Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody (Scott M. Ash / Air Force)
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
The new feedback form for enlisted and officer evaluations is meant to open a dialogue between airmen and their supervisors about work and their personal lives. (PDF)
The Air Force released the new Airman Comprehensive Assessment for enlisted airmen and officers Monday, along with updated guidance on how the feedback forms will be used as part of performance evaluations beginning July 1.
The feedback forms include a self-assessment broken into four categories: responsibility, accountability, Air Force culture and self.
The self-assessment questions, which require a “yes” or “no” answer, ask airmen to weigh in on their job performance and their personal behavior.
Examples of the personal questions include: Does the airman understand the importance of living within his means? Does he understand the importance of setting aside quality time to be with family and friends? Does she look out for other airmen and families, including when fellow airmen are deployed?
Raters are then asked to complete a section on performance, with four possible answers.
The third section requires the ratee and rater to discuss seven questions about the airman’s job performance and personal life, such as goals related to family, finances and fitness, and possible stressors that should be addressed through goal-setting or with help from Air Force leaders.
The feedback forms are the first step in a major overhaul of performance evaluations expected in six months as Air Force leaders try to change a system that for years has resulted in more than three-fourths of airmen receiving a score of 5 out of 5 — “truly among the best” — despite top leaders’ directives to raters that they should offer honest assessments of their airmen. Anything less than a 5 on evals has been considered career-ending.
In a June 8 memo announcing the new feedback form, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody said the form “facilitates a purposeful dialogue between supervisors and the Airmen they lead.”
The top leaders urged raters to commit to the providing helpful feedback.
“We must get this right. Proper feedback is the most important element of a strong evaluation system. It is the only way we can cultivate a culture that drives performance. Airmen must know what we expect of them,” Welsh and Cody wrote. “We owe them direction and guidance so they can reach their fullest potential and capitalize on opportunities. If we fail at feedback, we fail our Airmen.”
According to the updated guidance, raters and ratees are equally responsible for making sure the feedback sessions occur. An airman can request an assessment, provided 60 days have passed since the last one, and a rater must provide the feedback session within 30 days. If a feedback session is missed, raters must provide a specific reason for not completing the assessment.
“Non-receipt of a feedback notice, and ‘administrative oversight,’ etc., are not acceptable reasons,” according to the guidance.