Executive Summary

Elaine Rigas

Interviewees Background

Elaine Rigas:

Elaine Rigas is Director- Total Force Office & Human Capital Management at National Maritime Intelligence Center. Elaine has worked in the private sector with more than 17 years experience in Human Resources and Financial Services. Previously, she was a Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers within the Washington Federal Practice where she provided Human Capital strategic guidance, planning and execution to Federal Departments and agencies. Elaine has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. While at Harvard, she concentrated in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and received the Littauer Fellow citation for academic excellence, leadership and commitment to work in the public interest.

Kelly Batts

Mr. Kelly Batts is a Human Capital Manager in the Federal Practice of Deloitte Consulting. He has over nine years of analytical experience. His areas of expertise include quantitative, workforce, manpower and civilian pay analysis and evaluation. Most recently he has assisted the implementation and management of a new performance management system within the Department of Defense. Kelly holds a Master’s Degree in Public and International Affairs and a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish and Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Can you speak to how you handled the challenges of performance management system implementation, during your career?

Elaine:

In general, a strong communications plan to support and overlay the implementation plan is key to success. This means that at each stage of the implementation, the team will want to communicate to those affected i.e., the end users and those who might be assigned to help with the implementation, what is occurring and why or what needs to be done. Additionally, I would recommend that the implementation team draft the communication piece to ensure all the necessary and salient points are communicated. This helps ensure a consistent message but also reduces the work load of those helping with the implementation. Having pre-drafted communication pieces has helped us tremendously when implementing a program and has saved us time in creating our own communication pieces.

How have you seen communication positively affect project implementation?

Kelly:

From the implementer perspective, at the end of each performance cycle we do a full program evaluation. During the program evaluation, we interview senior leaders, conduct focus groups, perform a deep-dive statistical review of the performance rating and bonus data and incorporate those lessons learned, into the subsequent performance cycle.

Elaine:

Having someone on the implementation team provide the communication pieces, policies, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, etc is the back bone to a successful implementation. With such communication support, everyone stays on message. Implementing a new program and one that is effectively changing a culture has its own challenges. The first year is a learning process requiring patience as there will be technical and other glitches. The second year, it gets better since the implementation team will have conducted a lessons learned review to improve. By the third year, you have worked out the glitches and are heading more towards a steady state.

What advice would you give those implementing evaluation reforms, based on your private sector experiences?

Kelly

An effective change management approach should be comprehensive and occur pre-implementation. For example, in education an effective change management approach would include teachers, administrators, and unions and occur during the developmental stages of the new performance management approach. While adopting the new approach, you may not want to entirely abolish the old system, rather you would want to maintain the positive aspects of the old system that are congruent with the new system. In any system change, there will be those who are opposed to the system. Those opposed to the new system should have their concerns heard. Over time, you can show those people that their needs and wants are incorporated into the program. Moreover, as the program matures and becomes more and more successful, there will be less people that are opposed to the system as they believe that this is a system that they contributed to and were not forced to accept.

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