1.4.18  Electronic Products and Services Support Managers Guide

Manual Transmittal

September 20, 2013

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.4.18, Resource Guide for Managers, Electronic Products and Services Support Managers Guide.

Material Changes

(1) Due to the reorganization of EPSS the following names changed, Information Returns Branch to Technical Services Operation (TSO) and Policy Training and Quality to Workforce Planning, Training, and Quality.

(2) IRM 1.4.18.1, Electronic Products and Services Support – Customer Focus - Added FATCA Online Registration and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Providers. Deleted IRS Employee e-file and replaced CCR with System for Award Management (SAM).

(3) IRM 1.4.18.2, EPSS Business Measures - IPU 00U1822 issued to update measures to reflect FY 13.

(4) IRM 1.4.18.2, EPSS Business Measures - Removed measures

(5) IRM 1.4.18.4.1, Business Requirements - Removed reference to e-help Solution Template.

(6) IRM 1.4.18.5.1.2, Weekly Duties - Removed information regarding the requirement to file Form 3081s.

(7) IRM 1.4.18.5 (2), Administrative Guidelines - Deleted reference and link for Administrative Procedures for Managers as it is no longer available.

(8) IRM 1.4.18.5.4.6, Contact Recording - Removed reference to opening a KISAM ticket.

(9) IRM 1.4.18.5.4.1 Monitoring and Reviews - Added review requirements for e-help and CSS.

(10) IRM 1.4.18.5.4.9 Training - Updated training schedule actions taking by the WPTQ analyst.

(11) IRM 1.4.18.8.2.1, Systems Used by EPSS Assistors - Removed ELF 15 Automated Reporting System (EARS) due to IMF moving to MeF. Updated definition of EUP.

(12) IRM 1.4.18.8.2.2, Roles in the Employee User Portal (EUP) - Removed PTIN application roles (PUPA,PVPA), ANSC ELF, EARS AUIRSC and EARS TCC.

(13) IRM 1.4.18.8.5, Monitoring email in EHSS - Removed Gold Card member and update the SOR to email.

(14) IRM 1.4.18.8.6, EHSS Solutions Board - Updated criteria and responsibilities for Solution Board members.

(15) IRM 1.4.18.8.6.1, Solutions Due to Program Changes - Removed Solution Template hyperlink.

(16) IRM 1.4.18.8.6.2, Solutions for New Policy Owner - Removed reference to Solution Template.

(17) IRM 1.4.18.9.1, ASPECT Assistance - Added Assistance with ETD.

(18) IRM 1.4.18.9.2.1, Aspect Changes, Updates or Deletions - Updated instructions for the EPSS Change Request Form.

(19) 1.4.18.9.3, Staffing Requirements - Updated call demand projections are at an Enterprise level during Work Planning phase of the fiscal year, and added information on how the projected forecast and phone schedule are created. Removed schedules is done by application (product).

(20) IRM 1.4.18.9.3.1, Adherence - Updated they to e-help assistors.

(21) IRM 1.4.18.9.3.5 Idle Reason Codes - IPU 13U0520 issued to updated Idle Reason Codes

(22) IRM 1.4.18.9.3.6, Scheduling Employees on the Telephones, - Added Level of Service.

(23) 1.4.18.9.3.8, WebView - Added steps to access WebView, updated name of Real Time Call Type Report to E-help Adherence, definition updated.

(24) IRM 1.4.18.10.1, EHSS Reports - Added Closed Interaction with Additional Email Response Report.

(25) IRM 1.4.18.11. - EHSS Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery - Updated procedures for system issues.

(26) IRM 1.4.18.12.2 EPSS Communications -Added EPSS Communication are located on the EPSS SERP Portal. Changed e-help Communication to EPSS Communication. Moved from 1.4.18.1.3 to 1.4.18.12.2 subsection to Miscellaneous Procedures

(27) 1.4.18.13.2, Adding the e-help Mailbox to Your Outlook Folders - Deleted section no longer needed e-help communications available on SERP Portal.

(28) IRM 1.4.18.12.3, PII (Personally Identifiable Information) - Updated Privacy Information Protection and Data Security to Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosure (PGLD).

(29) IRM 1.4.18.12.4, Customer Engagement - Moved section to Miscellaneous Procedures and updated location for information regarding product support.

(30) Exhibit 1.4.18-1, e-help Site Hours Requirement Forecast - Deleted exhibit no longer used for phone scheduling.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.4.18, Electronic Products and Services Support Managers Guide dated August 22,2012 (effective October 1,2012) is superseded. This IRM incorporates the following IRM Procedural Update (IPU) - 12U1822 (11-3-2012) and 13U0520 (03-13-2013).

Audience

Managers of Electronic Products and Services Support employees

Effective Date

(10-01-2013)

Related Resources

Managers should use this IRM in conjunction with IRM 3.42.7, e-help Desk, IRM 21.3.11 Information Returns Reporting Procedures and IRM 3.42.9, Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) which provides policies and procedures for Electronic Products and Services Support assistors and other users.

Patricia Laposta
Director, Electronic Products and Services Support
Wage and Investment Division

1.4.18.1  (10-01-2013)
Electronic Products and Services Support – Customer Focus

  1. Electronic Products and Service Support (EPSS) managers must provide leadership and direction to employees responsible IRS electronic products (e-products). Electronic Products and Services Support (EPSS) recognizes the importance of using innovative technologies and employs a holistic approach to managing users of IRS electronic products.

  2. The EPSS organization has sites in: Andover, Atlanta, Austin, Cincinnati, Martinsburg, and Ogden. EPSS supports the following programs:

    • Affordable Care Act Form Acceptance

    • electronic filing of tax returns

    • e-services includes registration, efile application, Transcripts Delivery Service (TDS), TIN Matching

    • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)

    • System for Award Management (SAM)

    • FATCA online registration

    • Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

    • Individual Taxpayer Identification (ITIN) Acceptance Agents Application

  3. Below is a list of the EPSS customers::

    • Acceptance Agents

    • Affordable Care Act (ACA) Providers

    • Circular 230 Practitioners

    • Department of Defense

    • Electronic Return Originators

    • Employers

    • Enrolled Agents

    • Foreign Account Tax Account (FATCA) Online Registration Users

    • Financial Institutions

    • Government Agencies

    • Government Contractors

    • Online Providers

    • Intermediate Service Providers

    • Income Verification Express Service (IVES)

    • Large Corporations

    • Low Income Tax Clinics (LITC)

    • Payers

    • Registered Return Preparer

    • Reporting Agents

    • Software Developers

    • State Tax Administration Agencies

    • Tax Assistance Centers (TAC)

    • Tax Counseling for Elderly (TCE) Offices

    • Transmitters

    • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites

  4. The primary tool for documenting customer contacts is the e-help Support System (EHSS). Contacts are documented as Interactions and used to capture and track information such as who is reporting the problem, the nature of the problem, and the solution to the problem (including failed solutions). This ensures the customer’s complete contact history with EPSS is documented.

1.4.18.1.1  (10-01-2013)
Help Desk Support

  1. EPSS is staffed by employees with extensive knowledge of IRS electronic products. Some tasks performed in the position require a very specialized skill set.

  2. EPSS escalation path for assistance is as follows:

    1. Level 1– The assistor is the first point of contact for customer issues. The Level 1 assistor maintains contact directly with the customer and interfaces with internal support groups as necessary. Level 1 handles all issues within the scope of their training and authority. They are responsible for documenting the Interaction in a detailed and complete manner. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, failed transmissions, rejected returns, and assistance with Internet-based applications. If an issue is beyond the scope of Level 1, the Interaction is transferred/escalated to Level 2 or as instructed in the solution.

      Note:

      Once an Interaction is escalated it becomes an Incident.

    2. Level 2– The assistors have more experience, knowledge and training needed for resolution of an issue. Level 2 personnel includes but are not limited to, leads, managers, business analysts, etc. Level 2 resolves issues and follows up with the customer to ensure all issues have been resolved to the customer's satisfaction. Typical issues include, but are not limited to, error code issues resulting from web products, password resets, and communication and connectivity issues not resolved at Level 1. Level 2 will engage Level 3 as necessary.

    3. Level 3— Personnel interfaces with internal groups, not external customers. System administrators and developers handle issues which may include but not limited to, web server down and undocumented hard code errors.

  3. EHSS is used to provide support to IRS’s external customers. It is the primary tool for customer interaction and trouble-ticketing. Email is a function within EHSS that allows EPSS to manage and track emails from select customers, from arrival through response. The email function provides for intelligent routing service-level management and reporting. It allows for content management through content analysis techniques and keyword searches to automate problem identification. EPSS is a full service support network skilled in providing technical assistance to external customers who encounter problems using IRS electronic products.

1.4.18.2  (10-01-2013)
EPSS Business Measures

  1. It is essential to establish quantitative performance measures for the proper operation of any organization. EPSS has established measures that support and reinforce the achievement of the IRS' stated mission and overall strategic goals. IRS has developed Balanced Measures that are central to the five levels of change identified for restructuring and modernization.

  2. The three areas of measurement are:

    1. Customer Satisfaction – The telephonic survey provides the IRS with the ability to analyze customer feedback. This allows EPSS to monitor satisfaction and instantly know which aspects of the e-services applications have the greatest impact on overall customer satisfaction and customer retention.

    2. Employee Satisfaction – EPSS utilizes the IRS Workgroup Questionnaire. The questionnaire identifies successes and improvement opportunities to increase employee satisfaction, employee engagement while achieving higher productivity through a quality work environment.

    3. Business Results – EPSS has developed and implemented business measures to provide information on current performance, determine if goals are met, and identify improvement opportunities. The results from the measures are communicated to customers, stakeholders, and other interested parties.

  3. The EPSS business measures and their definitions are below. EPSS provides the Business Measure Goals in the annual program letter.

    1. Customer Accuracy – Customer Accuracy is defined as a live assistor providing the correct answer with the correct resolution. It measures how often the customer received the correct answer to their inquiry and/or had their case resolved correctly based upon all available information and IRM required actions. This measure is a weighted score to reflect the relative volume of the e-help Phones SPRG (Specialized Product Review Group).

    2. First Contact Resolution (FCR) – The percentage of customer Interactions resolved on first contact.

    3. Level of Service – The relative success rate of tax professionals that call seeking assistance from an e-help Desk and TSO Customer Service Assistor.

    4. Average Speed of Answer – A measure of the average number of seconds customers waited in queue before receiving service from e-help Desk or TSO.

    5. Third Party and Business e-Transactions - The sum of all e-services transactions processed through the Registered User Portal (RUP) by third Parties.

    6. Number of Information Returns Filed Electronically - Total number of information returns processed electronically – includes Form 1098, 1099, 5498, W-2G, 1042S, and Schedules K-1 (excludes Form W-2 and 1099-SSA/RRB received from SSA).

    7. Percent of Information Returns Filed Electronically - The percent of information returns processed that were electronically filed – includes Form 1098, 1099, 5498, W-2G, 1042S, and Schedules K-1 (excludes Form W-2 and 1099-SSA/RRB received from SSA).

1.4.18.3  (03-01-2007)
The Manager's Roles

  1. Broadly stated, EPSS managers fulfill three roles:

    1. Leading employees to achieve a goal

    2. Executing administrative responsibilities

    3. Scheduling and controlling the assigned workload

  2. This IRM is organized along these three topics.

1.4.18.4  (10-01-2013)
Leadership

  1. Leadership is the process of influencing people to achieve a set of desired results. As a team leader in the EPSS organization, your role significantly impacts the achievement of the program objectives. You are expected to take ownership of all program assignments and be knowledgeable of all policies and procedures contained within this IRM, IRM, Part 1 (Organization and Staffing, Wage and Investment Division) as well as IRM 3.42.7, e-help Desk, IRM 21.3.11, Information Returns Reporting Procedures, IRM 3.42.9, Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE), and other applicable IRM references.

    Note:

    Managers must be knowledgeable of the electronic products (i.e., e-file, e-services, EFTPS, FIRE, and SAM) worked by their site. If a site has more than one manager, the responsibilities will be shared by the managers.

  2. It is important that you lead by example. The workgroup will follow your leadership when they view you modeling what you communicate. Leadership requires that you model the highest standards of ethics and integrity. A workgroup is reflective of its leadership, a positive attitude will influence your employees and contribute to creating a quality work environment.

  3. Leadership involves coaching and mentoring your employees. As you identify opportunities for performance improvement, it is your role as a leader to assist the employees in improving performance through coaching, mentoring, and providing timely feedback. As a leader at the IRS, you are to lead using the balanced measures approach by considering customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and business results. See IRM 1.4.18.2, EPSS Business Measures.

  4. A major objective of IRS Leadership Development is promoting and supporting continuous learning. See the following web site for information on leadership development: http://hco.web.irs.gov/devtrain/index.html.

1.4.18.5  (10-01-2013)
Administrative Guidelines

  1. General administrative guidelines for all IRS managers are found in IRM 1.4,Resource Guide for Managers.

  2. Internet and intranet web sites contain the most up-to-date information. IRM 1.4.4, Useful Web Pages for Managers, is especially helpful. It provides links to useful web sites where managers can find guidelines and instructions to complete their jobs. There are also sites designed to assist with the development of managers and their employees. Since it is designed to be used electronically, hyperlinks are automatically created as the sites are accessed. A few of the many helpful sites are shown below:

    • IRS Intranet Home Pagehttp://irweb.irs.gov/ – Provides the starting point for research.

    • iManage website http://ss.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/MRC/Pages/CoPsDefault.aspx - Contains information, links, tools, videos and more to help managers grow and succeed in their roles as leaders.

    • Life Links http://win.web.irs.gov/lifelinks_home.htm – Provided by the W&I Division for its managers.

    • Mandatory Briefings – Provides information on the delivery of mandatory employee briefings. Encourage employees to utilize the Enterprise Learning Management System (ELMS) to take the briefings. ELMS automatically updates their learning history as they finish each briefing and tracks their progress.

    • Joint Operations Center (JOC)http://joc.enterprise.irs.gov/ – Provides links to service, support, and technology for all telephone, correspondence, and electronic media for Joint Operations Center customers.

    • Enterprise Telephone Data (ETD) Warehouse http://etd.ds.irsnet.gov/etd/ – Provides links to reports to assess business and employee performance.

    • Emergency Information http://serp.enterprise.irs.gov/databases/irm.dr/current/emergency.htm – Provides information regarding assault/threat incidents, bribery attempts, Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT), significant incidents, sexual harassment, bomb threats card, personal safety, safety and security overview, and suicide threats.

1.4.18.5.1  (09-23-2011)
Recurring Duties of the EPSS Manager

  1. The work in EPSS is often fast-paced and intense. Managers must continually be cognizant of the conduct and performance of permanent and returning seasonal employees, as well as the progress of any new hires. At the same time, an acceptable level of service must be provided to customers and an acceptable level of inventories maintained.

  2. A ready knowledge of administrative procedures is essential. Procedures must be implemented timely so that resources can be best utilized. Thus, it is critical that managers be alert to tasks that occur at regular intervals.

  3. The following sections provide a breakdown of some of those tasks and the intervals at which they should be performed. Though not all inclusive, it serves as a quick reference guide of managerial duties. For detailed instructions, always refer to the National Agreement or other appropriate resource materials.

1.4.18.5.1.1  (10-01-2012)
Daily Duties

  1. Perform the following duties daily:

    1. Check voice mail – Check personal voice-mail for important messages. This is especially important at the beginning of the shift when employees may call in if they are unable to come to work.

    2. Check email – Check email throughout your shift. You may wish to set Microsoft Outlook to notify you when messages are received.

    3. Attend conference calls – Because EPSS sites are in different locations around the country, conference calls are one of the primary means of communication. Attend calls promptly and submit agenda items when appropriate prior to the meeting.

    4. Reply timely to items requiring a response – Items requiring a response may be received in meetings or more frequently email. Respond within the requested time frame, even if the response is "none," "NA," "no comment," or "negative."

    5. Sign Online 5081 requests – Employees can request access to a system, have a profile unlocked, or a password reset through the Online 5081 system. When an employee makes a request, you will receive an email notification. Signing these requests is a priority.

    6. Maintain attendance roster – Attendance and leave usage should be recorded daily to help identify developing issues. When a leave issue problem is detected, counseling and documentation should be initiated.

    7. Evaluative Review – Review and complete documentation for Interactions and telephone calls for each employee. You may wish to complete some each day. See IRM 1.4.18.6.4.1, Monitoring and Reviews.

    8. Review and Share Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS) Defects – If you disagree with the defect charged, ensure your rebuttal is submitted to the Quality Team no later than ten business days from the date that the call was reviewed by CQRS. If you agree with the defect, share the review with the employee. Refer to IRM 1.4.18.6.4.8 , Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS).

    9. Monitor WebView – Use this tool to manage lunches, breaks, confirm the number of assistors on the telephone, and reassign staffing as needed. Communicate to upper management and the operation's telephone system analyst on any obstacle that will prevent adherence to the telephone schedule. The operations telephone analyst will notify the program analyst if needed. See IRM 1.4.18.9.3.8, WebView.

    10. Review Daily Aspect Crystal Reports – Use these tools to identify and address areas of concern, such as extended or frequent idle periods and excessive wrap times. See IRM 1.4.18.11.2Aspect Crystal Reports.

    11. Monitor EHSS – Monitor EHSS for open Interactions/Incidents. Ensure EHSS worklists, and Leads worklists, items are being assigned timely and issues elevated are being resolved. Respond to escalation emails.

    12. Counsel employees – Complete performance and conduct counseling as required. See IRM 1.4.18.6.3,Conduct Counseling, and IRM 1.4.18.6.4,Employees Performance.

1.4.18.5.1.2  (10-01-2013)
Weekly Duties

  1. Perform the following duties weekly:

    1. Review Forecast Staffing Requirements – Review the forecast upon receipt and daily, if necessary, to ensure adherence. Inform your department manager of any obstacles that will prevent you from meeting the schedule, such as scheduled meetings or training, or completing paper inventories.

    2. Review Ultra Intelliquality Inbox – Review the Contact Recording Inbox to ensure that all employees appear in the list of team members and calls are populating for each employee.

    3. Complete strength report – Provide to the department manager timely; report any changes to staffing (i.e., details, seasonal releases, etc.).

    4. Request any overtime or compensatory hours – The request needs to be made by the 2nd Tuesday of the pay period prior to the pay period the overtime or compensatory hours are needed.

    5. Review and validate Form 3081 Employee Time Reports – Check all entries (functions, programs, time codes, hours and volumes) for each employee. Input and validate weekly by COB Friday. From WebSETR (Single Entry Time Reporting), print the Employee Summary report the first Tuesday of the pay period (especially when there is a major change in staffing) to ensure that all employees are included. Form 3081 must be checked, validated, and signed by close of business the second Friday of each Pay period for all employees.

    6. Changes to SETR records - Form 3081 changes that were signed by COB Friday of each Pay Period must be entered, final validation, and SETR signed again no later than 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday after the Pay Period has closed.

    7. Perform Auto 2787 Overtime Reconciliation – Overtime, compensatory and holiday hours worked, must be requested, authorized and funds approved in advance. After the hours are worked, the Form 2787 Authorization and Report of Overtime Worked (excel version) is submitted to the appropriate managers for signature. The report must be input and completed no later than Tuesday following the end of the pay period. Two complete and accurate copies of the report should be given to the department secretary. Keep one copy for your files. A separate report must be prepared for comp time worked. Be sure to use the correct authorization number for each report.

    8. Aged Interactions/Incidents - Review aged case reports for closure or updates.

    9. IDRS Online Reports Services (IORS) -Managers must access the IDRS Online Reports Services (IORS) system on a weekly and monthly basis to perform required electronic security reviews for employees with access to the IDRS system.

    10. Security Audit & Analysis System (SAAS) -The Security Audit and Analysis System (SAAS) implements a data warehousing solution to provide on-line analytical processing of audit trail data. The system enables IRS and TIGTA to detect potential unauthorized accesses to IRS systems and will provide analysis capabilities and reporting on data for all modernized and some current processing environment applications.

1.4.18.5.1.3  (09-05-2008)
Monthly Duties

  1. Perform the following duties monthly:

    1. Prepare annual evaluations – Annual ratings must be issued on a monthly basis between October and June. The due date is determined by the last digit of the employee's SSN. Develop a listing of all team employees based on their SSNs to ensure that no employee is omitted.

    2. Prepare progress reviews – All employees must receive at least one progress review before the end of the rating cycle. See National Agreement, Article 12, Sections 4M and 9, at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html.

    3. Consider employees for career ladder promotions – Employees in career ladder positions should be promoted in the first pay period after they become minimally eligible to be promoted and they are capable of satisfactorily performing at the next higher level. It is the manager's responsibility to track career ladder promotions and submit personnel actions timely. The Employee Resource Center (ERC) has a link to a Career Ladder Promotion Calculator to help identify when the promotion is due. If there are questions about an employee’s eligibility date due to prior experience, temporary promotions, etc., the manager may submit an ERC ticket and request verification of eligibility. See National Agreement, Article 13, Section 8 at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html. Use data from EQRS reviews, phone, email, paper, and other sources to complete documentation and share it with employees. A signed copy of the documentation should be placed in the Employee Performance File (EPF). Mail a copy of the documentation to employees who are in non-work status.

1.4.18.5.1.4  (09-23-2011)
Periodic Duties

  1. Perform the following duties periodically:

    1. Correct personnel/payroll problems – Promptly address any employee concerns regarding personnel or payroll. Employees may initiate an inquiry themselves or contact you for assistance. Contacts (calls or online requests through OS GetServices) to the Employee Resource Center (ERC) should be diligently followed. Provide detailed information on the Service Ticket to better assist the Human Resources technician who will respond to your inquiry.

    2. Direct Travel – The manager is responsible for directing travel, approving travel expense estimates, and the expenses incurred. Official travel must be consistent with the assignment and not for personal preference or convenience. Travel questions and concerns should be resolved prior to beginning a trip. Refer to IRM 1.32.1, Official IRS Local Travel Guide and IRM 1.32.11, Official IRS City-to-City Travel Guide.

    3. Submit release and return-to-duty schedules – When several employees are being released, prepare the schedule as soon as possible and submit to the department secretary. Return-to-duty schedules cannot be input until the employee actually reports, but ensure they are prepared timely.

    4. Request vacation schedules – Request vacation schedules from all employees. Annual leave requests made by seasonal employees are subject to the same considerations as requests made by other employees; however, requests may be denied if approval would cause a severe workload interruption. See IRM 1.4.18.5.2.1,Leave Scheduling Process, and the National Agreement, Article 32, Section 3C at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html for additional information.

    5. Prepare for an operational review – Operational reviews can be conducted at any time during the year. Ensure record keeping is up-to-date and employee’s EPFs and drop folders contain current documentation.

    6. Prepare commitments and self-assessments – At the beginning of the rating period prepare commitments. Keep a drop file of achievements. Prepare a self-assessment based on the Performance Management System's critical performance expectations for your mid-year and annual evaluations. The manager will provide guidance as needed.

1.4.18.5.1.5  (10-01-2012)
Annual Duties

  1. Perform the following duties annually:

    1. Conduct Expectations Meeting – Meet with employees annually to share your expectations. All Service employees are subject to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Standards of Ethical Conduct. Document 12011, "Plain Talk about Ethics and Conduct," provides an overview of the most common conduct and ethical issues facing Service employees. A receipt for the expectations should be signed and placed in the employee's drop file, along with other conduct documentation. The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) should be notified of the meeting.

    2. Assign employees to a performance plan – Provide employees with a copy of their performance plan (which includes the Retention Standard and Critical Job Elements) annually. This can be shared during the annual discussion.

      Note:

      Employees must receive their CJE's within 30 days of their last annual rating.

      If you receive new employees this can be shared in an Expectations Meeting. Ensure Form 6774, Receipt for Critical Job Elements and Retention Standard, is signed and kept in the employee's EPF. Meet individually with leads to communicate additional expectations for them. Provide training on managerial duties so that they can act for you in your absence. Keep a drop file of employees' accomplishments as you observe their performance.

    3. Conduct Mandatory Employee Briefings – The IRS uses online delivery tools for six mandatory employee briefings: Information Management which includes Unauthorized Access (UNAX), Computer Security Awareness, and Privacy/Disclosure. The additional briefings are Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH), Ethics, and Safety and Health. Direct employees to complete the briefings accordingly. After all employees have completed the Ethics briefing, schedule a formal discussion. The traditional "in person" method of delivery for any of these briefings is considered a formal meeting and managers must follow the procedures in the National Agreement, Article 8, Section 1. Contact your local Labor Relations specialist on any questions concerning formal discussions. See National Agreement at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html.

1.4.18.5.2  (10-01-2012)
Leave Administration

  1. Managers must consider the enterprise workload and staffing needs by application prior to planning, scheduling, and approving annual leave.

  2. Managers must balance the need to accomplish the work of the Organization with accommodating employees who want to use leave. Annual leave must be granted or denied dependent on the work load of the unit. Sick leave must be used according to its intended purpose.

  3. It is important that leave issues be addressed early and consistently. A leave problem results whenever an employee fails to meet or follow the manager's expectations regarding leave.

1.4.18.5.2.1  (10-01-2013)
Leave Scheduling Process

  1. Schedule employee vacations and other leave in such a way as to minimize the effect on the accomplishment of the work. When there are conflicts, grant preference to employees with the most service as determined by enter on duty (EOD) date. When it is anticipated that call volumes will be greater than usual, use discretion when granting leave.

  2. Review and approve leave using either a yearly or quarterly calendar following these general guidelines:

    1. Provide employees with a yearly calendar identifying workload peaks when leave should be limited.

    2. If using a yearly calendar, request that employees submit completed calendars no later than February 1st.

    3. If using a quarterly calendar (January – March, April – June, July – September, October – December), request the employees complete the quarterly calendar 60 days before the quarter begins. All leave should be approved/denied 30 days before the beginning of each quarter.

    4. Consider atypical conditions on a case-by-case basis no matter which method is used.

    5. Ask seasonal employees to submit leave requests within 5 workdays of return to duty status.

    6. Leave scheduling is done at the team level and based on adherence;. however the scheduling of major holidays, is done enterprise wide.

    Reminder:

    Be sure to have enough employees on board so you can staff according to schedule during the holiday period in December and January.

  3. For additional policies on leave issues, the following resources are available:

    • Employee Resource Center – Time and Leave Guidance – http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/SubCategory.asp?FolderID=5&CategoryID=3&SubCategoryID=95

    • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – Leave Home Page – http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/index.asp

    • National Agreement – http://hco.web.irs.gov/irer/negagree/natagree/index.html

    • IRM 6.630.1, Absence and Leave – Leave Administration and Work Scheduling

1.4.18.5.2.2  (03-01-2007)
Leave Counseling

  1. Leave usage should be monitored frequently. Counsel employees with leave issues as problems occur. Each employee should be provided with summary leave documentation at least quarterly.

  2. Take the following steps to address a leave problem:

    1. Leave Reminders – After recognizing that a problem exists, bring the problem to the employee's attention in an informal discussion. Use a memo to ensure that the employee understands your expectations. Explain the reason for the expectations as well. Encourage the employee to participate in developing a solution to the problem.

    2. Memorandum for the Record – If satisfactory improvement is not made, counsel the employee again. Reiterate your expectations and explain how the employee is not in compliance.

    3. Leave Restrictions – If the problem continues, discuss the situation with your department manager and contact your Labor Relations specialist for guidance. A "Leave Restriction" letter may be necessary.

      Reminder:

      Probationary employees are not issued leave restriction letters.

  3. Follow the direction of your department manager and Labor Relations specialist regarding issuing any counseling memos.

1.4.18.5.3  (03-01-2007)
Conduct Counseling

  1. Most employees report to work on time, adhere to office rules, and have a positive attitude. Sometimes, however, there are exceptions. On these occasions, managers must take steps to address the problems.

  2. The three rules for effective conduct counseling and documentation are to be fair, consistent, and specific. Address conduct issues immediately and document your counseling sessions.

  3. Always make sure you provide the necessary details: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Make your documentation clear and concise. Before scheduling your counseling session, contact your Labor Relations specialist to determine if the employee has a right to union representation at the counseling session. Your Labor Relations specialist also can provide guidance on how much advance notice is required to provide the employee with sufficient time to contact a steward if the employee has a right to representation, and the employee wants representation at the counseling session.

    Note:

    If a steward is requested, the steward's manager must be contacted to confirm the time and length of the meeting.

  4. To plan for your counseling session, ask yourself the following questions:

    1. What is the situation? Be very specific and look for facts.

    2. What do I know about the employee?

    3. What do I hope to accomplish in this discussion?

    4. How will I open the session, ask questions, discuss follow-up plans, and conclude the discussion?

  5. The following steps may be helpful when counseling employees about their conduct:

    1. Describe the situation in detail. Use specific, observable facts to describe exactly what the employee did.

    2. Explain what the employee should have done.

    3. Refer to guidance such as Operations Expectations or Document 12011, "Plain Talk About Ethics and Conduct. "

    4. Ask for the employee's assistance. This should be very clear. For example, "I need your help in resolving this."

    5. Discuss a specific action plan for follow-up.

    6. Sign and date the documentation. The employee should also sign. The employee's signature only indicates receipt, not agreement, with the documentation.

      Note:

      If the employee refuses to sign, annotate this on the document.

    7. Provide the employee with a copy and place the original in the employee's "drop" file.

  6. Follow the direction of your department manager or Labor Relations Specialist regarding the issues below:

    • Designated Duty Hours

    • Excessive Talking

    • Excessive Telephone Usage

    • Lunch and/or Breaks Schedules

    • Sleeping on the Job

      Note:

      Remember to provide employees a "Pat-on-the-Back" when you observe positive conduct and/or performance.

  7. Forward employee counseling memos on conduct issues to your department manager and Labor Relations, when appropriate, for review prior to sharing them with employees.

1.4.18.5.4  (03-01-2007)
Employee Performance

  1. As the leader of your workgroup, you are responsible for the development of your employees. Clear and fair communication is essential. What you say, or do not say, impacts your employees' performance, which in turn impacts business results. Ensure that you provide consistent communication to your employees on their performance. Employees want and need to know how they are doing so they can learn and grow.

1.4.18.5.4.1  (10-01-2013)
Monitoring and Reviews

  1. As a part of the IRS Performance Management System, supervisors must continuously monitor employees' progress against critical performance expectations, identify deficiencies, and initiate corrective actions. Observations must be documented throughout the performance period. This will aid you when completing the mandatory mid-year progress reviews and annual evaluations.

  2. Employee performance while on the phone has two components: reviewing the call audio and screens, if available, through Contact Recording and capturing review documentation in an Embedded Quality or Contact Recording Data Collection Instrument (DCI). Evaluating an employee's performance has two components: reviewing documentation made in appropriate systems (e.g., EHSS) and monitoring telephone calls on Aspect. Contact Recording will be used for this purpose. For additional information on the use of Contact Recording see IRM 1.4.18.6.4.6,Contact Recording

  3. EPSS managers conduct the following types of review:

    • Telephone reviews

    • Case (paper, email) Reviews

    • IDRS (Security Reviews, Inventory)

    • Clerical Reviews (Form 3210 acknowledgement and follow-up, mail receipt, distribution etc.)

    • Non-evaluative reviews

  4. Telephone, case reviews and reviewing documentation are performed for the following reasons:

    • To make an objective assessment of an employee’s performance on an ongoing basis and to ensure that adequate information is available for mid year and annual appraisals

    • To protect the rights of customers

    • To identify training needs

  5. All reviews must be documented in writing and readily available. Focus performance reviews on effective case and call resolution according to IRM guidelines. Emphasize the importance of quality service as well as the efficiency of case work and telephone calls. For telephone calls, managers should determine whether the handle time is appropriate to the call reviewed, considering hold time, wrap time, and talk time. Calls should also be reviewed to assess professionalism. Always provide IRM references to assist with training needs and IRM clarification. When reviewing phone calls, Timeliness and Professionalism attributes are subjective; managers must consider the situation and complexity of the call when making determinations.

  6. A manager narrates the review using enough detail to support their assessment. Clearly identify to the employee actions taken (or not taken) to accomplish the Critical Job Elements (CJE). The evaluative review forms used in EPSS, in both Embedded Quality Review System and Contact Recording, identify the Critical Job Element for each action the employee addressed during the call. Provide examples of what employee said and examples of what could have been said.

  7. Perform the required monitoring and paper reviews each month. Department managers and/or operations managers must set review requirements for their call sites. Conduct a balance or mix of these reviews (telephone and paper reviews) throughout the year relative to an employee's work assignments. When necessary, conduct side-by-side non-evaluative reviews for skill development.

    1. E-help and TSO Customer Service Section will conduct a minimum of two telephone reviews. If employees work paper (including email, forms, correspondence etc.) mangers will conduct one paper review per employee per month.

    2. TSO Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) Support (FS), Information Filing Support (IFS), and Products and Services Support (PSS) will conduct a minimum of two telephone reviews per employee per month. Results of the reviews will be documented in Contact Recording.

    3. Develop a monthly schedule that lists all employees and the date their reviews will be conducted.

      Note:

      Employees should not be reviewed on the same date each month.

    4. Annotate the reason on the schedule if unable to complete the required number of reviews.

    5. If unable to complete the required number of reviews, complete the Exception/Waiver Memorandum if appropriate and have it approved by the department manager. Provide a copy to the employee and maintain the original in the employee's review folder.

    6. Retain and file review sheets in each employee's contact monitoring folder for operational reviews by department managers.

  8. Evaluative telephone monitoring should focus on whether or not the assistor handled the call and documented the case according to IRM guidelines (e.g., provided sufficient detail in the description or used Solution Advisor to determine the correct solution). Review results must be linked, directly to the employee's Critical Job Elements (CJEs). Use the appropriate Specialized Product Review Group (SPRG), in Embedded Quality Review System (EQRS) or Contact Recording Evaluations (962, 355, 2210) to record results of a review.

  9. Timeframes for sharing feedback are covered in the National Agreement, Article 12, Sections 9 and 4. Evaluative recordation falls under Article 12 Section 9 and will be shared "within fifteen (15) workdays of the time the supervisor becomes aware, or should have been aware, of the event which it addresses." If the employee has provided incorrect information to a taxpayer, the Employer will inform the employee as soon as possible. See National Agreement, Article 12, Sections 9 and 4, at http://hco.web.irs.gov/lrer/negagree/natagree/index.html.

    Note:

    Every effort should be made to share employee feedback within 2 – 3 business days from the date the manager reviews the call. This ensures the call is fresh in everyone's mind and limits the amount of time an employee could potentially continue to make the same mistake.

  10. Evaluative reviews must be conducted by a manager or an individual in an official acting manager capacity. Leads may provide supplemental evaluative recordation; however, the manager must share the review with the employee. The lead must sign the documentation as the reviewer and the manager must concur with and sign the review prior to sharing with the employee.

  11. Obtain the employee's signature on the Embedded Quality Review System DCI or Contact Recording Evaluation. Provide the employee a copy and file a copy in the employee's contact monitoring folder. The shared evaluative review must be filed in the employee's Employee Performance File (EPF), with a copy to the employee. When it is time for a progress review or the employees annual appraisal utilize EQ or CR Reports to compile data for a specific period.

    Note:

    EQRS is standardized data repository with trend analysis capabilities and reporting capabilities to use for employee evaluations.

    Note:

    Always sign and date the documentation before sharing it with the employee. Your documentation is only valid if you have signed it. The employee's signature only indicates receipt, not agreement, with the document. If the employee refuses to sign, indicate "Employee Refused to Sign" on the signature line.

1.4.18.5.4.2  (09-23-2011)
Managers

  1. Department managers must ensure team managers conduct sufficient telephone monitoring and case reviews to provide employees with a well documented evaluation. An EQRS or CR Report is available for this purpose.

  2. Managers must use the approved EQRS DCI for each applicable SPRG or Contact Recording Evaluation.

  3. Develop a method for recording the pertinent facts of the call. Ensure all information needed to determine if a call/case is correct or incorrect is captured.

  4. Conduct a minimum of two evaluative reviews per month (phone or paper) for each employee.

    Note:

    When an employee works in a blended environment (phones and paper) strive to review a proportionate combination throughout the rating period.

  5. Department managers provide monthly feedback to front line managers regarding adherence to the review requirement. This feedback addresses number of reviews conducted for each employee, type of review (paper, phones, targeted) and types of errors identified.

  6. If for some reason reviews cannot be conducted on an employee (e.g., extended illness, furlough, managerial absence, etc.), a review (exception) memo is placed in the Employee's Performance File (EPF) explaining why the required numbers of reviews were not conducted.

    Note:

    At the discretion of the site, these memos are approved at the department level.

1.4.18.5.4.3  (09-23-2011)
Telephone/Paper Monitoring

  1. The Policy Statement P–1–44, Monitoring of Employee Telephone Conversations in IRM 1.2.10.1.8 I included the use of monitoring for evaluative and training purposes.

  2. Telephone/Paper monitoring is an important review within the EPSS organization. When monitoring, managers can determine whether the employee:

    • Addressed disclosure issues

    • Treated the customer with respect, courtesy and fairness

    • Followed EHSS procedures

    • Resolved the call/case per IRM guidelines

    • Provided an accurate answer

    • Applied appropriate communication skills

1.4.18.5.4.4  (09-23-2011)
Feedback and Follow-Up

  1. When problems are consistently identified during the monitoring/reviewing process, managers should determine the best course of action to correct the problems, e.g. OJI, IRM review, on-line courses, etc..

  2. Review results may reveal strengths and weaknesses of employees and identify the need for managerial monitoring to evaluate employee performance. Managerial monitoring must be performed independently from Product Reviews. Product Review results can not be used to evaluate employees.

  3. Product Review data is used to identify trends, problem areas, and overall site quality.

1.4.18.5.4.5  (10-01-2012)
Sharing Reviews

  1. Sharing monitoring results is a two-way communication. The Employee Feedback Report or Contact Recording Evaluation are available for this purpose and must be used. After sharing the review, managers must determine if the employee agrees with their assessment.

    If an employee Then
    Agrees
    • Commend the positive aspects of the performance

    • Discuss area for improvement

    Disagrees
    • Obtain the cause of disagreement.

    • Commend the positive aspects of the performance.

    • Discuss openly to resolve disputed issues.

    • Discuss areas for improvement.

    • Develop a plan to improve performance.

    Note:

    Always ensure the employee has an understanding of the EPSS measures and goals and how they relate to the critical job elements of their position description.

  2. Share results of phone monitoring within three workdays. If incorrect information is provided, the results must be shared as soon as possible. Notate the reason on the review sheet if you do not meet these time frames, (e.g., due to unexpected leave, etc.).

  3. Obtain the employee's acknowledgment on the designated form. Provide one copy to the employee and retain the other copy for the Employee's Performance File (EPF). Sanitize all employee/taxpayer data containing a social security number or name.

  4. Management may request that a recorded contact be downloaded. The reason for the request must be stated clearly on Form 13817, Request for Downloaded Contact. In general, reasons for these downloads are to retain the call for a period longer than the system retention period (45 days) or to provide a copy of the contact to another party when necessary (TIGTA, LR, etc.). You should download the call when the Employee disagrees over the content of the contact and the Manager and Employee cannot reach an agreement.

1.4.18.5.4.6  (10-01-2013)
Contact Recording

  1. Contact Recording (CR) is a system that captures and stores incoming toll-free telephone contact with customers for the purpose of possible subsequent review. It is used to perform required random reviews (performance and product) of incoming telephone contacts. Screen-capture is provided for 10% of all calls. When screen capture is available, case research and actions taken in online systems are shown simultaneously with voice recording. The data is stored by employee Standard Employee Identifier (SEID) for a maximum of 45 days.

  2. Review the in-box for your team each week and ensure recorded calls for each employee are present. If calls for an employee actively taking calls are not present in the in-box, notify your Business Application Administrator (BAA) immediately. Choose the most current calls in your in box for review. This ensures feedback is timely, especially when incorrect information was provided to taxpayers.

  3. Use the EQRS e-help/CSS Specialized Review Group (SPRG) Data Collection Instrument (DCI) or the Contact Recording Evaluation Form to prepare written recordation of all calls reviewed for evaluative purposes. The performance aspects in each tool are aligned with the employees' performance plan. After listening to the call, complete the DCI or Contact Recording Evaluation and enter any necessary remarks. During evaluative feedback sessions, employees will be able to review the entire conversation and see their on-screen actions.

  4. If the caller indicates they do not wish to be recorded, the assistor must disable the recording using the Stop On-Demand feature in Contact Recording. These calls will not be evaluated. To ensure assistors are not abusing this feature to prevent their contacts from being recorded, managers can search Contact Recording under the "Intelliquality" field by taking the following steps:

    1. Under "Data Range," select the dates or number of days to be searched.

    2. Under the "Contact Data Section" go to the "StopOnDemand" box, and highlight StopOnDemand.

    3. Under "Site," select the desired site.

    4. Click on Search.

  5. Managers and reviewers requiring access to Contact Recording (CR) must prepare an Online 5081 requesting access for their site or the site they will be reviewing. The Business Application Administrator (BAA) in the site will approve the form and add the manager/reviewer to the CR database. In order for the BAA to do this, an email identifying the group number and members is necessary.

    Note:

    The CR database contains information on each manager and assistor in a site and identifies the group to which they belong. It is very important the CR database be updated with any changes of managers or assistors (i.e., move to other groups, leave the service, etc.). Send an email to the BAA with the name, login name, SEID, Aspect Login Number, group number and manager’s name to have the change implemented.

1.4.18.5.4.7  (09-23-2011)
Access to Recorded Calls

  1. Employees may request access to a recorded call used for evaluative purposes and may listen to the call on official time.

  2. At an employee's request, the manager will meet within two (2) business days to listen to and discuss a recorded call together.

  3. The employee may request NTEU representation; however, they must request and receive permission under IRC 6103 (1) (4) (A) to listen to calls.

1.4.18.5.4.8  (09-23-2011)
Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS)

  1. The Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS) staff performs product reviews (non-evaluative) on e-help telephones. Reviews address the five (5) quality measures:

    • Customer Accuracy – Providing the correct answer with the correct resolution. "Correct" is measured based upon the taxpayer receiving a correct response or resolution to the case or issue, with the necessary case actions or case disposition taken to provide this response or resolution. This measures accuracy from the customer's point of view.

    • Regulatory Accuracy – Adhering to statutory/regulatory process requirements when making a determination on taxpayer accounts/cases.

    • Procedural Accuracy – Adhering to non-statutory/nonregulatory internal processing requirements when making a determination on taxpayer accounts/cases.

    • Professionalism – Promoting a positive image of the Service by using effective communication techniques.

    • Timeliness – Resolving an issue in the most efficient manner through the use of proper workload management and time utilization techniques.

  2. CQRS reviews of the e-help Desk are performed using the Specialized Product Review Group (SPRG) for e-help Phones.

    1. Managers will receive a spreadsheet showing all reviews performed by CQRS. If a manager disagrees with a defect, they should complete the attached rebuttal sheet and adhere to the due dates provided in the email with the daily DCIs from Workforce Planning, Training, and Quality (WPTQ). This will ensure rebuttals are forwarded to CQRS timely. More guidance regarding rebuttals to CQRS can be found in IRM 21.10.1.8.1, CQRS Defect Rebuttal Procedures.

    2. The manager should share the review with or without defects with the employee. When sharing reviews with employees it is a good idea to have the e-help Phones Quality Job Aid available. The e-help Phones job aid can be found on this link http://eqrs.enterprise.irs.gov:7777/pls/eqrs/maja.main?var=e.

1.4.18.5.4.9  (10-01-2013)
Training

  1. EPSS training requirements are outlined in IRM 3.42.7, e-help Desk, and IRM 21.3.11,Information Returns Branch Reporting Procedures. Training compliance is one of a manager’s primary responsibilities. EPSS managers are expected to do the following:

    1. Submit an initial training schedule to Workforce Planning, Training, and Quality (WPTQ) analyst by July 1st.

    2. Notify WPTQ analyst of any and all changes to the initial training schedule at least 1 week before the proposed change.

    3. Maintain a record of student rosters of all classroom training.

    4. Verify that all required courses are listed as completed in their employees’ training history on the Enterprise Learning Management System (ELMS).

  2. The WPTQ Analyst will monitor the training schedule to completion. The analyst will pull random samples of employees' training histories in ELMS to ensure training has been delivered timely and as required. When there are discrepancies an email is issued to the specific site, and the following guidelines apply:

    1. If your site is not listed, you did not have any training scheduled for the month.

    2. Ensure that the information reported is accurate (i.e., training dates, training hours spent, number of employees trained, and type of employee trained).

    3. Submit new training dates for all courses that are in "incomplete" status.

  3. Managers are expected to provide timely training that an EPSS assistor will need to be proficient in their job.

  4. All frontline managers must take all of the courses with employees. Attending the training on an annual basis will ensure that you are proficient and will enable you to appropriately coach and monitor employees, handle elevated customer issues, and address problems that may develop.

1.4.18.6  (09-23-2011)
Non-Evaluative or Coaching Reviews

  1. Managers and/or their technical lead can perform non-evaluative monitoring on the following:

    • Telephone calls

    • Paper Inventory reviews

    • Certain issues (e.g., Disclosure)

  2. The primary purpose of a non-evaluative review is to help the employee develop and enhance their job skills. Effective non-evaluative reviews foster open lines of communication between the employee, the manager, and the technical lead. This enables the manager and/or their lead to receive or provide employee feedback and transfer operational goals informally.

  3. Non-evaluative or coaching reviews do not contain a written rating. Share the results orally. Some documentation is appropriate to establish it actually occurred. EQRS or Contact Recording may be used to track employee development for this purpose. Have the employee initial and date the document. Provide one copy for the employee and retain the other copy in the employee's drop file.

  4. Non-evaluative or coaching reviews have a significant impact on how our callers are treated, since our employee can take immediate advantage of our experience. The manager or the technical lead should conduct the review; however, occasionally delegating these duties to a skilled journey level employee, for training purposes, may be appropriate.

1.4.18.6.1  (09-23-2011)
Non-Evaluative Monitoring

  1. Non-evaluative reviews are conducted for a number of reasons (e.g., identify training needs, improve performance).

  2. Non-evaluative target reviews help focus on issues causing high error rates.

  3. When implementing major procedural revisions, non-evaluative reviews can help managers determine if additional discussion and procedural reviews during team meetings may be needed.

  4. Non-evaluative reviews can help the manager and employee determine progress as a result of training and coaching conducted as part of a performance improvement plan.

  5. When an employee is having difficulty dealing with a caller, non-evaluative monitoring allows the manager to assist the employee, if needed.

1.4.18.6.2  (09-23-2011)
Side by Side Monitoring

  1. You can accomplish non-evaluative monitoring by utilizing periodic side-by-side reviews, when deemed appropriate, or requested by an employee. Use the optional telephone jack (double plugging) on the employee's TeleSet. Apply this technique when circumstances merit an in-depth discussion for training purposes.

  2. You may delegate this non-evaluative review to your technical lead or an On the Job Instructor (OJI). Periodically, delegate this non-evaluative review to an experienced assistor to foster the team approach to improve your group's performance. This approach will ultimately improve the work process.

1.4.18.7  (09-23-2011)
Operational Review Overview

  1. An Operational Review is an in-depth review and analysis of a particular program or function.

  2. Reviews are conducted by the Operation Support staff (analyst).

1.4.18.7.1  (09-23-2011)
Operations Support Staff Conducting Reviews

  1. Operations Support Staff (analyst) conducting reviews will:

    • Evaluate and assess

    • Identify areas to improve

    • Establish target dates for improvement

    • Identify and praise accomplishments

    • Provide a follow-up on action items

  2. The review should address:

    • Workload management practices

    • Personnel management practices

    • Administrative practices

  3. Compare the above practices to the following

    1. Mission statement

    2. Policies and regulations

    3. National Agreement

    4. Memos of Understanding (MOUs)

    5. Program letters

    6. Business measures and goals

  4. Prepare a schedule of planned reviews at the beginning of each fiscal year and no later than November 1st. Provide the schedule to the operation manager, or Director, as appropriate.

  5. Request the information needed from the manager 30 days in advance, so all information is available at the start of the review. This may include the following items:

    1. Employee Performance Files (EPF)

    2. Personnel Files

    3. Drop Files (including meeting minutes)

    4. Training Files

    5. Employee Survey Satisfaction results

    6. WP& C data

    7. Aged case listings

    8. Sample of closed cases

    9. Sample of open cases

    10. Average handle time reports

    11. Adherence reports

    12. Transfer reports

    13. Aspect reports

    14. Security reviews

    15. Totally Automated Personnel System (TAPS) data

    16. Leave tracking

    17. Evaluation/Midyear tracking

    18. Quality/Productivity/Improvement Initiatives

    19. Engagement Plans/Activities

    20. Updates on Engagement Strategy (ES) Tracker data

  6. It is recommended when reviewing a Team Manager (TM) that you review a minimum of six EPFs; including a work leader, one team clerk/secretary and four CSRs or tax examiners if applicable. Also, try to review EPFs of employees with different levels of experience.

    Note:

    Generally, department managers schedule one or two team reviews a month.

  7. It is recommended when reviewing a department manager (DM) that you review at least half of all EPFs of those who directly report to the DM, plus samples of employees' EPFs from teams within that department.

    Note:

    A review of a DM may take about two weeks.

  8. Obtain assistance, as needed, on completing technical portions of the review such as the closed case reviews. Operations managers may also obtain assistance from the Operation Support staff to assist with department reviews.

  9. Allow sufficient time for performing the review, writing the report, and giving feedback from the final report to the manager or director as appropriate.

    Note:

    The feedback should follow the responsibilities (i.e., leadership, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, business results) and specify items reviewed.

  10. Promptly document the operation review in a memorandum to the appropriate manager or department head. Include the following in the memorandum:

    • Summary of the observations (positive and negative)

    • Recommendations and action items

    • Follow-up dates

  11. Maintain a copy of the memorandum in the office files and one in the manager's EPF. Be sure to follow-up timely with the manager on action items. Document all follow-up actions.

1.4.18.7.2  (09-23-2011)
Department, Operation or Front Line Manager

  1. The Operational Review should cover the following:

    • Personnel management practices

    • Workload management practices Administrative, security, safety practices

    • Manager's organization

  2. Review personnel management practices of maintaining Employee Personnel Files (EPF), Drop files and Personal/Training files for the following:

    • Critical Job Elements (CJEs) and Performance Plan Receipt (Form 6774)

    • Seasonal agreements (if applicable)

    • Training and OJT documentation

    • Evaluative reviews, including content, scope and amounts (Front line manager)

    • Mid-year progress reviews (Front line manager)

    • Performance reviews (department manager)

    • Operation reviews (department and operations manager)

    • Evaluations

    • Poor performance handling

    • Awards

    • Non-evaluative reviews and coaching

    • Position management

    • Leave administration

    • Employee development

    • Communication including team meetings

    • Employee satisfaction

  3. Review Workload Management Practices for the following:

    Note:

    All reviews must be documented in writing.

    • Quality of work performed in function (phones and paper). For example, acknowledgement and follow-up of Form 3210.

    • Timeliness of work performed in function (paper)

    • Expectations for phone functions

    • Utilization of lead employee

  4. Review Administrative, Privacy, Security, and Safety Practices, including the following:

    • Time reporting

    • UNAX completed or scheduled for all employees

    • Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) completed or scheduled for all employees

    • Release/Recall correctly updated

    • Rules of Conduct meetings held

    • Security reviews

    • Correctness of TAPS information

  5. Review Manager's organization effectiveness:

    • Timeliness of controlled responses

    • Effectiveness of method for managing tasks or assignments

    • Completeness, thoroughness, timeliness of reviews, projects, etc.

1.4.18.8  (10-01-2013)
e-help Support System (EHSS) Guidelines

  1. EHSS is a tailored version of HP Service Manager software. It is utilized by e-help Desk locations, e-help Level 2, TSO, various internal policy owners, and other support personnel. The system contains:

    • Downloaded select customer data from TPDS

    • All electronic products supported by the e-help Desk and TSO

    • Problem types associated with each electronic product

    • A knowledge database which guides an assistor through issue identification and resolution

    • Formal tracking and reporting of issues (which includes information about the customer, problem, and resolutions (both successful and unsuccessful attempts)

    • Downloaded select customer data from Transmitter Control Database (TCB) (Form 1099 data) and Special Projects database (Form 8027 and Form 1042-S)

  2. EHSS allows for:

    • Committed timely completion of issues

    • Analysis of documented issue type in order to improve offerings and service

    • Alternative communication methods (i.e., email for external customers)

1.4.18.8.1  (09-23-2011)
System Configuration

  1. There are four physical servers in the production environment:

    1. Two physical servers each have a logical web server and an application server.

    2. One physical server has a logical application server.

    3. One physical server has a logical database server.

  2. The embedded BEA Tuxedo Server Software load balances the work among the three logical application servers. Automatic load balancing between the web portals is employed through the use of F5 load balancer located in Martinsburg.

  3. There are two physical servers in the development and test environment. One contains the logical web servers and application servers, and the other is a database server.

  4. Contingency plans have been created for disaster recovery and fail over.

1.4.18.8.1.1  (09-23-2011)
Server Contingency

  1. The system is configured with multiple web and application servers. If an application or web server fails, the system will continue to operate without interruption.

1.4.18.8.1.2  (09-23-2011)
System Contingency

  1. There is a stand-by system that can be brought up and available for use if the production system fails.

  2. If the production system becomes non-operational, users will be notified by an EPSS Communication.

1.4.18.8.2  (10-01-2012)
Online 5081

  1. Online 5081 is an automated way to request access to Information Technology (IT) systems and applications. It provides faster access and automates the process of annual re-certification. To use Online 5081, click on the OL5081 link: https://ol5081.enterprise.irs.gov. View the Online 5081 Quick Reference Guides, Tutorials, User Guides and Re-certification Reference. If you have questions, try the Online 5081 FAQs or call the Help Desk at 1-866-743-5748.

1.4.18.8.2.1  (10-01-2013)
Systems Used by EPSS Assistors

  1. To provide support to electronic product users, the assistors use the following systems:

    1. e-help Support System (EHSS) – The tool for customer interaction and ticketing.

    2. Aspect Telephone System – The method of delivery for phone calls to EPSS functions.

    3. Control-D/WebAccess Server - This system accesses reports via the Internet. It uses your Web browser to view reports using viewers, filters, and indexing capabilities.

    4. Electronic Management System (EMS) – EMS provides protocol translation, telecommunication structure, security, and data management support for electronic commerce, including e-filing of tax returns.

    5. Employee User Portal (EUP) – EUP is a Web hosting infrastructure. It supports an Intranet portal that allows IRS employees to access business applications and data [e.g. e-services, and Modernized e-file (MeF)]. Employee's registration and authentication is required. The EUP communicates with backend application systems (modernization and legacy) via Application Message and Data Access Service (AMDAS). The EUP infrastructure is located on the IRS Intranet. ).

    6. Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) - The FIRE system is the means by which transmitters can file information returns electronically with the IRS. Also, transmitters can file Form 4419 and Form 8809 through online fillable forms.

    7. Integrated Data Retrieval System (IDRS) – IDRS is Real Time processing that uses various Command Codes, and daily, weekly, and periodic support processing for various systems (e.g., Centralized Authorization File (CAF), Fact of Filing (FOF)).

    8. Preparer Waiver Database (PWR) - PWR database is a data input system which stores the information contained on Form 8944 Preparer e-file Hardship Waiver Request.

    9. Tax Return Data Base (TRDB) – TRDB contains tax return source information for electronically filed tax returns. It also contains electronically filed tax forms. It is the legal repository for all electronically filed returns for Tax Year 1998 and beyond. Beginning with Tax Year 2002, it also contains transcribed portions of paper returns. Returns filed through the Modernized e-file (MeF) system may not show on TRDB and are accessed through EUP.

    10. Third Party Data Store (TPDS) – TPDS is used to record and monitor the information about electronic return originators, transmitters, software developers, and Intermediate Service Providers, who have applied to participate in e-file.

    11. Transmitter Control Database (TCB)– The TCB contains data for transmitters/payers of information returns filed electronically.

  2. TSO assistors use various menus on the IRP Home Page system.


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