Before entering the EPA-1 meeting, you should have created shared goals and performance expectations with your employees that speak to their job duties as well as the universal competencies as outlined in the EPA policy and forms. Some of these goals should be individualized and others should pertain to the entire team or unit, such as expectations on conduct or attendance. You may even have met with your employees to discuss and clarify individualized goals before you incorporated them into the performance expectations.
Now, it is time to conduct the official EPA-1 meeting. Remember that if you are a supervisor over other supervisors, you only need to meet with those supervisors. They in return will meet with the staff that are assigned to them on the organizational chart.
Here are some tips and ideas to get this meeting off to a great start:
1. Before the meeting: Consider working with the employee to develop their expectations ahead of time. Perhaps create a working google document that you can both edit. These can then be copied and pasted into the EPA-1 on NEOGOV Perform, and there are less likely to be changes at your formal meeting. Please remember that you should not submit the electronic form to employees BEFORE meeting with them face-to-face to go over it as the meeting might result in changes to the expectations.
2. Consider the meeting setting: Where are you meeting? Do you have an office or are you stationed in a cubicle where it is not only loud, but where words can be overheard? Just like any other meeting, you want to make sure that you can concentrate on the task at hand. Additionally, you want to ensure that you are sitting not across from one another, but either at an angle or next to each other. This signals that you are partners. Sitting across, possibly even with your desk between you and the employee, indicates authority and power.
3. Discourage disruptions: This is supposed to be time reserved for you and the employee. Do everything possible to minimize disruptions, e.g., turn phones off/on silent, put the “Do not disturb" sign on the door and use this setting on your desk phone, and close the door. Alternatively, you may want to consider moving this meeting to a conference room. Just being away from your office can minimize interruptions. Don't worry, if you have marked this meeting appropriately in your calendar, people can still find you if necessary.
4. Discuss the expectations: Go over the performance expectations and clarify any questions or concerns. While the unit/team-wide performance expectations should not be surprising, the individual ones may raise some concerns with your employee, especially if you did not discuss them before your meeting. Take the time and explain in detail what you are looking for and be open to feedback and modification to the expectations based on new information presented by the employee.
5. Discuss the importance of the goals/expectations: Employees need to know the reason for the goals and expectations. How do they tie in with the overall picture? How is reaching the goals moving things forward? How is accomplishing the goals developing them and helping them in their career? Even if you have created some goals/expectations jointly, it does not hurt to repeat what's in it for the employee.
6. Realistically consider the obstacles: Ask your employee what they might need from you to reach the goals and expectations. Remember you want to provide the employee with the chance to be successful. So what is it that they need to get the job done?
7. Make modifications based on the conversation: Did any information during the meeting spur a change to the EPA-1 expectations. If so, make them in the final submission.
8. Submit the electronic evaluation form for the employee's signature: AFTER the meeting and after you have made any changes based on feedback, electronically sign the EPA-1 form. This will release it to your employee, who will also sign the form. It will then be considered complete.
Once you have met with each employee, you will need to set up regular check-in meetings for the first performance period. We will discuss this in the next newsletter. For now, if you would like more information, check out these links:
How to set and communicate clear team expectations
6 tips on setting expectations for employees
6 steps to setting clear expectations