NSPS Interim Review and Mock Pay Pool Guide
Options ............................................................................................................................ 2
Help and Resources......................................................................................................... 3
Automated Tools ............................................................................................................. 5
Interim Review ...................................................................................................................8
Timeframes ..................................................................................................................... 8
Interim Review Process .................................................................................................. 8
Mock Pay Pools ................................................................................................................11
Reasons for conducting a mock pay pool ..................................................................... 11
Setting parameters for the mock pay pool .................................................................... 12
Preparation – Employees, Rating Officials, Higher Level Reviewers .......................... 15
Preparation – Pay Pool Managers and Administrators ................................................. 18
Mock Pay Pool Panel Meetings .................................................................................... 21
Output from the Mock Pay Pool Process ...................................................................... 24
Coverage This document provides information for NSPS organizations on planning for,
conducting, and documenting interim reviews and mock pay pools for the
2008 rating year.
Using links in Links are contained to related or more detailed documents that are available
this document on the NSPS web pages on CPOL. To access the links, hold down the Ctrl
key on your keyboard and left click the link with your mouse.
Changes in this Changed information is shown in red. The following major changes have
version been made since the 25 Apr 2008 version:
Nondisclosure agreement link corrected (pg. 21).
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 1 16 Jun 2008
Requirements Interim review: All NSPS organizations are required to conduct and
document at least one interim review for each employee. Current instructions
for documenting the interim review are contained in this and related
Mock pay pool: Organizations that are new to NSPS (i.e., Spiral 2
organizations) are strongly encouraged to conduct a mock pay pool.
Organizations who converted last year and who have already been through a
pay pool cycle may still elect to conduct a mock pay pool this year. Updated
instructions for conducting a mock pay pool are contained in this and related
This document contains two parts, one focusing on interim reviews
(applicable to all NSPS activities not doing a mock pay pool), and one
focusing on mock pay pools (including the interim review).
Should spiral 1 Spiral 1 organizations have been through a full pay pool cycle. Some may
organizations elect to conduct another mock pay pool during their second (or subsequent)
do a mock pay cycle(s). This can be of value for any number of reasons, e.g., when there
pool? have been extensive personnel changes such that many or most of the pay
pool officials in the organization are new to the pay pool process.
Overview Organizations have a number of options that they will need to decide on for
both the interim review and the mock pay pool. Once options are selected,
employees and rating officials will need to know which options were selected.
Interim review Army requires that interim reviews be approved by the HLR. In the
options Performance Appraisal Application (PAA), the interim review can be
forwarded to the higher level reviewer (HLR) for review and approval, or the
rating official can document that higher level reviewer was obtained. Will
you require that the rating official transfer each appraisal to the HLR? Or
document that the HLR was obtained without actually routing the appraisal?
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 2 16 Jun 2008
Interim review Will you require recommended ratings and assessments for all employees,
and mock pay or for a sample? See Setting parameters for the mock pay pool, pg. 12.
pool options Will you use the annual appraisal assessment blocks, or the interim review
assessment blocks for the mock pay pool? Pros and cons:
o The annual appraisal assessment blocks provide more space (8000
characters vs. 4000 for the interim review for both employee and
o Text in the annual appraisal assessment blocks will be deleted after
mock pay pools are completed (they need to be saved outside of the
PAA if you want to re-use them for the annual rating).
o Hint: Since the PAA does not support submission of recommended
shares or payout distributions for mock pay pools, if you want to
capture those recommendations, rating officials can annotate their
recommendations in the rating official’s annual appraisal
assessment block (if you are using the annual appraisal assessment
blocks). Employees will not see that text, and it will be deleted
before the final rating.
Army requires that interim reviews be approved by the HLR. In the PAA,
the interim review can be forwarded to the HLR for review and approval,
or the rating official can document that higher level reviewer was
obtained. Will you require that the rating official transfer each appraisal
to the HLR? Or document that the HLR was obtained without actually
routing the appraisal? Pros and cons:
o If the rating official routes the appraisal to the HLR after entering
rating information and the interim review assessment, the rating
official will be able to view the recommended ratings.
o Routing the appraisal to the HLR adds a level of complexity to the
mock pay pool process.
Help and Resources
Policy questions For pay pool policy questions contact Greg Wert (email@example.com),
and assistance 703-325-1840 dsn 221-1840.
For performance management policy questions contact Tony Wai
(firstname.lastname@example.org), phone 703-325-4391, dsn 221-4391.
Automated tool A 4-level tier support system is in place for automated tool problems:
help 1. Transition Manager designated person(s) in the organization.
2. Servicing CPAC.
3. Helpdesk at the servicing CPOC.
4. HQDA G-1(CP) central helpdesk.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 3 16 Jun 2008
References and All resources referred to in this document are or will be available on Army
resources CPOL under the NSPS logo, or through this link:
Updates occur frequently so be sure to check often to make sure you are
getting the most current information.
The Pay Pool Management tab on the NSPS page is the primary source for
most documents (from the Pay Pool Management tab, select Pay Pool
Management Guidance and Tools). Some references (particularly those
relating to the PAA, appraisals, and assessments) are found under the
Performance Management tab.
Help desk email Korea email@example.com
addresses Northeast firstname.lastname@example.org
North Central ROCK-NCCPOC.email@example.com
South Central firstname.lastname@example.org
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 4 16 Jun 2008
Performance We anticipate release of version 3 of the PAA in August 2008, and further
Appraisal anticipate that this version will be used to input end of cycle ratings and
Application, assessments, and will serve as the basis for pay pool panel deliberations.
One of the biggest (and most welcome) changes in PAA version 3 is the use
of an “assessment-by-objective” format. Each job objective in a performance
plan will have its own co-located assessment blocks (employee and
supervisor), rather than the two large assessment blocks used in the current
version. This has several advantages: it forces the employee and supervisor
to address each objective individually, and it will make it considerably easier
for rating officials, higher level reviewers, and pay pool panel members to
Employees and rating officials should keep this in mind when working on
their assessments, particularly organizations that are using the annual
appraisal assessment blocks. Annual appraisal assessments used for mock
pay pools will be deleted from the PAA after 30 Jun 2008, but if you keep a
copy in Word as a basis for the “real” annual appraisal assessment, you will
need to copy and paste blocks of the assessment into the new format by job
Tools available The following automated performance management tools are used when
conducting mock pay pools and/or documenting interim reviews:
1) Performance Appraisal Application (PAA) – used for mock pay pools
AND for documenting interim reviews
2) Compensation Workbench (CWB)
3) Manage Pay Pool Identifier Application (MPPID)
4) Extract and Upload functions in DCPDS
5) PAA Reports
Performance The PAA is an electronic version of the NSPS Performance Appraisal form
Appraisal (DD Form 2906) that:
Application Provides for input of interim and annual employee and supervisory
Documents performance discussions.
Captures the recommended rating by the supervisor and the final rating.
Stores completed appraisals.
When used for mock pay pools, all rating information entered into this tool,
and the annual appraisal assessment text blocks (if used) will be purged on 1
Jul 2008 and will not be available for the real appraisal process this fall.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 5 16 Jun 2008
Manage Pay The Manage Pay Pool Identifier Application is used to:
Pool Identifier Build Pay Pool and sub pay pool IDs in the Defense Civilian Personnel
Application Data System (DCPDS) (Army Naming Convention must be used).
Assign employees to membership in pay pools and sub pay pools.
Assign employees to specific pay pool roles, such as pay pool manager, pay
pool administrator, sub pay pool manager, thereby providing system
authorities to these employees.
These steps must be accomplished in order to populate the Compensation
Workbench for use in mock pay pools.
Compensation The Compensation Workbench (CWB) is a stand-alone Excel spreadsheet
Workbench that contains the functionality needed to conduct an effective pay pool.
(CWB) Specific functionality includes the ability to:
Set a pay pool budget.
Assign and reconcile ratings, shares, and payout distributions.
Assign and enforce control points.
Prorate salary increase and bonus amounts.
Distribute OAR and EPI salary increases and bonuses.
Determine a final share value.
Reconcile your distribution of salary increases and bonuses with your pay
A version of the CWB (version 2.2 mock) specifically for mock pay pools is
available. The mock pay pool version has updated pay band data (2008), and
does not allow generation of notices to employees. It does allow the export to
DCPDS (see next section below).
Extract and These two functions are part of DCPDS functionality available to pay pool
Upload administrators and pay pool managers.
functions The extract function is used to create the data file used to populate the
CWB; it contains HR data (name, pay band, salary, etc.) and rating data
from the PAA.
The upload function allows you to export data from a completed CWB
(after the panel has finished) and upload it to DCPDS. This will help pay
pool administrators and managers see what types of error messages are
generated. This uploaded data from mock pay pools will be deleted from
DCPDS in Sep 2008.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 6 16 Jun 2008
PAA Reports This tool allows pay pool administrators or pay pool managers to retrieve
appraisal information from the PAA for use by the pay pool panel.
You can request all the parts of the appraisal, or selected parts. If you are
using the Interim Review assessment blocks for your mock pay pool panel,
that text will print regardless of the status of the interim review (it does not
need to have been “completed”).
Tool use for There is inevitably confusion among new NSPS users about which parts of
interim review the PAA to use for interim reviews vs. for mock pay pools.
vs. mock pay
pools For interim reviews, an interim review record must be “created” in the PAA
before it can be used. Once created, the interim review record provides room
for employees and rating officials to provide assessments, and documents the
date of the interim review performance conversation.
For mock pay pools, employee self-assessments and supervisory assessments
can be entered into the “main” part of the PAA in the blocks that are normally
used for the annual appraisal. See Options, pg. 2.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 7 16 Jun 2008
Interim review The interim review is a required performance conversation under NSPS.
During this conversation, supervisors review their employees’ performance
during the first half of the rating cycle. This conversation is documented in
Timeframes Normally, interim reviews should be conducted about half-way through the
rating cycle. The following table shows the approximate mid-points for
NSPS organizations based on their conversion spiral:
Spiral Rating Cycle Start Date Rating Cycle Mid Point
Spiral 1 1 Oct 2007 1 Apr 2008
Spiral 1 1 Nov 2007 15 Apr 2008
Spiral 2.1C 11 Nov 2007 20 Apr 2008
Spiral 2.2D 17 Feb 2008 8 Jun 2008
Spiral 2.2H 13 Apr 2008 6 Jul 2008
Additional More than one interim review can be conducted. The PAA will allow you to
interim reviews document any number of interim reviews, but only the two most recent will
actually print on the final appraisal at the end of the year.
Interim Review Process
Preparation A performance plan must have been created in the PAA in order to use the
PAA to create and document an interim review. The appraisal should be for
Appraisal Year 2009 (appraisal effective date 1 Jan 2009).
Both the employee and supervisor write assessments for the interim review.
Although the employee self-assessment is not required, it is strongly
Higher level reviewer functionality is available in the PAA for the interim
review, either by routing the appraisal to the higher level reviewer, or
documenting that the HLR has approved.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 8 16 Jun 2008
Assessment hint The assessment blocks for the interim review (both supervisor and employee)
each allow up to 4000 characters. If you compose your assessment in Word,
use the Word Count function in Word to track the size.
For organizations that are conducting mock pay pools in conjunction with
interim reviews, see the Mock Pay Pool section of this Guide for more
PAA steps for See the Quick Guides in the next section. Recommended steps:
review 1. Employee creates the interim review record, enters self-assessment
information for the interim review, and transfers the appraisal to the
rating official. (Note, employee must have possession of the appraisal to
begin this process.)
2. Rating official adds supervisory assessment information.
3. Rating official either routes the appraisal to the higher level reviewer for
concurrence, or documents that HLR concurrence has been accomplished
without routing the appraisal.
4. If appraisal was routed: Higher level reviews the interim review and (if
approved) returns it to the rating official.
5. Rating official and employee meet to discuss performance using the
assessment information. Rating official documents the date of the
conversation and method of communication and transfers the appraisal to
the employee for acknowledgement.
6. Employee acknowledges the interim review and transfers it back to the
7. Rating official “completes” the interim review.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 9 16 Jun 2008
Additional Helpful Hints for Writing Interim and Mock Self-Assessments (link to CPOL)
Quick Guides are short step by step guides available within the PAA. The
versions below have been modified to more specifically reflect Army
processes and policies.
The employee quick guide below has been modified from the version in
the PAA to show the employee initiating the interim review record.
The rating official quick guide below has been modified from the version
in the PAA – this version includes required documentation of the higher
The HLR guide is the same as the one in the PAA; it contains a section on
the interim review.
EMP_Interim_Review RO_Interim-Review_ HLR.pdf
These guides are strictly for the Interim Review; see PAA Quick Guides for
mock pay pool and interim review, page 17 in this document, for guides that
incorporate both the interim review and mock pay pool.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 10 16 Jun 2008
Mock Pay Pools
Overview This section provides information needed to set up and conduct a mock pay
pool. Because mock pay pools are usually conducted at the same time as
interim reviews, the information in this section is written for performing both
of these functions concurrently.
Reasons for conducting a mock pay pool
Essential for Without exception, DoD pay-for-performance organizations are unwavering
organizations in their assertion that mock pay pools are essential for organizations
new to NSPS converting to a pay pool process.
For new NSPS organizations, pay pools are a new concept. This means
employees, supervisors, pay pool administrators, pay pool panel members,
and pay pool managers have little experience upon which to base execution of
their performance / pay pool management responsibilities and / or decisions.
Without experience in a pay pool panel environment, it is inevitable that all
involved will encounter bumps in the road that necessitate adjustments to
their actions and processes.
Mock pay pools provide a practical learning environment as well as a forum
for testing the effectiveness of pay pool business rules, job objectives,
employee and rating official performance assessments, and other tools
associated with the performance management and pay pool process (e.g.,
automated tools such as the Compensation Workbench and Performance
More importantly, by accomplishing this practice mid cycle, mock pay pools
provide the time necessary to make adjustments to business rules, job
objectives, or other tools impacting upon the fairness, equity, and / or
effectiveness of the pay pool reconciliation process. Organizations who fail
to conduct a mid cycle mock pay pool may find they are unable to make
corrections necessary to a fair and equitable pay pool due to time constraints.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 11 16 Jun 2008
Benefits Running a mock pay pool will:
Help develop a common understanding among panel members of rating
levels. Discussions occurring during the mock pay pool reconciliation
process help advance a mutual understanding of rating levels among panel
Help test business rules and identify process gaps.
Level expectations in terms of time and resource requirements.
Provide experience and greater understanding of the pay pool process.
Provide an opportunity to correct problems before they have an impact on
pay, creditability, morale, etc.
Identify areas where job objectives need to be adjusted.
Give employees and supervisors practice in:
o Writing self- and supervisory assessments.
o Using the automated performance appraisal application.
Give the Pay Pool Administrator and Pay Pool Panel members experience
in using the Compensation Workbench.
Setting parameters for the mock pay pool
Options Organizations may choose to conduct a mock pay pool involving the entire
organization, or using a partial or sample population.
Full population In this option 100% of the members of the pay pool participate in the mock
pay pool. This means 100% of the employees complete self assessments;
rating officials assess and provide recommended ratings on all their
employees; recommendations receive a higher level review; and the pay pool
panel (and sub pay pool panel where applicable) reconcile the ratings, share
assignments, and payout distribution of all of the pay pool members.
This option produces the most realistic pay pool exercise in terms of
understanding time commitments and determining an estimated rating
distribution and share value prior to the final calculations that will be done at
the end of the cycle.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 12 16 Jun 2008
Mixed full In this model, 100% percent of the pay pool population submits an employee
population, self-assessment through the PAA. All employees are rated. However, only a
partial process portion (i.e., 30-50%) of the recommended ratings are reviewed by the pay
pool panel. The remaining recommended ratings are accepted “as is.”
Typically, the sampled population includes some employees assigned to each
rating official. This gives actual mock rating experience to each rating
official and incorporates the full scope of rating styles in the pay pool panel
reconciliation process. It trades off some of the realism of a “full population”
in return for a lower time and resource commitment during the mock pay pool
Sample This option conducts a mock pay pool using a sample population – a subset of
population, full pay pool members (i.e., 30-50%). Pay pool members who are in the sample
process population prepare a self-assessment and the rating officials prepare
supervisory assessments and provide recommended ratings for employees in
the sample. All the recommended ratings of employees in the sample
population are reviewed by the pay pool panel.
Again, it is a good idea to select employees from each rating official in order
to insure that each rating official gets mock rating experience, and to
incorporate the full scope of rating styles present within the pay pool. This
option differs from option #2 in that it does not incorporate “as is” ratings and
share assignments on the remaining portion of the pay pool.
Timing A notional timeline for conducting a mock pay pool is presented below. This
timeline is for an organization which spiraled into NSPS on 17 Feb 2008.
The mid-point of the performance cycle for this organization is 8 Jun 2008.
Mock Pay Pools should typically be conducted around mid cycle. However,
those with later implementation dates (e.g., April) will want to schedule
completion of their mock pay pool early enough to make any necessary
corrections to job objectives prior to 90 days before the end of the
performance cycle (i.e., before 3 Jul 2008). This is because an employee
cannot be rated on an objective to which they are assigned for less than 90
Continued on next page
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 13 16 Jun 2008
Timing, con’t All mock pay pool actions should be completed no later than 30 Jun 2008. If
mock pay pool panel meetings cannot be completed by that date, the pay pool
must have at least done their DCPDS extract for the CWB, and generated
their PAA reports for the pay pool panel, prior to that date.
Please take note of the time span required to accomplish an entire Mock Pay
Pool process from beginning to end. The timeline below is considered to be
aggressive in terms of the actions it seeks to accomplish in a given time
period and it still takes approximately 30 days from beginning to end.
Normally, at the end of the performance cycle, supervisors would be provided
several weeks to rate employees. Depending on supervisor-to-employee
ratios, it may be very difficult to rate all employees in this mock pay pool
timeline. For this reason, some organizations choose to only rate a subset of
their population during Mock Pay Pool exercises.
Each pay pool will need to consider factors unique to their structure which
may impact timelines or require additional planning, e.g., geographic
dispersion of pay pool, rating officials, and panel members.
Event Who Dates
Conversion to NSPS 17 Feb
End of “mock” rating cycle 16 May
Prepare Interim and Mock Rating Employees 21 May
Prepare Interim and Mock Rating Rating officials 30 May
supervisory assessments and rating
recommendations and obtain higher
level reviewer concurrence
Sub Pay pool panel meetings Sub Pay pool panel 2-6 Jun
members and Sub Pay
Pay Pool Panel Meetings Pay Pool Panel and Pay 9-20 Jun
Adjust Performance Objectives Rating Officials NLT 30 Jun
Publicity Once established, the mock pay pool timeline and deadlines, the parameters
that are going to be used for the mock pay pool (e.g., full population or
sample), and the options to be used in the PAA (e.g., use interim review
assessment blocks or annual appraisal assessment blocks) must be made
known to pay pool members and rating officials as early as possible so that all
members know what they are expected to do, and when.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 14 16 Jun 2008
Purging of On 1 Jul 2008, rating information that has been entered into the PAA for
rating mock pay pool purposes will be purged. This includes all job objective
information ratings and contributing factor adjustments and the self- and supervisory
assessment blocks for the annual appraisal. Rating officials and employees
who wish to keep their assessment as a basis for preparing their assessment
for the annual appraisal should either compose and save it in Word, or copy
and paste it from the PAA into a Word document and save that, so that they
will have it available at the end of the rating cycle.
If you have elected to use the interim review assessment blocks instead of the
annual appraisal assessment blocks, the interim review assessments will not
be purged (numeric rating information will be, however).
Preparation – Employees, Rating Officials, Higher Level
Prerequisites Performance plans for appraisal year 2009 must have been created in the
PAA. Performance plan parameters should be the same as they would be for
the end of the rating cycle:
Job objectives must be in “Approved” status.
Weights must total 100%.
Overall performance plan must be in “Approved” or “Ongoing” status.
Appraisal year must equal 2009, and the rating effective date must be 1 Jan
Appraisal type must be “Annual Appraisal” (not early annual or special
Rating cycle start date should be either the first day of the current rating
cycle (1 Oct 2007 or 1 Nov 2007), or the date the employee joined NSPS.
Rating cycle end date should be 30 Sep 2008.
Employees Employees need to prepare their interim review self-assessment in the PAA,
and also prepare a mock pay pool self-assessment similar to the self-
assessment they would prepare for their annual appraisal. This mock pay
pool self-assessment should be entered into the annual appraisal area of the
PAA, or, alternatively, the Interim Review self-assessment can be used for the
mock pay pool if that is the choice of the organization (see Options, pg. 2).
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 15 16 Jun 2008
Rating officials Rating officials also need to prepare an interim review assessment for all their
employees, prepare a mock pay pool annual assessment for their employees
(all or a sample, depending on how the mock pay pool is being run), and
provide recommended ratings for each job objective (including adjustments
for contributing factors). The mock pay pool assessment can be done in the
annual appraisal area of the PAA or the pay pool panel can use the interim
review assessment (see Options, pg. 2), but the selected choice needs to be
consistent for the entire pay pool.
Rating officials should obtain concurrence from the higher level reviewer for
recommended ratings and assessments. This has to be done outside of the
PAA (the “Submit Recommended Ratings” button has been disabled for
mock pay pools). However, if recommended ratings are present and the
appraisal is routed to the HLR for interim review approval, the HLR can view
the recommended ratings at that time. For the interim review, the rating
official can either route the appraisal to the HLR for concurrence, or
document in the PAA that the higher level reviewer has concurred.
Higher level Higher level review functionality in the PAA is available for interim reviews,
review but not for mock pay pools (i.e., annual ratings that are used for mock pay
pools). If the rating official routes the appraisal to the HLR for interim
review approval, the HLR can either approve the interim review or return it to
the rating official for changes.
PAA steps for Recommended steps for using the PAA for the interim review and mock pay
mock pay pools pool.
review 1. Employee enters annual appraisal self-assessment in the annual appraisal
section of the appraisal, creates the interim review record, enters interim
review self-assessment information, and transfers the appraisal to the
rating official. (Note: Employee must have possession of the appraisal
to begin this process.) Alternately, the interim review assessment block
can be used for both the mock pay pool and the interim review (see
Options, pg. 2).
2. Rating official provides recommended ratings for each job objective (for
employees who are being rated during the mock pay pool).
3. Rating official adds supervisory assessment information for the annual
appraisal (for employees who are being rated during the mock pay pool)
and for the interim review assessment (for all employees) (or just in the
interim review assessment block if that is being used for both).
Continued on next page
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 16 16 Jun 2008
PAA steps for 4. Rating official routes the appraisal to the higher level reviewer (by
mock pay pools selecting the HLR button in the interim review section of the appraisal)
and interim for concurrence with the interim review, or documents that higher level
review, con’t approval of the interim review has been obtained.
5. If appraisal was routed to the HLR, HLR indicates concurrence with the
interim review or returns it to the rating official for changes. Whether the
appraisal has been routed or not, once the job objective ratings have been
entered by the rating official, the numeric rating data will be available for
the mock pay pool panel.
6. Rating official and employee meet to discuss performance using the
interim review assessment information. This is also a good opportunity
to provide a constructive evaluation of the employee’s self-assessment
for the annual rating (see below). (Note, employees will not have access
to ratings or the supervisor’s annual appraisal assessment.)
7. Rating official documents the date of the conversation and method of
communication and transfers the appraisal to the employee for
8. Employee acknowledges the interim review and transfers it back to the
9. Rating official “completes” the interim review.
PAA Quick Helpful Hints for Writing Interim and Mock Self-Assessments (link to CPOL)
mock pay pool The Quick Guides below are short step by step guides to assist employees and
and interim rating officials in using the PAA for the interim review and mock pay pool.
review Similar guides are available in the PAA (for the interim review and the annual
rating), but the ones provided here are specifically for organizations running
mock pay pools in 2008.
EMP_Interim-Review RO_Interim-Review_ HLR.pdf
Higher level review is required for the interim review. However, it is not
required that the appraisals actually be transferred to the HLR – HLR
concurrence can be obtained outside of the PAA. These guides allow either
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 17 16 Jun 2008
Evaluating the In addition to discussing performance, supervisors can take the interim review
self-assessment performance conversation as an opportunity to carefully review and critique
the employees’ self-assessments. It is crucial that employees get a realistic
sense of how their self-assessments will be used. Supervisors should stress
The self-assessment is one of the primary tools used by the supervisor to
prepare the supervisor’s assessment of the employee’s performance. The
employee’s self-assessment and the supervisor’s assessment are the
primary source of information used by the pay pool panel when
Each job objective should be addressed separately in the self-assessment.
Employees should address how their work met performance indicators
and the applicable contributing factors when writing their self-assessment.
The supervisor should also use this opportunity to again stress that under
NSPS, performance indicators (a.k.a. performance standards) have been
rewritten. It is expected that application of the NSPS performance
indicators will result in a rating level norm of level 3 (valued performer).
Hints and Self- and supervisory assessments for the mock pay pool (if using the annual
resources appraisal section of the PAA) should be composed in Word and saved for
future reference. At the conclusion of the mock pay pool process, all rating
and assessment information entered into the annual appraisal sections of the
PAA will be purged in preparation for the actual pay pool process occurring
after the end of the rating cycle.
For PAA purposes, after composing your assessment in Word, save the
document as a text (.txt) file. This will alleviate certain issues when
pasting the assessment text into the PAA.
The assessment written for mock pay pool purposes can be copied and edited
for use as the interim review assessment. The assessment blocks for the
annual appraisal (supervisor and employee) each allow up to 8000 characters,
and for the interim review up to 4000 characters, so you may need to shorten
the annual appraisal assessment to fit for the interim review. Rating officials
should NOT include any rating information in the interim review assessment
as this will be visible to the employee (e.g., do not include words like “valued
performer” or “role model”).
Preparation – Pay Pool Managers and Administrators
Overview The pay pool administrator and/or pay pool manager, or their alternates, have
a substantial amount of systems and logistical work to complete prior to the
mock pay pool panel meeting. These steps are outlined in this section.
Interim Review-Mock Pay Pool Guide 18 16 Jun 2008
Step 1 – Appoint Pay Pool Administrator (Pay Pool Manager or higher task,
Appoint Pay typically in writing).
Pool Nominate Pay Pool Administrator for access to the Defense Civilian
Personnel Data System (DCPDS) using the System Access Nomination
and Authorization Request (SANAR) Form. Indicate request for “Pay
Pool Administrator access.”
Submit SANAR Form to your servicing CPAC. Appropriate DCPDS
permissions will then be added to the administrator’s DCPDS account.
Step 2 – The Pay Pool Identifier (PPID) is a crucial data element that must be
Create PPID, constructed in accordance with the Army NSPS Pay Pool Identifier Naming
identify pay Convention. Likewise, sub pay pool IDs must also be formed, if used.
The PPID (and sub pay pool IDs if used) are built in DCPDS using the
Manage Pay Pool Identifier Application.
The same application is used to identify pay pool officials (pay pool
administrators, pay pool manager, and pay pool panel members, and
Pay pool members (employees) are also defined in DCPDS. There is a
mass process that is used to accomplish this which adds the PPID to each
employee’s HR record in DCPDS.
Detailed instructions for these steps are found in the Manage Pay Pool ID
Application User Guide. Videos showing how the process works are also
available covering (1) Building the Pay Pool ID, and (2) Modifying the
Pay Pool ID.
Step 3 – Download Compensation Workbench version 2.2mock. This is a stand-
Download and alone spreadsheet that will be used during the pay pool panel meetings. A
populate the CWB video provides an introduction to the CWB, and the CWB User
Compensation Guide provides written instructions.
When downloaded, the spreadsheet contains no data. Records must be
imported using an extract file generated from DCPDS. This is the only
way by which records can be added to the spreadsheet; they cannot be
manually entered. The extract process pulls all the records containing your
PPID (step 2). Ratings must have already been entered into the PAA prior
to generating the extract file in order for the ratings to populate in the
spreadsheet. Instructions for this step are contained in the CWB Extract,
Upload, and Finalization User Guide (“Extract Process,” pages 4-10).
If sub pay pools are being used, the pay pool administrator will need to
make a copy of the CWB for each sub pay pool (naming the copies
appropriately) and import only the members of that sub pay pool (pay pool
IDs, including sub pay pool IDs, are displayed during the import process in
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Step 4 – More detail on these tasks is provided in the CWB User Guide.
Establish Prepare the Funding Tab of the CWB. If you do not have funding levels
funding and firmed up, default values to use might be:
control points o Element 1: 2.26%
in the CWB
o Element 2: 1%
o Element 3: (based on your organization’s budgeted spending for
performance awards, commonly in the range of 1% to 3%)
If using Control Points, enter them in the control points tab in the CWB
(you can also, or alternately, establish control points for individual
employees on the Pay Pool Panel tab).
Hide rows for Pay Pool Panel Member and Pay Pool Administrator
information (as dictated by business rules).
Step 5 - There are many special situations under NSPS that affect employees’
Identify eligibility for rating, crediting of salary toward pay pool, and / or payout. In
specially preparation for the pay pool, Pay Pool Administrators will need to identify in
situated the CWB which employees are eligible for rating, which employees’ salaries
employees will count toward the pay pool, and which employees are eligible for payout.
For more information concerning identifying special situations and eligibility
for rating, counting of salary toward pay pool, and/or payout, refer to the
CWB User Guide and the Specially Situated Employees document.
Some records may require prorating of the salary increase and/or bonus
portion of the payout. See Army NSPS Interim Instruction, section AI-SC
19220.127.116.11.2 (Prorating the Payout) and Appendix 3, and TM Bulletin: Pay
Pools and Prorating, which has a modified prorating table to account for
different spiral-in dates for last year’s rating cycle (not yet updated for 2008).
For purposes of the mock pay pool exercise, pay pools may designate
employees who have less than 90 days on an NSPS Performance Plan as
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Step 6 – Use the PAA Reports functionality to obtain hard or electronic copies of
Prepare appraisal data for employees in the pay pool. Instructions are provided in the
appraisals and Employee Appraisal Reports User Guide. Pay pools may choose to use the
other entire performance appraisal form or selected sections. Whether using the
documents for entire appraisal or selected sections, electronic or hard copies, consideration
should be given to how the information will be organized during the pay pool
meeting to facilitate easy access (e.g., alphabetically, by rating official, by
In addition, panels will also need some or all of the following:
Copy of Business Rules.
Copies of Performance Indicators and Contributing Factor Benchmark
Telephone numbers and/or e-mail of Rating Officials.
A copy of the 2008 NSPS Pay Schedules and Pay Band Market ranges
applicable to the pay pool.
Signed Army Nondisclosure Statements should be obtained from all Pay
Pool Panel Participants, Observers, and Pay Pool Administrators.
Step 7 – Pay You may need some or all of the following depending on your pay pool
pool panel processes:
logistics Meeting room(s) (consider privacy issues).
Computer and projector (or equivalent).
Computers for panel members with appropriate network access for
viewing stored appraisals.
Printer for generating hard copies of appraisals if needed (e.g., to mark
changes to an appraisal for a rating official).
Telephone and/or e-mail access.
Mock Pay Pool Panel Meetings
Overview The basic tasks that each pay pool panel should do are outlined in this section.
Where possible, panel meetings should occur face-to-face.
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Sub pay pool The primary function of the sub pay pool panel is to reconcile the
panel meetings recommended ratings of the members of that sub pay pool. Other sub pay
pool panel functions will depend on the organization’s business rules (e.g.,
review recommended shares, recommended payout distribution, nominations
for EPI and OAR awards, etc.).
Once sub pay pool panel meetings have been concluded, their updated CWBs
need to be provided to the (main) pay pool administrator so they can be
combined into one master CWB for the entire pay pool. This is done using
the “Import” function on the “Instructions” tab, and selecting the “Pay Pool
Data from Sub Panel Spreadsheets” option. See CWB User Guide (Importing
Data into the Spreadsheet, “To combine the sub-pool spreadsheets to create
an entire pay pool”).
Step 1: Review pay pool business rules, establish ground rules, and provide
Ground rules administrative information.
Step 2: There are many ways to use the CWB to compare employees and ratings to
Decide on ensure consistency. Panels may decide on a systematic approach to review
approach and reconciliation of ratings.
Will Panel look at all nonsupervisory positions first?
By what categories will the Panel group and review positions for purpose
of ensuring consistency among positions? Examples might be by
supervisory status, occupation, pay band, career group, rating official, sub
pay pool, or recommended rating.
Pay Pool Administrators should be aware that they may need to re-hide
Pay Pool Panel Member data each time they sort the pay pool population.
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Step 3: Apply a common understanding of rating levels to each member of the pay
Reconciliation pool. By doing so, the Pay Pool Panel neutralizes the effects of “high” and
of ratings “low” raters by ensuring that this common understanding of rating levels is
applied to each member of the pay pool.
Ensure results and accomplishments are related to job objectives and
Identify whether or not differences in rating patterns among Rating
Officials are justified.
Ensure consistency of rating understanding among like jobs before
ensuring consistency between different jobs.
Ensure a consistent application of rating understanding among like
organizations before attempting consistency between different
Ensure rating official documentation supports recommended ratings, share
assignments, and payout distribution.
Ensure that share assignments and payout distributions are made in a
consistent manner by either using a uniform methodology or a consistent
Ensure Level 5 ratings meet “Role Model” criteria, i.e., what is the impact
of individual accomplishments on organizational goals and/or mission
Step 4: Both the Pay Pool Panel and the Pay Pool Manager have authority to modify
Modifying recommended ratings, share assignments, and payout distribution for the
ratings purposes of ensuring fairness and consistency.
Before a recommended rating is changed, communicate the new
recommendation to the rating official along with rationale for change(s).
Afford the rating official the opportunity to provide further justification
before the change becomes final.
During mock pay pools, pay pool panels will want to use this information
to promote awareness of the common understanding of rating levels
developed within the panel.
Step 5: Although not crucial to the mock pay pool process, it is good practice to
Reconciling adjust payout distributions to allocate most or all of the funded amounts for
funding the pay pool. Doing so will also provide a more realistic pay pool share value
for further analysis of pay pool results.
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Step 6: Upload The CWB for the mock pay pool will allow export of CWB data for
CWB data to uploading to DCPDS. This is not required, but it will give pay pool
DCPDS administrators experience with the upload process and the types of error and
(optional) mismatch messages that may occur. Any files thus uploaded to DCPDS from
the mock pay pools will be deleted from DCPDS in mid-Sep 2008. For more
information on this process, see the CWB Extract, Upload, and Finalization
User Guide (“Upload Process,” pages 10-18).
Output from the Mock Pay Pool Process
Output Typically, no data about specific employees is released at the conclusion of
mock pay pool panel exercise. The key purpose of a mock pay pool is to train
on and test pay pool processes and tools. Consequently, most pay pools
conclude with a summary of lessons learned and the sharing of guidance to
help override problem areas in time for the end-of-cycle (“real”) pay pool.
After the mock pay pool panels have been completed, your organization will
be able to:
Capture lessons learned for use in conducting the actual pay pool panels
following the completion of the performance cycle.
Develop hints for employees in writing self-assessments.
Develop hints for supervisors in writing their assessments.
Analyze rating distributions and shares, evaluate within-pool and cross-
pool comparisons, and compare prior (pre-NSPS) average ratings and
Optional: Share summary rating distribution and share assignment data
with pay pool members.
Communicate Although the final mock rating, share assignment, and/or payout distribution
results are not usually shared with employees or rating officials, the pay pool panel
will want to report out on experience in the aggregate. They will also want to
consider, based on the mock exercise, what type of rationale they would
accept from rating officials to justify a revised recommended rating level.
The information should also be sufficient for the rating official to advise the
employee knowledgeably of how to improve their self-assessment.
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Lessons learned Were employee assessments adequate?
Were rating official assessments adequate?
Did reconciliation approach work?
Were there disparities in the level of expectations (i.e., job objectives)
between employees in similar positions?
Did job objectives facilitate identification of performance levels? Were
job objectives written such that everyone exceeded them, or nobody
exceeded them – yet panel members knew of clear differences in
performance among the employees rated?
Were there communication gaps between panel members and
Was sufficient time scheduled for pay pool meetings?
Was guidance on use of automated tools sufficient?
Did Share Assignment and/or Payout Distribution Business Rules
provide sufficient clarity and flexibility to recognize appropriate merit
Do Business Rules require modification based on lessons learned?
Is additional training required?
Panel records Records of pay pool panel deliberations are not to be retained. This includes
notes made by panel members, draft appraisals, etc. The final Compensation
Workbench used in the mock pay pool can be retained until analysis is
completed, but should then be deleted since it has a record of changes to
ratings that occurred during the panel process.
Pay pool statistics and records can be retained as long as desired by using the
Pay Pool Analysis tool, which takes Compensation Workbench input and has
final ratings, shares, and payout information but without the record of
changes. See the Pay Pool Analysis Tool User Guide for more information.
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