Download the 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.
Supervisors are encouraged to evaluate performance within the context of performance management.
Reasons for Conducting a Performance Evaluation
- Communicate organizational goals and objectives
- Motivate employees to improve performance
- Heighten productivity
- Employee growth and development (see Professional Development Planning)
- Distribute organizational rewards equitably
- Assess match between knowledge, skill and ability with performance and job requirement
When to Conduct a 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.
- 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 SMARTER Goals (Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, Timed, Evaluation, and Recognition).
Steps in Conducting an Annual Review
- Review job description, work goals, and professional development 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.).
Tips to Help You Improve 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.
An 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.
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.