News | Aug. 6, 2015

Chiefs' offer NCO's new ACA form tips

By Chief Master Sgt. Daniel McCarthy and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Weaver 940th Wing Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt.'s Daniel McCarthy and Michael Weaver, both 349th Air Mobility Wing Detachment 1 flight chiefs, host a development workshop on the newly ushered in Airman Comprehensive Assessment form, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Aug. 2, 2015. This is the second development workshop they've offered during the monthly unit training assemblies here. For their next lesson in September, they plan to offer techniques for improving wing members' communication skills.

The Chief's shared these tips with the Public Affairs Office:  

1. Try.  Documenting formal feedback can be intimidating. Dive in and do your best. With practice, you will become better and better at the process. If you make an effort to develop your relationship with your ratee, you will find most members will be welcoming and helpful.

2. Document.  The new and improved ACA feedback form is now available for use.  Minimum requirements for the form's use are: 01) within 60 days of beginning initial supervision.  02) midterm between initial or beginning cycle and projected closeout date. 03) at the end-of reporting period, within 60 days of the EPR close-out.

3. Prepare. Be able to "talk smart" about the specifics pertaining to the person you plan to meet with.  Review their training documentation history, ancillary training status, additional duty information and previous feedback or set goals. This way you will have fresh and accurate information to reference.

4. Respect Privacy.  Select a venue that will provide private and uninterrupted chat time.  Also make sure to store the ACA form correctly. It does not go into PIF and it should only be seen by rater-ratee unless circumstances require an additional rater or commander to review.  Keep private discussions and performance ratings between you and your ratee as much as possible.

5. Creative Control. Supervisors can choose the style in which expectations and feedbacks are written.  The form is required, but there is not an exact science or standard for filling it out.  Use the approach that works best for you as long as the message is understandable.

6. Set Expectations.  Be fair, consistent and clear.  Formally present your "ground rules." Key duties and requirements outlined in the enlisted force structure can help you to formulate these rules.  Make it clear these are the standards you will use to measure and rate the members' performance.  

7. Accurately Assess.  Rate the reservist for their actual performance. Don't falsely inflate to spare feelings or to avoid negatively affecting their career, but also provide the "way-ahead" for them to improve.  Everyone, even top performers, have room to improve and they should have constructive criticism to help them.  Take the responsibility seriously, our members deserve it.

8. Delivery.  Please understand that people have different personalities and may respond differently to the same instruction, so adjust for their personality quirks when presenting feedback. But, whatever their personality type, hold the person to the same standards and be consistent with your expectations. A one size fits all delivery doesn't work for everyone.

9. Be open.  Supervisors and ratees need to both be open to receiving feedback. Ask members what expectations they have of you. Limited expectations yield only limited results.  Supervisors should seek open dialog feedback sessions which the new ACA helps to facilitate. 

10. Follow-Up. Stay involved. When feedback cites the member's deficiencies, meet sooner than the minimum required times. More frequent feedback can help give the member a better chance at improvement.