CERN Accelerating science

2017 MERIT Exercise close to completion!

The 2017 MERIT Guidelines, approved by the Standing Concertation Committee (SCC), concern various processes and procedures, among which those for the annual exercise (or MERIT interview), promotions, and changes of benchmark job.

The processes for “annual exercise” and “promotions” – “changes of benchmark job” have been programmed for two periods:

  • from 1st December 2016 to 15 June 2017: MERIT interviews, evaluation, performance qualification and payment with effect as of the salary of May;
  • from 3 April 2017 to 1st July 2017: promotions and changes of benchmark job.

2017 MERIT Interviews

The results of the MERIT interviews have been announced to staff members, most of whom saw their salary increase. Only persons who are not eligible and those with “Insufficient” performance qualification did not receive a raise. Same goes for performance payments – the staff members whose performance was qualified as “Strong” or “Outstanding” received an annual premium in May, whereas those with “Insufficient” or “Fair” qualification did not.

Distribution of performance qualifications

The percentage distribution of performance qualifications, as defined in the aforementioned Guidelines, is to be carried out CERN-wide. Therefore, this distribution is not applicable to all levels: from department to the smallest sections. The Staff Association has already heard of this CERN-wide rule not being followed at all times. Is this the result of a misunderstanding or a choice? After all, this recommendation was approved by the Management.




Fair Strong



0 % - 1 % 6 % - 12 % 57 % - 63 %

27 % - 33 %

A detailed analysis of these first results should make it possible to, firstly, identify any malfunctions and draw the necessary conclusions. Secondly, the statistics presented in the SCC should reflect these potential malfunctions and lead to discussions.

“Insufficient” or “Fair” qualification

In the context of “Insufficient” performance qualifications, a Performance Improvement Plan will be implemented. This process has been in place and applied for a long time and it has not altered following the change of career structure.

However, with regard to “Acceptable” qualifications, the concertation between the Management and the Staff Association has resulted in an agreement to put in place a follow-up initiated by the Human Resources Department (launched shortly). For all staff members with an “Acceptable” performance, a follow-up is needed to understand the reasons for this qualification and to see if the elements to improve the performance for the current year are well established. These elements must be identified, known and understood. It is important not to leave our colleagues in difficulty or unmotivated without support.


The results of promotions, i.e. changes of grade without a salary increase (+ a few cases where the Equity budget is used), will be known as of July 1st.

Here again, an analysis of the process, including the use of Equity budget, will be necessary with statistics presented in the SCC.

Changes of benchmark job

The results of changes of benchmark job will also be known on July 1st.

The Staff Association would like to recall that this first exercise consists of two very distinct types of changes of benchmark job:

  • changes proposed by the Management in the framework of career evolution;
  • changes that can only stem from errors in placement in provisional benchmark jobs on 1st September 2016.

The Staff Association considers it important to clearly distinguish these two types of changes.

You can send your questions and comments with regard to this first MERIT Exercise to us. From our part, we will continue to keep you informed.

The French version of this article was published in Echo No. 271.