem; that multiple deadline
reminders be sent out; and
that adequate and continued
training be provided.
General Schedule pilots
were initiated for the Senior
Executive Service in Octo-
ber 2013 (their rating cycle
begins Oct. 1) and for OHR
in January 2014 (their rating
cycle begins January 1)—too
recent for any feedback to be
available. OHR will be provid-
ing more information once
pilot missions are identified
and a rollout plan is finalized.
I will continue my close
involvement in this transi-
tion and see that the initia-
tive provides the intended
benefits. To make sure we are
fully heard, I am anxious to
know your concerns. Please
do not hesitate to contact me
to electronic
document handling
holds much
promise; however,
initial start-ups
are rarely, if ever,
without glitches.
Women Ambassadors
Through History
Just in time for women’s history month, AFSA has
debuted a new section of its ambassador tracking
website. The page details the number of female
ambassadors who have served in each country
since the U.S. began diplomatic relations with that
nation. There are some surprising statistics, ranging
from shocking omissions (no female chiefs of mis-
sion in Canada or China) to good news (women are
well represented in newer states). We hope that our
members will find this information interesting and
AFSA Annual Report 2013 Is Out
The report has been published and is available
online at
A hard copy
was sent to all retired members. Copies are also
available on request. E-mail
The report details AFSA’s 2013 activities, ranging
from strategic planning to events. AFSA President
Bob Silverman pens the introductory passage, fol-
lowed by contributions from all constituency vice
presidents, as well as AFSA’s professional staff.
For the first time, the report is published as a
stand-alone document. It is focused on member
services and our 90th anniversary. We hope you will
take the opportunity to peruse the report.
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