Performance Management and Performance Evaluation

Performance Evaluation Form and Guidelines

Performance management is a partnership between an employee and his/her supervisor to optimize performance, build effective feedback and communication, enhance employee growth and development, and develop goals that are consistent with department/college strategic plans.

A performance evaluation is a part of performance management. The distinctions between the two are highlighted below.

Performance EvaluationPerformance Management
Focus is on evaluation Focus is on employee development
Seen as a once-a-year event Seen as an ongoing, daily process
Discussions happen when salary increases are awarded or performance problems emerge Discussions happen frequently; formally at least twice a year
Forms are designed to evaluate performance and rank employees Forms are designed to evaluate performance and plan for employee development
Feedback occurs primarily in the appraisal/review discussion  Both positive and negative feedback occur frequently 

Supervisors are encouraged to evaluate performance within the context of performance management.

Reasons for Conducting Performance Evaluation

  • Communicate organizational goals and objectives
  • Motivate employees to improve performance
  • Heighten productivity
  • Growth and Development
  • Distribute organizational rewards equitably
  • Assess match between knowledge, skill and ability with performance and job requirement

When to Conduct Performance Evaluation

Written performance evaluations should be completed on a regular basis and retained in the department. (See the Performance Evaluations policy.) Evaluations should occur at the following times:

  • At the end of the original six-month probationary period.
  • Annually, either on the anniversary of the employee’s hire date or at another time designated by the department.
  • At the end of six months after transfer or promotion to a new position.
  • At any time the supervisor wishes to record noteworthy performance, either favorable or unfavorable.

Challenges in Conducting Performance Evaluations       

  • Changing nature of work,  i.e., technological changes, job duties, or change in scope of work.
  • Rating performance objectively.
  • Shift to emphasis on team orientation (necessitate multi-rater evaluations).
  • Limited organizational rewards and consequences.
  • Scarce resources.
  • Reducing employee defensiveness or anxiety and increasing dialogue and recognition.

Approaches to Conducting Performance Evaluations

  • Develop a system that encourages employee participation in establishing performance standards.
  • Develop standards based on critical job elements.
  • Assess employee against performance standards rather than each other or some statistical guide.
  • Set and evaluate goals.
  • Clarify performance expectations.
  • Utilize ongoing coaching, communication and feedback.
  • Provide timely and accurate documentation.
  • Base evaluation on actual performance, not subjective feedback.
  • Consider including self evaluation, peer, customer input (360○ feedback) where applicable.
  • Promote consistency  within the department.
  • Establish SMART Goals:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Agreed Upon
    • Realistic
    • Timed

Steps in Conducting Annual Performance Review

  • Review job description and goals established for the year.
  • Review last year’s performance evaluation.
  • Review documentation in management file.
  • Review peer and customer input.
  • Review employee’s self evaluation.
  • Take into account environmental factors (e.g. organizational changes, FML protected absences, etc.).

Effective Performance Appraisal

  • Uses specific objectives previously set with employees as standards to measure progress.
  • Puts the employee at ease and explains the purpose of the feedback interview.
  • Encourages and supports.
  • Is clear about consequences if performance does not improve.
  • Criticizes performance, not the person, when giving negative feedback.
  • Obtains employee participation and encourages self-evaluation.
  • Uses specific examples to support ratings.
  • Has the employee summarize the feedback to ensure understanding.
  • Creates a future plan of development jointly with the employee.

Guidelines for Improving Performance Appraisal Interviews

  • Review evaluations written by other experienced supervisors to see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Keep notes throughout the evaluation period. Do not rely on recall at the end of the review period.
  • Seek input from other observers when appropriate (i.e., customers).
  • Educate employee regarding evaluation philosophy and standards of performance in advance. Provide examples of what constitutes “exceeds expectations”, “meets expectations”, and “needs improvement”.
  • Know what you are looking for. Evaluate the right things. Concentrate exclusively on factors directly related to job performance.
  • Don’t include rumors, allegations, or guesswork as part of your written evaluations.
  • Be complete:  Include both positives and negatives.
  • Do not be afraid to criticize. Do not forget to praise.
  • Focus on improvement. Use the evaluation to set goals for better performance.
  • Supplement periodic written evaluations with frequent verbal feedback. Negative written evaluation should not come as a SURPRISE.
  • Do not put anything in writing that you would not say to the employee in person.
  • Say what has to be said clearly and move on.
  • Be as specific as possible; use examples.
  • Relate evaluations to previous reviews. Are things better? Worse? The same?
  • Allow plenty of time to prepare evaluations properly. Do not work under pressure.
  • Avoid completing an evaluation when you are angry, frustrated or tired.
  • Focus on developing the employee and utilizing his/her strengths.
  • Be willing to change an evaluation if new information becomes available.
  • End the evaluation on a positive note. Let the employee know you value his/her contributions and efforts.

Employee’s Roles in the Evaluation Process

Detail personal performance and accomplishments, and compare to last review

  • How have my responsibilities supported the strategic direction of our program?
  • What have been my most important contributions and accomplishments during the review period?
  • What do I need to do to further enhance my performance?
  • How has my manager helped or supported my performance during the review period? What else could my manager do in the future?
  • What strengths have led to my success this far?
  • What skill would make me a more valued contributor in my current job? Is there a task or project in which I can develop those skills?
  • Are there professional development opportunities which would enhance my job and increase my skills and abilities?
  • Are there revisions needed for my job description or goals?

 Employee Concerns about Review

  • Discuss concerns with your supervisor; be clear and specific. Ask questions to clarify meaning and intent.
  • Reach agreement/understanding about this review period, and use current concerns to clarify for next review period.
  • You have five business days to respond in writing to your evaluation if you so wish. Your response will be placed in your employee file with the evaluation.
  • If you have tried to resolve your concerns unsuccessfully with your supervisor, you may talk with your supervisor’s supervisor.