236 – Performance Evaluations

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I.  Purpose

A law enforcement agency must be able to depend on satisfactory work performance from all its employees to achieve its stated objectives. The nature and quality of the employees’ performance have a direct bearing on their working life in the agency, on the manner in which they relate to management, and on their assignments and promotions. Therefore, a fair, impartial, and functional performance evaluation system is imperative to optimize job satisfaction for the employee and job performance for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and Harris County citizens.

II.  Policy

Every employee will be evaluated in order to determine their performance in relation to established standards. The evaluation process is designed to:

1.  Stimulate and sustain superior performance,

2.  Foster improvement by identifying employee weaknesses,

3.  Provide constructive criticism, and

4.  Provide guidance and training to assist employees with personal advancement within the HCSO.

III.  Definitions

1.  Unsatisfactory:

a.  Performance clearly inadequate in one or more critical factors.

b.  Employee has demonstrated inability or unwillingness to improve or to meet standards.

c.  Performance not acceptable for position held.

2.  Needs Improvement:

a.  Total performance occasionally or periodically falls short of acceptable standards.

b.  Specific deficiencies should be noted in the supervisor’s comments section.

c.  The evaluation indicates the supervisor’s belief that the employee can and will make the necessary improvements.

3.  Average:

a.  Consistently renders acceptable and competent performance, meeting all standards of duty assignment.

b.  Most employees will be rated in this category.

4.  Above Average:

a.  Total performance is well above standards for the duty assignment, often demonstrating leadership qualities among his or her peers.

b.  Evaluations in this category must be addressed in supervisor’s comments section.

IV.  Procedures

A.  Employee Factors:

The rating factors should assess employee performance in his or her specific assignment during the rating period. Each employee will be rated on each factor that best depicts the employee’s performance in relation to his or her duty assignment.

Employees will not be rated by comparing their performance to that of other employees.

1.  Follows Instructions:

a.  Does the employee demonstrate that he or she has accepted instructions by attempting to carry out instructions to the best of his or her ability, or does he or she chronically challenge instructions?

b.  Does he or she have to be repeatedly given the same instructions in order to obtain the desired effect?

2.  Assumes Initiative:

a.  Refers to initiation of action by the employee.

b.  While initiative shows up in the form of suggestions and constructive criticism, it is most obvious when the employee originates investigations or acts to produce more efficient, productive, or economical methods or procedures.

c.  Does he or she take opportunities to exercise initiative, or must he or she be prodded into action? Is he or she alert to operative efficiency? Is he or she inventive? Does he or she offer practical constructive criticism?

3.  Cooperates with Others:

a.  Is the employee a “team worker,” and does he or she work well with others toward a desired goal?

b.  Does he or she readily assist others or work with others, or must he or she be ordered to do so?

4.  Adheres to HCSO and Bureau Rules:

a.  HCSO members are subject to rules and regulations. Failure to observe reasonable directions and regulations is listed as a reason for disciplinary action.

b.  Does the employee consistently comply with rules and regulations applicable to him or her and his or her job?

c.  Does the employee constantly have to be reminded of bureau and HCSO rules, or is the employee’s compliance voluntarily?

5.  Observes Assigned Duty Hours:

a.  Refers to punctuality in reporting to or leaving a duty station in accordance with the prescribed schedule of working hours, breaks, or leaves of absence.

b.  Can the employee be relied upon to be working when and where he or she is supposed to be?

6.  Shows Concern for Quality of Work:

a.  The degree of excellence of the work performed over the entire rating period is measured here. In rating this factor, attention should be paid to the consequences of poor quality work.

b.  Is the employee’s work effective, accurate, thorough, and acceptable? Must the work be redone, thus reducing the potential volume of acceptable work that could have been produced?

c.  Do errors in the employee’s work affect the efforts of others? Does poor work too often reflect adversely upon the HCSO? Are reports clear, concise, and accurate?

d.  Does the employee exhibit any pride in the quality of his or her work, or is it “a job?”

7.  Completes Assignments in a Timely Manner:

a.  How well does the employee complete his or her assignments?

b.  Does someone else have to do the employee’s work in order to meet time limits?

c.  How does the employee’s completion of assignments affect others?

8.  Demonstrates Job Knowledge:

a.  This factor should not be confused with, or restricted to, the technical knowledge an employee is required to bring to a specialized job class. It is much broader and includes particularly the range of pertinent policies, regulations, and procedures relating to his or her assignment.

b.  Has the probationary employee acquired an acceptable working level of job knowledge? Can the employee perform his or her assigned duties in an acceptable manner without being specifically told what to do? How well does the employee perform based on his or her direct knowledge of assigned duties?

9.  Quantity of Acceptable Work:

a.  Refers to the amount of work required to meet job standards.

b.  Does the employee consistently accomplish a day’s work for a day’s pay? Does he or she produce enough work so that he is clearly a net asset to the HCSO?

c.  Supervisors should not make undue allowances for such reasons as the employee’s poor health, home problems, age, or length of service. While short-term expectations to the volume standard can sometimes be made, care should be exercised to see that proper warnings are issued when indicated.

10.  Presents Professional Image:

a.  This should not be confused with the manner in which the employee complies with the dress code. It is much broader in that it details the manner in which the employee performs his or her assigned duty, deals with the public, and deals with other agencies – all reflect professionalism.

b.  Can other HCSO members be proud of the image the employee presents, or do we have to make excuses for the employee? This applies to the employee’s conduct and image both while on duty and off duty.

B.  Supervisory Factors:

1.  Trains Subordinates:

a.  Refers generally to orientation of new employees or to the demonstration and exploration of technical methods, procedures, and rules where the new employee cannot be expected to be competent.

b.  It also refers to introducing permanent employees to changing methods, procedures, techniques, and improving basic qualifying skills to their highest potential level.

c.  It refers also to instructions given in day-to-day or periodic observation and supervision of employee performance. It may be an occasional duty, or it may be a planned periodic meeting of a small group of employees where effective methods, techniques, and standard procedures are explained, demonstrated, and reviewed.

d.  Does the supervisor plan and carry out a program of orientation and training for new employees? Does he or she provide for the correction of any technical skill deficiencies in new employees? Does he or she provide training for permanent employees in new methods and procedures? Does he or she assist employees in self-development programs?

2.  Enforces HCSO Rules:

a.  Refers generally to degree of compliance to HCSO rules and regulations of the supervisor’s subordinates and span of control.

b.  Does the supervisor take the initiative to do so on his or her own, or does he or she have to be reminded? Does he or she “look the other way” for certain subordinates? Is he or she reluctant to enforce rules?

3.  Directs and Controls Subordinates:

a.  Refers to the maintenance of order in all areas of supervisory jurisdiction.

b.  Do the supervisor’s employees perform their duties and functions in an orderly and disciplined manner that promotes work objectives? Do the employees have a clear understanding of behavior and performance standards that are expected? Does the supervisor enforce these standards consistently?

c.  Is the supervisor “accepted” by his or her subordinates and in full control at all times? Is the discipline and control too oppressive?

4.  Makes Sound Decisions:

a.  Refers to the practical exercise of authority and responsibility by the supervisor.

b.  Does the supervisor exhibit firmness and fairness in judgments affecting functional goals? Does he or she cause resentment or other adverse reactions to his or her decisions because of poor timing or the manner in which he or she states them?

c.  Are his or her judgments always in accord with the best interests of the HCSO? Does he or she balance employee and HCSO interests when these are not fully compatible?

d.  Does the supervisor render fair and impartial evaluations to those rated, consistent with their performance over the given evaluation period?

5.  Sets Good Examples for Subordinates:

a.  Does the supervisor spur subordinates to their best efforts through example rather than by relying on the authority of his or her position?

b.  Does he or she mold them into a group or team whose cooperative endeavors surpass their individual performances collectively?

c.  Does his or her intelligent exercise of leadership create an atmosphere where employee attitudes are optimistic and positive?

C.  Procedures for Utilization of Forms:

1.  Rate each employee on each factor by marking the number value for the category that best represents the employee’s performance in relation to his or her specific duty assignment.

a.  Add all marked values, and enter the total score.

b.  Compare the total score evaluations to the scale shown below:

i.  Unsatisfactory    0 to 10 points

ii.  Needs Improvement  11 to 19 points

iii.  Average      20 to 25 points

iv.  Above Average    26 to 30 points

2.  If the employee being evaluated is a supervisor, complete Section II in the same manner as above.

a.  Add all marked values, and enter the total score for this section. Add the total scores for both sections, and enter the total in the space for the combined total score.

b.  Compare the combined total score to the scale below:

i.  Unsatisfactory    0 to 15 points

ii.  Needs Improvement  16 to 29 points

iii.  Average      30 to 38 points

iv.  Above Average    39 to 45 points

c.  Any total score falling within the “Unsatisfactory,” “Needs Improvement,” and “Above Average” categories must be detailed in the comments section of the evaluation form.

d.  Raters will substantiate each factor rating in the lowest or highest categories and give specific reasons for the ratings through a narrative comment or other written documentation.

D.  Rater Training:

Within one (1) calendar year of promotion, all new supervisory personnel must attend and successfully complete the New Supervisor Course, as required by TCOLE, which includes training on accomplishing performance evaluations.

E.  Schedule for Performance Evaluations:

1.  Each supervisor will complete a performance evaluation for each employee under his or her immediate supervision during the month of June. This evaluation will rate the employee’s performance in his or her assignment for the preceding one-year period.

2.  A performance evaluation report will be completed each time an employee completes the probationary period that is applicable to new employees, promotions, transfers, and discipline.

3.  Unscheduled performance ratings may be completed at any time deemed necessary for either probationary or permanent employees. The specific period being evaluated will be noted in the comments of the report.

4.  Employee performance evaluations will be completed by the immediate supervisor for all employees upon termination of employment with the HCSO. This will include resignation.

5.  Newly-hired or promoted employees will serve a probationary period of one hundred eighty (180) days.

a.  The probationer will be evaluated at least twice during the probationary period by his or her immediate supervisor.

b.  One evaluation must be at the midpoint of the probationary period, and a second evaluation must be not less than ten (10) days prior to the end of the probationary period.

6.  If a supervisor, at any time, judges the performance of a classified employee to merit an unsatisfactory rating, he or she may:

a.  Complete an employee performance evaluation that specifically details the conduct or behavior leading to the unsatisfactory rating, and / or

b.  Counsel with the employee privately and advise him or her in specific terms:

i.  What conduct or performance has led to the unsatisfactory rating, and

ii.  What level of performance is expected of the employee in the future.

c.  In order to encourage improvement and provide the employee with an opportunity to meet expectations, written notification in the form of an evaluation or other written documentation will be provided to the employee at least 90 days prior to the next scheduled evaluation.

7.  Upon completion of the performance evaluation, the rater will conduct a review of the evaluation with the subject employee in privacy. During this interview, any progress, goals, suggestions for improvement, and deficiencies will be discussed.

a.  The rater will give the employee career counseling in such topics as advancement, specialization, or training appropriate for the employee’s position.

b.  Any changes in performance ratings must be initialed in ink by the employee and rater.

8.  Upon completion of the review of the performance evaluation report, the subject employee will be afforded an opportunity to enter any comments in the appropriate space.

a.  The employee will also indicate whether he or she wishes to discuss the performance evaluation report with the reviewer. The request will be in writing and entered in the comments section of the performance evaluation.

b.  The rater and subject employee will sign and date all copies of the report. The employee’s signature indicates that the conference has been held and an opportunity afforded to read the report.

c.  If the employee refuses to sign for any reason, the refusal will be recorded on the report, after which it will be forwarded.

9.  After the completion of the performance evaluation review, the employee will be given a complete and true copy of the performance evaluation form.

10.  If the employee requests additional review of the performance evaluation report with the reviewer, the rater will immediately forward the evaluation to the reviewer, who will grant the request within five (5) working days.

a.  The reviewer and the employee must initial any changes or modifications of evaluations or ratings.

b.  If the employee does not receive a review within the prescribed time period, or after discussing the performance evaluation report with the reviewer feels need for further review, the employee may appeal immediately in writing to his or her bureau commander.

c.  The bureau commander’s decision will be final.

11.  All completed evaluations will be forwarded to the rater’s supervisor for review. The supervisor will evaluate raters regarding the fairness and impartiality of the ratings given, the quality of the ratings given, their participation in counseling rated employees, and their ability to carry out the rater’s role in the performance evaluation system. After review, the supervisor will sign and forward the evaluations to the bureau commander through the chain of command.

12.  The original employee performance evaluation form will be forwarded to Career Development for processing and then forwarded to the HR for permanent retention in the HCSO personnel files. A copy will also be maintained in the employee’s bureau personnel file.


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009

May 1, 2018

June 18, 2021

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