Performance management is a year-round process of defining expectations, maintaining open communication, providing continuous feedback, linking goals to organizational needs, and finally evaluating performance.
Utilizing this year-round process of communication and feedback minimizes any big surprises when written performance evaluations are due. Yearly performance evaluations give the supervisor and employee an opportunity to discuss how well performance expectations set out in the beginning of the performance cycle have been met and what improvements can be made by both the employee and the supervisor to better serve the departmental needs. The performance evaluation process also creates a natural time to set performance goals and expectations for the next year.
Appraisal Cycle and Deadlines
Administrative/Professional Faculty: Annual Cycle from July 1st-June 30th, Evaluation Due date: October 25
Classified Staff: Annual Cycle from October 25th-October 24th, Evaluation Due date: October 25
Wage Employees: There is no formal evaluation form or process, but supervisors are encouraged to give continuous performance feedback throughout the year.
Performance Evaluation Process Guidance
For supervisors, the evaluation process includes several steps and can be daunting especially for first-time supervisors. Not to fret...guidance is available every step of the way.
Performance Feedback tips throughout the year
- Timely: Don't wait. Give feedback as soon after the performance takes place (positive and negative). If your emotions are too intense, wait until you have calmed down.
- Specific: Tell exactly what the employee did that was good or needs improvement. Don't leave him/her guessing which part of their behavior needs improvement. Focus on the behavior, not the individual.
- Sincere: Be honest and open. Tell the employee what their performance affected.
Importance of Documentation
- Memo or follow-up email: Follow up a performance discussion with a written memo or email to clarify the performance issues discussed. List examples and consequences for the department on fellow employees. Offer your support with follow up steps and reiterate the need for change and potential consequences if it does not improve.
- Supervisor Documentation: Keep a paper file or password protected online file as a source of documentation.
- Do's and Dont's: Always maintain a professional tone (even in your own notes - don't let your own frustration be apparent); avoid personal opinions, accusations, or judgments; don't use generalities or overstatements ("You're always late", "You don't seem to care about your job."); and remember to include the employee's explanation.
Completing the Evaluation Form
- Review your notes from the year, the employee's self-assessment, and the original duties assigned to the employee (EWP or job description).
- Consider any circumstances that would influence the employee's ability to perform the duties.
- Check your own bias' before writing (halo effect: only see the good; horns effect: only see the bad; personal bias: reviewing those who are like you unconsciously higher than others).
- Balance positive observations with areas that need improvement.
- Carefully choose your words: avoid personal opinions, generalizations, overstatements, and exaggerations.
- To earn an "Extraordinary Achiever" rating, employee must have received one "Acknowledgement of Extraordinary Contribution" during the performance cycle.
- To receive an "Unsatisfactory Performer" rating, the employee must have received a "notice of improvement needed" or written notice for performance during the cycle. Always consult with Employee Relations (3-3878) before giving an unsatisfactory rating.
- Choose a suitable location that will keep both you and the employee relaxed.
- Make sure the reviewer (supervisor of the person performing the evaluation) has approved the form and you have the employee's assessment fresh in your mind.
- Provide the employee a chance to review the evaluation before meeting.
- Remember the importance of your body language, tone, and positioning.
- Be specific and discuss regular, expected performance.
- Identify accomplishments above what is expected.
- Discuss any mismatch between goals and achievement.
- Remember...this is the starting point for discussion and should be a two-way communication between supervisor and employee.
- Address any interfering emotions or disagreements in a calm, supportive manner.
Finalizing the Evaluation
- Employee signs and can add comments.
- Signature does not indicate agreement - just that the evaluation was read and discussed.
- Express appreciation for work well done.
- Set a time to establish goals for the upcoming year.
The Role of the Reviewer
The reviewer is normally the supervisor of the person performing the evaluation. In some departments, there may be one reviewer for the entire department.
- Confirms supporting documentation.
- Ensures consistency among supervisors.
- Ensures performance has been appraised fairly.
- Makes decisions on appeals.
Handling Evaluation Appeals
- Classified Employees: May appeal to the reviewer within 10 workdays of receiving the evaluation. The reviewer will provide a response within 5 workdays. The reviewer can uphold, revise, or rewrite the evaluation. An employee may also file a grievance if he/she feels the evaluation is arbitrary or capricious.
- Admin/Professional Faculty: May appeal to the reviewer within 10 calendar days of receiving the evaluation. The reviewer has 10 calendar days to review the appeal, meet with the employee, and provide a response to let it stand or be revised.
Performance Evaluation Forms
See Performance Management Section
Employees are encouraged to seek assistance with performance and clarify their responsibilities through ongoing conversations with supervisors. Employees are also encouraged to do a self-evaluation which helps them assess strengths and weaknesses. They should actively participate in their performance appraisal discussions and provide feedback to supervisors about their performance.
For more information about performance and goals or for assistance in preparing for and addressing performance concerns, contact the Employee Relations Team at 3-3878 or EmpRel@gmu.edu.