The MERIT program
The Minnetonka City Council directed staff to design and implement a performance management component to the compensation program for city employees. As a result, an employee committee was formed representing a diagonal slice of the organization. The committee designed an integrated, three-tier system that measures performance at the organizational, departmental and individual levels. This system is integral to the city’s overall compensation program called MERIT.
The primary goal of the MERIT program is to ensure that employee compensation reflects the standard of excellence shared in the city of Minnetonka.
- Market—One of the main objectives of the program is to improve the city’s ability to both recruit and retain valued employees. Toward that end, the program ensures the pay structure remains competitive in the market.
- Excellence Recognition—Excellence is highly valued in Minnetonka, and this standard is recognized. City employees consistently perform at the highest levels, and the program rewards them accordingly. A three-tiered system recognizes performance at all levels in the organization.
- Integrated—The overall system is integrated so the many pieces effectively complement each other. Although each component is unique, they interlock to provide employees with a fair level of total compensation.
- Teamwork—While each individual has unique needs that must be recognized, the program reinforces the city’s Shared Value that teamwork is essential to our common success.
Eligible employees participate in the three tiers of the excellence recognition program as described below.
The focus of the overall city component is on performance related to achieving the city’s strategic goals. In this way, staff will be evaluated on how well they meet the values of the community, as established by the city council. An annual survey completed by the city council, advisory boards and appropriate agencies and groups, along with the annual community survey, are tools to measure the organization’s success.
For each strategic goal, the city council rates staff’s performance with a weight of one-third of the grade for that goal. The remaining two-thirds of the grade is a combination of items: feedback from the applicable advisory board/commission, results from the community survey, and where appropriate, objective measures.
A formula is used to determine a letter grade for the organization. The maximum amount employees receive for this component varies from $100–$500.
The goal of the departmental component is to provide a process whereby the accomplishment of previously agreed upon department goals and objectives are measured and objectively rewarded. The performance of the entire team affects the success of the departmental component.
The following are the key elements of the departmental component:
- Identifying programs and services provided to internal and external customers.
- Defining the purpose of the programs and services.
- Identifying the strategic goals and key city council target areas accomplished by the programs and services.
- Developing specific, measurable, time-bound indicators relating to the program /service statement.
- Administering customer service surveys to measure the quality and effectiveness of the programs and services.
- Developing indicators relating to department administration and employee development.
- Calibrating the indicators to determine their appropriateness.
- Preparing the outcome report.
Each department’s score is determined by the successful completion of their indicators. The amount employees receive for this component varies from 0.5 to 2.5% of their base salary.
The individual component of the MERIT program is a tool to provide meaningful, honest feedback. Providing feedback to a coworker, supervisor, direct report, or department director gives them the information they need to continuously learn and grow in their professional lives. Each employee and his or her supervisor identify five or more feedback providers.
The elements of the individual component are:
- Shared Values—Feedback is provided about how the employee is doing in living the organization’s shared values. The shared values are:
- authentic communications
- contagious enthusiasm
- shared success
- outcome focused teamwork
- adaptable learning and innovation
- healthy human relationships.
- Goal Accomplishment—Employees receive feedback about the accomplishment of goals they identified the previous year. Employees know in advance what they need to work on in the upcoming year.
- Supervisor Feedback—Direct reports provide feedback on 12 aspects of a supervisor’s role.
Based on employee comments, no monetary award is attached to the individual component.