Annual Performance Evaluation Process
Administrative/Professional Faculty and Classified Staff: The annual cycle is April 1 – March 31. Evaluation due dates will be communicated by email.
Wage Employees: There is no formal evaluation form or process. Supervisors are encouraged to set goals and provide continuous performance feedback and coaching throughout the year to assist with professional development.
Employees should perform work successfully and maintain an ongoing record of performance achievements, challenges, kudos, and what they learned throughout the year. This documentation will aid in the required self-evaluation process as strengths and opportunities for development are identified. The self-evaluation is viewed as an opportunity for employees to revisit and share with their supervisor how they achieved success in their role and present their case for how their work went “above and beyond” to exceed expectations in support of the team or department’s mission and success if they are rating themselves as “outstanding."
Employees are encouraged to seek guidance and feedback through ongoing supervisor conversations to aid in understanding and/or clarification of their responsibilities, expectations, and goals. Employees should review their job description and goals throughout the year to stay on target. Performance conversations provide a framework for goal setting, professional development, and a measurement of success in the role. They are also an opportunity to discuss and prepare for future roles and what is needed from a supervisor to be successful.
A supervisor needs to understand Mason’s performance management process and communicate priorities by identifying objectives, expectations, and goals for each employee. Supervisors should meet with each member of their team formally and informally throughout the year to provide feedback, coaching, and opportunities for development. Annual performance evaluations give the supervisor and employee an opportunity to discuss how well performance expectations set at 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 departmental and university needs. The annual performance review process also creates a natural time to set performance goals and expectations for the next year.
Supervisors are expected to be available to meet with employees in person or virtually throughout the year to answer questions and provide coaching and feedback to support professional development and career progression. Utilizing a year-round process of communication and feedback fosters a positive working relationship, increases trust, and minimizes any big surprises during the annual performance evaluation discussion.
Supervisors are expected to comply with all performance management process deadlines and requirements, and should contact the Performance Management team at email@example.com with any questions or concerns about required forms or processes.
The reviewer is normally the indirect manager – the supervisor’s supervisor. In some departments, there may be one reviewer for the entire department. The reviewer is responsible to confirm supporting documentation is attached, such as the Acknowledgment of Extraordinary Contribution, look at consistency amongst supervisors, ensure that performance has been appraised fairly and that the supervisor did not make inappropriate comments in the evaluation, and make decisions on appeals. The reviewer may direct the supervisor to make changes to ratings and comments.
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 they feel the evaluation is arbitrary or capricious.
- Admin/Professional Faculty: May appeal to the reviewer in writing within 10 workdays of receiving the evaluation. The reviewer has 10 workdays to review the appeal, meet with the employee, and provide a written response to let it stand or be revised as the reviewer, in their sole discretion, determines to be appropriate. The Performance Evaluation cannot be the subject of a grievance.
The Performance Management team (firstname.lastname@example.org) communicates the annual performance timeline, manages the system to document performance, provides training and resources, and works to ensure a fair performance system and process. The Employee Relations team (email@example.com) assists in the support and development of supervisor/staff relationships to ensure a positive employee experience, partners with employees and supervisors to resolve performance issues, and serves as the primary contact for evaluation concerns, appeals and grievances.
To be fair and objective, a performance evaluation must be based on actual performance and workplace behavior during the rated evaluation period, and not personal factors unrelated to the job. The evaluation should accurately reflect job objectives, measurement of outcomes, and achievement of any development goals established or adjusted during the evaluation year. It is important to be mindful that a recent concern or an incident that occurred early in the evaluation year does not influence the overall assessment and rating of the employee’s performance.
In-person and virtual training is available to learn more about performance management, best practices for observing and monitoring performance, rating practices, and the supervisor’s role in performance management.
Register today for training: Performance Management for Supervisors
Performance Feedback Tips Throughout the Year
- Timely: Don't wait. Discuss performance or behavioral concerns early. Give feedback immediately following the performance or conduct concern (positive and constructive). If your emotions are high, wait until you are emotionally prepared to have a dialogue that is calm and wherein you can provide your observations and constructive feedback.
- Specific: Tell the employee exactly what needs improvement based on your observation or assessment. Don't leave them wondering if they did a good job or guessing which part of their behavior or work product needs improvement.
- Behavior: If the concern is related to workplace conduct or inappropriate communication, focus on the behavior, not the individual. If an employee attempts to justify their behavior, remind them of workplace norms and expectations when faced with a difficult colleague, customer, or situation.
- Impact: Describe the impact on the student/team/stakeholder.
- Sincere: Be honest and open. Utilize coaching questions to help the employee understand and work through any challenges.
- How do you feel about the situation?
- What is getting in your way?
- What is the cost of not making a change and not changing how you interact or get your work done in the future?
- What have you done to begin moving toward these goals?
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
- Evaluate and acknowledge personal biases prior to writing employee evaluation comments to avoid stating subjective opinions, drawing conclusions, generalizing, or making discriminatory comments.
- Review your notes from the year, the employee's self-assessment, and the job duties and objectives/goals assigned to the employee.
- Avoid overstatements and exaggerations. Base your assessment on your own observations, not feelings or reports of unsubstantiated information. Avoid being influenced by your first or last impression of the employee, and/or rating favorably because you believe they have potential to meet expectations.
- To earn an overall "Outstanding" rating, a classified employee must have received one "Acknowledgement of Extraordinary Contribution" during the performance cycle.
- To receive an “Unsatisfactory” rating, the employee must have received a “notice of improvement needed” or written notice for performance during the cycle. Always consult with Employee Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org) before giving an unsatisfactory rating to a/p faculty or classified staff.
- Choose a suitable location that will keep both you and the employee relaxed.
- While preliminary performance review conversations with an employee may be helpful to the supervisor as they prepare the supervisor review, the reviewer may direct edits or changes to the final review. Therefore, the formal evaluation meeting between supervisor and employee should take place after the reviewer has approved the performance evaluation. Supervisors and reviewers should discuss any delays that impact delivery of the final evaluation and the one-on-one meeting between supervisor and employee during the published evaluation due dates. Make sure the reviewer (supervisor of the person performing the evaluation) has approved the performance evaluation and rating, and you have the employee's assessment fresh in your mind.
- Provide the employee a chance to review the evaluation before meeting by sharing a PDF copy of the review with them prior to completing the supervisor sign-off set in LEAPS.
- Remember the importance of your body language, tone, and positioning.
- Share your notes on their performance in comparison to their self-evaluation responses. If there are disparities between the self-evaluation and the supervisor assessment, clarify and address these disparities.
- Be specific and discuss regular, expected performance. Set new performance expectations for the next performance management cycle according to current priorities and job functions.
- Identify successes and accomplishments that went above and beyond expectations or fell short of what was expected, and be specific on how the overall rating was determined.
- 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.