Beacon eForms: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Performance Management Appraisal Program (PMAP)

Friday, July 17, 2015


The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 requires the Federal Government to establish strategic planning and performance measurement for program activities and employees. This legislation aims to align employee and group performance with agency goals to focus efforts on goal achievement in order to improve organizational performance. Each year, Federal supervisors work closely with their direct reports to develop a performance plan for the coming year. These performance plans clearly define goals, objectives, and expectations for employees. The National Institutes of Health follows the HHS Performance Management Appraisal Program (PMAP), which applies to all General Schedule (GS), Wage Grade (WG, WL, WS), Senior Biomedical Research Service (SBRS), Title 42 209(f), and Title-42 209(g) employees who are not covered under the HHS Executive Performance Management System (EPMS). The HHS PMAP defines critical elements, which are used to score employees against five ratings. The NIDCD was interested in automating this process to eliminate paper waste and increase the speed of the annual review process.



The NIDCD wished to expedite the process of developing the performance plans for employees while maintaining clear and effective communication and collaboration between the employee and the supervisor. They also aimed to improve the efficiency of the employee and supervisor review and collaboration and to eliminate paper waste.


Our Process

NetComm listened to the challenges experienced by the PMAP Coordinators at the NIDCD and identified the key elements necessary for a digitized version of this annual agreement. Security and flexibility were an essential component of a successful adoption. We leveraged the automated processes, security, reporting capabilities, and data from our Beaon product line to create an electronic form routing of the PMAP process in our eForms module to meet those needs. This included:

  • NetComm’s proprietary Beacon Digital Signature Software

  • Direct and secure website access to review performance plans throughout the year

  • An automated flow of new employee information into a centralized online database

  • Flexible and customizable performance plans for individual employees

  • A single access point for reviewing and reporting on the approval process

  • E-mail notifications and alerts to facilitate faster approval of agreements

  • Electronic routing and messaging for streamlined interactions between employees and supervisors

  • Real time reporting options for PMAP coordinators and supervisors

  • Dashboard views of open, unsigned, or active agreements with trend analysis capabilities



In January 2014, the NIDCD piloted the Beacon PMAP eForm in the intramural division of the Institute.  Historically, the PMAP coordinators found the annual process to be time consuming and faced many challenges when providing metrics to leadership. Using the Beacon PMAP eForm, PMAP coordinators found they could quickly respond to data calls using the information stored in the tool. Digital signatures allowed the Institute to prevent paper waste while still feeling secure in the integrity of the finalized agreements. The entire process was significantly expedited as supervisors and employees could now collaborate electronically to finalize the agreements and employees benefited from year round access to review their objectives and goals. By January of 2015, all employees covered by the HHS PMAP at NIDCD were using the Beacon PMAP eForm, resulting in a significant reduction of paper waste and administrative overhead by federal employees at the institute.