Performance Management (EARS)
The Coast Guard Excellence, Achievement and Recognition (EARS) is a
performance management system, covering non-supervisory employees, which
encourages communication and feedback between an employee and his/her
supervisor. A competency based system, EARS has nine core competencies. It
is made up of three major components: performance appraisal, rewards and
recognition, and employee development.
- Performance Appraisal - A supervisor or manager must develop and
discuss a performance plan with his/her GS and/or FWS employee,
identifying a minimum of four (4) applicable Core Competencies, within
30 days after the cycle begins (1 April). Core competencies are broad
categories of performance attributes, such as customer service, quality,
timeliness, etc., which support organizational values and have general
applicability to many jobs.
- Progress Reviews - Two progress reviews (August and December)
and accompanying discussions are required during a full-year rating
cycle (1 April to 31 March); one review is required if the appraisal
period is 91-180 days.
- Delayed Rating - The appraisal period must be extended for the
amount of time needed to meet the 90 day minimum appraisal period
for a new employee who has not worked at least 90 days under an
approved performance plan, as of 31 March. A rating of record is
required at the end of the 90 day period.
- Annual Appraisal - The rating official assesses an employee’s
performance of at least 90 days and prepares a recommended rating of
record at the end of the appraisal cycle (31 March). Normally, an
appraisal must be completed within 30 days after the appraisal
period ends. An employee’s appraisal input/accomplishments may be
considered by the supervisor along with other information (e.g.,
progress review, interim evaluations, etc.) when determining the
rating of record. The supervisor, as Rating Official, must rate each
core competency and assign an overall rating. The EARS (CG-3430.8R)
Performance Plan and Evaluation form is available via
- EARS Rating Levels are:
- Exceeds. Truly noteworthy performance accomplished with little
supervision, which clearly exceeds the criteria for “Meets.”
- Meets. Good, sound performance accomplished with routine
supervision that is generally consistent with the core competencies
in the performance standards.
- Fails to Meet. The performance fails to meet the performance
standard’s criteria. Unusually close supervision is required and/or
correction to work products is substantial. If performance on one or
more critical elements is rated as “Fails to Meet,” an employee’s
summary rating of overall performance must be “Fails to Meet.” A
summary rating of “Fails to Meet” must be documented.
- Rewards and Recognition (Performance Award) - An employee on an
approved performance plan on the last day of the appraisal cycle,
including any extension (delayed rating) needed to meet the minimum 90
day requirement, is eligible for a performance award. An employee is
ineligible for a performance award if not in a pay status for at least
90 days or if the performance was rated “Fails to Meets.”
- Employee Development - An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a key
tool for employee development. An IDP should include elective training,
education, and developmental activities needed by an employee to acquire
or build upon the competencies needed to achieve his/her career goals.
During performance planning, an employee should be encouraged to
initiate the development of an IDP. The extent to which an IDP can be
supported is determined by management.