Performance Engagement

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NU Values compensation and performance engagement system is based on competencies. A Competency is the combination of observable and measurable knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal attributes that contribute to enhanced employee performance and overall organizational success.

Performance Engagement is the process by which employees and their supervisors set goals and expectations for performance that connects the job to department and University mission.

With NU Values performance engagement system, performance reviews will be tailored to types of jobs. It will measure employees' performance against identified specific observable competencies and behaviors appropriate for the job.

Both the NU Values performance engagement process and forms are designed to:

  • Provide employees with clear understanding of their supervisor's expectations of them,
  • Enhance employees' chance at succeeding at their jobs
  • Enhance employees' chance at being rewarded based on performance
  • Enhance opportunities for employees to grow in their career at the University


Performance engagement process starts with setting clear expectations, continues with ongoing coaching and feedback (both constructive and positive), includes documentation for accurate recall and the process "ends" before starting a new cycle, with a formal performance review, a summary of what happened in the review period.

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Components of Performance Engagement

Goal Setting

Establish SMART Goals:

S Specific
M Measurable
A Agreed Upon
R Realistic
T Timed


A step to see how employees are progressing "just because". Helps identify opportunities and obstacles; acknowledging efforts and planning next steps.


A step undertaken when expected results are not produced. This step sets out to jointly identify and resolve problems; discuss obstacles, opportunities and next steps.


Praise builds self-esteem and pride in our selves and jobs, generates enthusiasm and commitment, builds loyalty, motivates to go the extra mile and take risks, improve relationships, etc.


Documentation of successes, going above and beyond, compliments, appreciations, mistakes, failure to meet expectations and complaints are necessary for performance reviews, circumstances involving possible legal challenges, to explain differences in salary adjustments, and promotion decisions.

Format of Documentation
Notes on basic facts surrounding the situation (what happened, how, who did it etc), the impact or results it had on operations and others and any sort of explanations given on why it happened. Documentation is to be maintained in management files.

Effective Documentation entails:

  • consistency across people
  • consistency across incidents
  • consistency of facts and communications

Performance Reviews Evaluate:

  • What work is done, based on output, product or services provided, and based on job description and priorities.
  • How the work is done, based on some sort of organizational standards, competencies and key behaviors.

The NU Values Performance Engagement forms evaluate performance toward job expectations and job results and the SMART goals concepts can be used to develop these goals or expectations.

Ideas for goals may be obtained from job descriptions, departmental goals, unit or organizational strategic plans, annual goals and new organizational initiatives.

Process to develop competencies

Purpose of the competencies is to tie the work done on a day-to-day basis to the University's mission. A second purpose of the competencies is to define the various types of behaviors (such as good customer service, accountability, etc.) that is needed to be successful at the University and is needed in each employee for the University to be successful as a whole.

Each competency has a set of key behaviors that define in behavioral terms what is expected of us given our job family and our level within the organization.

Performance ratings and evaluations are based on performance against previously agreed upon expectations set at the beginning of the evaluation cycle, be it annual goals or key behaviors.

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Why conduct Performance Review?

  • Motivate, Communicate & Differentiate
  • Praise
  • Feedback
  • Salary Decisions
  • Promotion Decisions
  • Organizational Change Decisions
  • Set direction and priorities
  • Legal documentation

NU Values Performance Review Form

NU Values Competencies

  • Accountability
  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Customer / Quality Focus
  • Inclusiveness
  • Occupational Knowledge / Technology Orientation
  • Team Focus
  • Leadership

Narrative Feedback (written comments)

Narrative feedback is effective when the goal is to motivate and enhance productivity. Written comments are also more defensible and communicate expectations and concerns effectively.


  • Primary form
  • Customer and peer observation and comment form
  • Supervisory expectations and assessment
  • Employee observations and comments on supervisory behaviors
  • Career development agreement and evaluation