CERN Accelerating science

2017 MERIT exercise

In 2017, the annual advancement exercise MARS will be replaced by the annual performance evaluation and recognition exercise MERIT.

The HR Department has invited staff members to attend two information meetings “2017 MERIT Public Sessions”, the purpose of which is to explain the “general principles of the Merit, Evaluation and Recognition Integrated Toolkit”.

The first meeting was held in English on Tuesday, 6 December. The second meeting will be in French on Thursday, 15 December at 10.00, in room 774-R-013 (Prévessin site).

The Staff Association appreciates the HR Department’s efforts to inform staff members, especially regarding the changes between the MARS system and the MERIT system.

Nevertheless, we find it useful if we inform you, from our side, taking up the issues we find the most pertinent.

Benchmark jobs and the new salary scale

The HR presentation looks back on the changes that took place on September 2016. These concern, in particular, the placement in a grade and the provisional assignment in a benchmark job. In Echo bulletins No. 254, 252, 248, we have already discussed these changes in detail and will thus not re-enter into the debate on modalities and the possible consequences of these changes. Still, we encourage you to read these articles again.

Nevertheless, it is now essential and urgent to remind you that the benchmark job you have been provisionally assigned to on 1st September 2016 should be discussed with your supervisor during the 2017 MERIT interview. It is important to verify together with your supervisor that the functions, classification and activities of the benchmark job indicated in your MERIT form correspond to your current functions fully or partially. The results of this discussion have to be submitted in writing and must reflect the positions of both parties. If the indicated benchmark job does not correspond, corrective measures should be undertaken as soon as possible and by the end of June 2017 at the latest. Your supervisor and your HRA are the ones who can help you solve this problem. In the face of difficulties, assistance can be requested from the Staff Association as well.

MERIT form

The new MERIT form is available on EDH as of 1st December.

This simplified form contains information on the staff member, their benchmark job (provisional in 2017) and the applicable post or posts, which correspond, more or less, to the specialisations within a benchmark job.

Moreover, the field in which the description of functions and activities were previously defined has been removed and replaced by the assigned benchmark job. However, there are still fields in which activities related to specific functions and roles can be described.

As in MARS, your objectives set for the reference year (here 2016) will be evaluated. However, as a result of this simplification, the option of technical and/or behavioural competencies, which could initially be selected in the MARS form, is no longer offered. Nonetheless, these competencies must appear in your evaluations.

Regarding the “aspects related to health, safety and working conditions”, the link to the Safety Form OHS-0-0-3 has been removed. The Staff Association strongly disagrees with this removal because the evaluation of risks the staff is exposed to within the framework of their activities should be included in the exchanges during the MERIT interview.

For the 2017 part, objectives will be fixed (max. 5), including development objectives (max. 2). According to the HR Department, these objectives can only be related to the assigned benchmark job, even though a person can have other functions and roles as well. The Staff Association questions the pertinence of these types of restriction.

Finally, once the form has been filled, the supervisor comments and signs the EDH document, which is approved by the hierarchy (section leader, group leader, etc.) and then signed by the staff member, with or without commentaries.

Performance qualification

The performance qualification is communicated to the staff member at the latest upon the receipt of the payment slip of May (June in 2017). Moreover, a notification letter from the supervisor to supervisee is normally foreseen, although, this still remains to be confirmed.

Concerning the recommended distribution of qualifications, it is understood that the vast majority of staff will receive the qualification “strong” (57-63 %) or “outstanding” (27-33 %). Nevertheless, a few of us will receive the qualification “fair” (6-12 %), or even “insufficient” (0-1 %). This distribution must imperatively be made at the CERN-wide level, or even at a departmental level. This means that the departments cannot and must not, in any case, echo this distribution at the level of groups, sections and other small units. In fact, that would be unfair!

Documentation, information, training

The Staff Association will keep you informed and can answer your questions – it is a part of our role.

However, for further information, we encourage you to attend the HR meeting on 15 December, ask your supervisors and your HRA questions, consult the MERIT FAQs and Admin e-guide and follow the e-learning training “Performance Management”: https://espace.cern.ch/support-e-learning/performance-management.

Stay informed, strive to understand the impact the latest Five-yearly review can have on your career and take charge of your future at CERN!