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Dispute about the level of an employee's performance

A team leader of an operational team sought review of a performance rating of 'fully effective', arguing that their results against their performance measures indicated a rating of 'exceptional'. In particular, the team leader cited the increased productivity of the team and evidence from staff survey results that the team was highly engaged.

The team leader had 84 separate performance measures in their agreement and an additional 10 key performance indicators. The Merit Protection Commissioner noted it was impractical to rate the team leader's performance on the basis of a literal assessment against each measure. This was because of the large number of performance measures and because some of the measures were behavioural. In the Merit Protection Commissioner's opinion the performance assessment in this case involved making a broad judgement of the team leader's overall performance against business outcomes. In this circumstance, an employee could be rated above the fully effective level even if not all performance measures were met.

The Merit Protection Commissioner noted evidence that the team leader had maintained high levels of productivity in circumstances of a growing and, at times, excessive workload. At the same time, the team leader oversaw a significant turn-around in indicators of staff well-being.

The Merit Protection Commissioner took the view that the team leader's performance went beyond what the team leader should have reasonably been expected to achieve with the resources available. As a result, the Merit Protection Commissioner recommended that the original performance rating be set aside and that the team leader be awarded a performance rating of 'very good'.