Retention Rating Drop?
receive numerous calls from employees regarding "retention ratings".
In the interest of clear communication and understanding, we are providing
the following information.
rating is assigned by management to determine the order of layoff.
First, your performance is ranked by comparison with that of others.
Second, ratings are applied to the ranking, or "totem".
The highest ranked 40% receive an R1 rating; the next 40% receive
an R2 rating; the remaining 20% receive an R3 rating. Both the ranking
and rating are done within the same major organization, skill code
or job classification and level.
In theory, your
risk of layoff increases when your retention rating drops. However,
your actual risk of layoff also depends on other factors, such as
the number of employees in your skill code or job classification
and level, your major organization, the magnitude of the layoff,
and how management determines to organize the work. Therefore, a
low retention rating does not mean that you will be laid off. It
does mean that, in the event of a layoff within your major organization,
skill code or job classification and level, in the normal order of
layoff, those with R3 ratings will be laid off before those with
R2 ratings, and those with R2 ratings will be laid off before those
with R1 ratings.
rating can drop for many reasons. In most cases these are related
to the way performance is ranked and rated. It does not mean that
someone whose performance is rated as R3, for example, is doing unsatisfactory
work. Unsatisfactory work is dealt with by management through performance
discipline. It does mean that management ranks the performance of
others in the retention group higher.
Below are COMMON
REASONS FOR DROPS in retention ratings:
- Change in retention
group composition. Retention exercises occur about once each year.
It sometimes happens that the people in a retention group can change
from one exercise to another. Therefore, your work would be compared
to that of different people than before, a change which may cause
your retention rating to drop.
Layoffs cause a slightly different problem. When people with lower
retention ratings are laid off, they leave a void in the mandatory
40%/40%/20% distribution of the retention system. As a result, some
of the higher-rated employees will notice their retention ratings drop
during the next retention exercise. This is a result of the mandatory
retention distribution and does not necessarily reflect a drop in performance.
- New group or supervisor.
When you change groups or supervisors, it is possible that a retention
exercise can occur before your new supervisor has the opportunity
to fully appreciate your contributions. It is also possible that
a new supervisor may evaluate your performance somewhat differently
than was done in the past. Either situation could result in a retention
- Tech upgrades.
When Techs are upgraded from one level to another, they receive an
automatic R3 rating until the next retention exercise. At that time,
they will be ranked and rated with employees who have probably been
doing the higher level work for some time. It is not unusual, therefore,
for that person's retention rating to rise slowly over time, as he
or she is competing at a higher level and will normally take time
- Change in quality/quantity
of work. None of us are as consistent in our job performance as we
would like to be. There are times when we seem to surpass ourselves
and times when we fall short. Just as improvements in performance
can, if they affect your relative value in the retention group, cause
your retention rating to rise, so periods of lower productivity can
cause your rating to drop. Though you have little control over your
relative standing in the retention group, you do have control over
your own performance. If your retention rating drops, it is imperative
to talk to your supervisor to determine whether the quality or quantity
of your performance has fallen. Though serious performance problems
may be dealt with by management through discipline, you may be able
to catch the problem early and get back on track before reaching
a "point of no return."
- New assignments.
Your work could change for any number of reasons. If the result is
that you must learn new systems or new skills, the time this takes
may affect your retention rating. Make sure you and your supervisor
agree on how long you have to come up to speed and how you can get
help if you need it.
Both the Tech and
Prof contracts create rights of appeal when your retention rating drops
(the formal grievance procedure does not apply to drops in retention).
There are explicit limits on these rights and a long history of cases
indicating what appeals will succeed. If your retention rating has
not dropped since the last exercise, you may not appeal; if your rating
has dropped for any of the reasons given above, your chances of a successful
appeal are poor.
A successful appeal requires
documentary proof that management has rated you incorrectly relative
to your peers. Much but not all of this proof comes from information
about your retention group which can be accessed and analyzed by a
SPEEA Contract Administrator who will then be able to tell you whether
your appeal warrants further review. It is your responsibility to provide
your reasons for wishing to appeal in writing to the Contract Administrator
for evaluation. This must be done within 30 days following notification
of your retention drop. We suggest that you talk with your supervisor
about the drop before notifying SPEEA of your desire to appeal.
- Talk with your
supervisor about the reasons for your retention drop.
- An appeal is unlikely
to succeed or is disallowed by contract if the drop was due to:
- Change in retention
group composition from consolidation of retention groups or layoffs
- Tech upgrade
- Drop in quality/quantity
- If the drop was
due to a provable error in your rating, write to your SPEEA Contract
Administrator requesting a review. Include the name(s) of the manager(s)
you have talked to about your retention drop, what they told you,
and why you are not satisfied with that information. You should also
enclose copies of your last three WPR's / Performance Management
documents and any letters of commendation or awards you have recently
SPEEA retention appeal request form