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Employee Evaluation Report Process

How best to describe the State Department's unpopular employee evaluation process? 
"You submitted an entry to the annual short story competition and didn’t use the right words."
I'm not a fan. Anyways, here's what to expect between February and May each year when all meaningful work seems to stop, so that Foreign Service personnel can focus on how best to make a review panel believe that while their peers might be walking on water, their performance was transcendent.

The Rules of the Essay Contest
Every few years. the Department publishes "Core Precepts" that supposedly inform what your performance report should contain. Here they are for 2013 and 2022. Additionally, there are all sorts of policy requirements that must be followed, many of which can be found in 3 FAH-1 2810


The Submission Process
Oh, that's a solid double-entendre right there. The Department has been updating its evaluation platform, but that's not really all that important. Generally speaking, the annual performance report process goes like this to complete the DS-5055 "U.S. FOREIGN SERVICE EMPLOYEE EVALUATION REPORT":

Define work requirements
Supervisor confirms work requirements
Hold occasional interim performance evaluations
Rated employee drafts their own statement and usually provides bullet statements or even full paragraphs to their immediate supervisor ("The Rater") and their supervisor's supervisor ("The Reviewer"). Each portion has a maximum number of lines, and is supposed to focus

The draft document is now complete. It gets sent to a review committee to make sure that no inadmissible comments are included in the performance evaluation. You can see for yourself just how many there are in 3 FAM 2815. The review committee comments are then sent back to the three writers to make changes before the revised draft gets sent to HR.

The finalized EERs are the primary factor in the promotion process, which (like everything else) is currently being revamped with more information to follow.

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