JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (April 21, 2017) Army officials are implementing a new appraisal program impacting 1,100 Mission and Installation Contracting Command employees covered by the Total Army Performance Appraisal System, as the Army continues to make progress in creating a culture of engagement and high performance.

This program, known as New Beginnings, is a collaborative labor-management effort to improve human resource practices and policies in the Army.

A major initiative under New Beginnings is the implementation of the enterprise-wide Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program, which is designed to implement significant human resource practices and policies, including the implementation of a new department-wide performance management and appraisal program. New Beginnings also encompasses reforms in the areas of hiring flexibilities, training and development and workforce incentives. It effects all MICC General Schedule civilian employees currently covered by the TAPES and their civilian and military supervisors.

Approximately 1,100 employees across the MICC are transitioning to DPMAP. Civilian employees, as well as their military supervisors, will need to take DPMAP training before the first group of TAPES employees transfer into the new appraisal program before the July 1 deadline.

Through the New Beginnings efforts, Army human resource officials are striving to institutionalize a shared culture of high performance through greater employee engagement.

New Beginnings program officials said the program will also work to improve capabilities in recruiting, developing and rewarding to a dynamic and effective workforce. The program is designed to encourage communication between supervisors and employees leading to a more collaborative process in the performance management arena resulting in employees receiving appropriate recognition for their performance under DPMAP.

"Two things to remember, the first being transparency," "Under TAPES, the communication design seemed largely one way, supervisor to employee, which is not effective for our dynamic operating environment and 21st century workforce," said Steve Stacy, the command's DPMAP action officer and a human resources specialist.

"Assuming both parties conduct their required responsibilities under DPMAP as expected, there should no 'surprises' for either individual at the end of the appraisal cycle. Second, unlike TAPES, DPMAP is an automated, computer-based system with features that make it far easier for employees to compile their accomplishments for review by their supervisors, and for supervisors to document the accomplishments of each of their employees and assign ratings," Stacy added. "To facilitate this, employees and supervisors should monitor and document individual performance accomplishments throughout the appraisal period. This will make it easier to write these accomplishments up at the end of the appraisal cycle."

Initially, MICC civilian employees under TAPES, who are in the grades GS-13 and above, will transfer into DPMAP July 1. MICC employees who are in the GS-12 and below will transfer November 1. All transferring employees will be in DPMAP long enough to receive an initial performance rating under the program. Starting in 2018, both groups will move under one appraisal cycle that will run from April 1 to March 31.

"It is understandable that transitioning employees will have reservations about moving into a new performance appraisal system," Stacy said. "That is why a key focus of the DPMAP training is on the open communication that must occur between the supervisor and employee for DPMAP to be successful."

MICC Human Resources officials began a two-day training program in March.

"The success of the two-day DPMAP training program requires affected employees at all grade levels to engage in a group dynamics interaction process, to include supervisor and employee role-playing scenarios, as well as performance management problem solving," Stacy said "As such, it is important that as many of our offices as possible have their DPMAP training completed by the July 1 deadline when those employees GS-13 and above transfer."

New Beginning program officials said with a commitment to improving and expanding existing training and learning opportunities, the command's New Beginnings training, education, and professional development program ensures a high-functioning, engaged, professional workforce is energized toward achieving the organizational mission.

"Those affected will learn that New Beginnings is a collaborative process focused on developing and implementing new personnel authorities by institutionalizing a culture of high performance through greater employee-supervisor communication and accountability, increased employee engagement, transparent processes, and improved capabilities in recruiting, developing and rewarding our workforce," said Charles Trumpfheller, a supervisory procurement analyst with the 412th Contracting Support Brigade at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. "Our training stresses continuous communication between employees and supervisors, to focus performance on improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of the mission and our goals. To best support mission readiness, we continue to pride ourselves on being a learning organization that places high value on knowledge management and employee engagement."

The MICC is made up of about 1,500 military and civilian members across the United States and Puerto Rico who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of Soldiers' readiness. The MICC is responsible for readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, preparing more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.