ALL EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT GUIDE
1. Philosophy and Intent ………………………………………………………………………………………………..page 1
2. Annual Performance Management Cycle …………………………………………………………………..page 2
3. Starting with the End in Mind …………………………………………………………………………………….page 2
4. Duties and Position descriptions ………………………………………………………………………………..page 3
5. Goals and Employee Development …………………………………………………………………………….page 3
6. The Mid-Year Check-In ……………………………………………………………………………………………….page 3
7. Feedback ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………page 4
8. Year-End Performance Review …………………………………………………………………………………..page 4
9. Preparation and Performance Progress Reviews ………………………………………………………..page 4
10.The Performance Review Form ………………………………………………………………………………….page 5
11.Common Review Errors ……………………………………………………………………………………………..page 6
12.Best Practices to Avoid Common Errors ……………………………………………………………………..page 6
13.Tips for Motivating Employees …………………………………………………………………………………..page 6
14.Frequently Asked Questions ………………………………………………………………………………………page 6
1. Philosophy and Intent
Performance management is integral to creating a high performing organization and to supporting employee
development. The performance management cycle and processes serve as the architecture allowing supervisors and
employees to set expectations for the year and to discuss each employee’s potential contributions toward the
achievement of departmental and university goals and objectives.
The current features of the PeopleAdmin performance review process are joint objective and goal setting between the
supervisor and employee, self-review, and the opportunity to engage in productive discussions regarding performance
at mid-year and at year-end. The objective of the performance review discussions is for supervisors and employees to
have meaningful and constructive reflection and dialog to provide employees with relevant, specific, and timely
information about performance strengths, goal progress and achievement, and opportunities for improvement.
Annual performance reviews are a powerful tool for employee development. The employee self-review helps the
supervisor understand employees’ perception of their performance, what employees value in their jobs, what motivates
them to do better, and how the job fits into their career goals. With this information, supervisors can engage employees
in a discussion on how to achieve high performance in their positions and realize career goals.
Employees are most likely to be successful when they know what level of performance is considered acceptable, clearly
understand their assignments, and receive continual feedback. The evaluation of an employee’s performance is an
ongoing process involving information from coworkers, customers, the supervisor, and the employee; it’s not a process
done just once-a-year by a supervisor to an employee. A formal review however, is an important opportunity to
summarize the informal evaluations of the employee’s performance over a long period of time. Supervisors must
conduct formal, annual reviews for each of their employees.
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2. Annual Performance Management Cycle
The cycle starts with objective setting at the beginning of the performance management year. The diagram below
illustrates the key activities in the cycle.
Performance Management Cycle
3. Starting with the End in Mind
Because the performance management cycle runs annually for all employees, it is important to plan ahead and conduct
the activities included in the performance management process in a timely manner. The first step is to create an
objective plan at the beginning of the performance review cycle which the employee will be measured on at the end of
the year-long process.
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4. Duties and Position descriptions
It is imperative the employee clearly understands his/her assigned role within the university. Position descriptions are
good tools to help convey this information. In most cases, each position will have its own unique set of duties and
responsibilities. An exact description of the duties and responsibilities an employee needs to perform should be
updated when necessary and submitted to Human Resources for review and maintenance. The descriptions should be
specific to the position in a particular department and should include flexibility to allow for new but perhaps similar
projects and to accommodate changes in demand. For example, the phrase “may be required to” or “other related
duties as assigned” to cover unexpected or occasional tasks will reduce the need to update position descriptions quite as
often.
In addition to a position description, each employee should also have a clear understanding of his/her job expectations.
Supervisors should outline the job expectations for each new employee. Both the overall position description as well as
the specific job expectations should be looked at annually before the review process. Setting job expectations is a
critical step in creating a situation toward employee success. Job expectations let the employee know what is expected
of him/her, and sets the tone for his/her employment. Job expectations also prescribe the performance levels to be
achieved by each employee in terms of what is to be done and how it is to be completed to further the university’s goals
and objectives.
5. Goals and Employee Development
The supervisor and employee should focus on setting performance and developmental goals to be achieved over the
next year. These goals should be aligned with the strategic priorities of the university, vice president division or
department. The supervisor must ensure goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound).
These SMART goals should be documented on the review form.
It is also important to update the goals and build in flexibility for performance standards as the work situation changes.
Flexibility is important because many factors (staffing levels, workloads, etc.) can affect the fairness of an expectation.
The more the employee is involved in setting/updating goals and agrees they are clear and reasonable, the greater the
chances for successful performance.
Goals can be written for specific one-time or on-going projects, new programs, improvements, committees or other
assignments. Goals should be developed in alignment with the strategic priorities of the department and university.
6. The Mid-Year Check-in
One of the most useful parts of the performance process is the mid-year check-in. This is an opportunity to reinforce
and encourage continued positive contributions and to make course corrections while there is time to effect change and
improve results. The purpose of this discussion is dynamic, rather than evaluative. For this reason, there are no ratings
of performance issues at this time.
The mid-year check-in is typically conducted from four to six months after the objective plan is finalized. This interim
process gives supervisors the opportunity to provide mid-year feedback about an employee’s progress toward annual
goals, to reinforce progress against the goals, to coach for improvement where necessary, and to revise goals or make
goal adjustments if necessary. In periods of rapid change, goals set at the beginning of the annual cycle may need to
make way for new or different priorities and goals.
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7. Feedback
Feedback, to be valuable, needs to be timely and specific. This is one of the reasons a mid-year conversation can be so
much more powerful than relying only on a performance review at the end of the cycle. Feedback also needs to be
descriptive, rather than judgmental. Descriptions of behavior (what was done) and events (what was the context) which
are linked to results and impact (what happened as an outcome) create clear and motivating messages. Giving feedback
is a crucial part of any open, honest working relationship.
Coaching is particularly helpful during the mid-year check-in, but also at any time the supervisor of the employee feels
there is a reason to touch base. Gonzaga offers several tools and courses to help supervisors prepare for and hold a
coaching discussion with an employee. Go to www.gonzaga.edu/eod for more information.
8. Year-End Performance Review
Supervisors will evaluate employees formally once-a-year. It should be a dialogue, built upon observations, results and
achievements made during the full course of the year. The supervisor has final approval over which level of
performance they consider highly successful and they must hold the employee accountable for meeting these standards.
Prior to conducting an employee review, the supervisor should inform the employee of their meeting date, time and
location and request the employee complete a self-review. Generally, the annual performance review should
encompass work performance for an entire year. However, if the employee has not been under your supervision for a
full year, you may seek information from the previous supervisor by contacting Human Resources.
9. Preparation and Performance Progress Reviews
Preparation is important, and should involve both the employee and the supervisor.
Employee Prepares by:
1. Reviewing the position description and making notes if needed to be reviewed and discussed with
supervisor.
2. Assessing his/her own performance and identifying strengths and areas for improvement.
3. Preparing self-review by reviewing required competencies for the position and providing input on goal
achievement and professional development.
4. Reviewing prior year’s performance review if applicable.
Supervisor Prepares by:
1. Reviewing the employee’s self-review.
2. Reviewing and updating the position description taking into consideration employee input.
3. Assessing employee’s performance and identifying strengths and areas for improvement.
4. Reviewing prior year’s performance review if applicable.
5. Collecting “multi-rater” feedback if applicable.
6. Completing the performance review form identifying SMART goals.
7. Forwarding review materials to the reviewing officer.
8. Adjusting review materials and ratings based on feedback and discussion with second level reviewer and/or
from calibration process.
9. Scheduling uninterrupted meeting time and giving the employee advanced notice of said meeting.
10. Holding feedback meeting with employee after final review.
11. Owning and delivering the rating and review message.
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The Performance Review Discussion:
1. Arrange a meeting place free of interruptions, distractions and phone calls.
2. Assess if the employee is meeting his/her job expectations.
3. Discuss what would help maintain performance.
4. Highlight the employee’s strengths, goals and future plans.
5. Reach mutual agreement on professional developmental plans for the coming year.
Performance Progress Reviews:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Meet periodically to review and update goals (suggestion: meet every 3 months).
Provide encouragement and reinforcement through ongoing coaching/suggestions.
Help employee develop relationships necessary to meet goals.
Meet regularly to continue performance discussions and establish awareness of employee’s job, successes
and challenges. This will ensure there are no surprises during the review discussion.
10. The Performance Review Form
The supervisor is asked to provide feedback for each of the sections provided. The supervisor will also identify the
employee’s strengths and accomplishments. Specific examples of behaviors should be noted to support the supervisor’s
overall evaluation score. Supervisors must be particularly careful to evaluate performance, not personality traits, and to
evaluate each of the performance categories separately. When supervisors evaluate their employees they should assess
his/her behavior as well as his/her competency to perform the job. The employee’s behavior relates to how the
employee does his/her work and how he/she gets the work done.
The supervisor should evaluate their employee(s) based on what s/he can see as the results as well as the process the
employee chose to get the work finished. If the employee is struggling in a certain area, describe specifically what is
needed of the employee and discuss potential training opportunities the employee could participate in to improve this
criteria. There should not be surprises during the performance review discussion. Any areas of significant concern
should have already been addresses by the supervisor in conversation with the employee.
Approvals:
Once the supervisor completes the annual review, it must be reviewed and approved at the next level supervisor prior to
the supervisor engaging in the performance review discussion. The reviewing officer approves the rating and review
message. Approval signifies agreement and support of the rating and review message. Once this approval has been
given, the supervisor can meet with his/her employee to conduct the review discussion.
Employee Comments:
After discussion of the performance review, the supervisor should allow the employee to review the form, and make
comments about any part of the review. The employee may want to review the document before acknowledging so the
supervisor should allow a couple of business days. This will allow the employee to ask any clarifying questions or point
out any areas of concern. The employee should then acknowledge the review. Acknowledgement does not constitute
agreement with the review, but merely acknowledges the review has been read and discussed.
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11. Common Review Errors
a. “Gut” feeling (subjective)
b. Lack of follow-up
c. Improper preparation; poor documentation
d. Inadequately defined and/or misunderstood standards/goals/job expectations
e. Biases:
i.
Positive leniency – want to give everyone high scores
ii.
Negative leniency – want to give everyone low scores
iii.
Halo effect – is performing well just before the review
iv.
Horns effect – the employee is not performing up to standards just before review
v.
Stereotyping contrast effect – contrasting one employee’s accomplishments against another
vi.
First impression central tendency (forced bell curve) – expecting in any group there will be some poor
employees and some great employees
12. Best Practices to Avoid Common Errors
a. Provide continuous feedback to your employee throughout the year
b. Hold employees accountable year-round for their performance
c. Create structured communication i.e. regular one-on-one meetings, regular department meetings, weekly email
updates
d. Have objective criteria established for each position to evaluate your employees’ performance (goals, metrics,
expectations and position descriptions)
e. Seek assistance within your Vice President division or Human Resources to ensure consistency of evaluations
13. Tips for Motivating Employees
a. Make the time to meet with and listen to your employees on a regular basis
b. Provide specific feedback regarding individual, departmental, and organizational performance
c. Provide information on department and university mission, vision and values and on how the individual fits in
with the overall plan
d. Involve employees in decisions, especially those which affect them
e. Provide employees with a sense of ownership in their work and the work environment
f. Strive to create an open, trusting, and fun work environment
g. Encourage new ideas and initiatives
h. Personally thank employees for a good job verbally and in writing (timely, often, and sincerely)
i. Celebrate success! (for more information and creative ideas to recognize and reward employees, please see
http://www.gonzaga.edu/Campus-Resources/Offices-and-Services-A-Z/HumanResources/EmployeeRelations/EmployeeRecognition.asp )
14. Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where can I locate the performance review documents?
A. Go to https://gonzaga.peopleadmin.com/hr/sessions/new. Login with your Gonzaga network username and
password. Click on “Go to Employee Portal”.
Q. It seems like some employees are not staying current in their field, and this may reduce our department’s ability to be
effective. Is there a way to mandate education and/or training?
A. If staying current of specialized knowledge is critical to solid job performance; job knowledge should be identified as
being significant during the review process. Demonstration of new knowledge may be evaluated by satisfactory
completion of academic classes or training programs. Additionally, the position description should be updated to reflect
this requirement.
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Q. Do staff employees really require an annual review?
A. Yes, Gonzaga University requires an annual review. Failure to complete an annual employee performance review will
reflect on the supervisor’s performance.
Q. What happens if an employee disputes the performance review rating?
A. If the dispute cannot be resolved informally between the employee and supervisor, the employee may provide
feedback in the comments section and the employee may request a meeting through the Vice President level for
discussion and resolution.
Q. What should we do about employees who become stressed during the annual performance review?
A. Holding only one review session each year may cause unnecessary anxiety for both the supervisor and the employee.
There are a couple of options to consider. First, less formal monthly or quarterly feedback sessions can provide valuable
input in a less stressful manner. Another option is to ask the employee to create measurable performance goals at the
beginning of the evaluation period and to provide periodic progress reports.
Q. As a supervisor, how can I prepare myself to conduct a review?
A. All supervisors should attend training on how to conduct an effective performance review. Human Resources offers
trainings each spring for supervisors and individual contributors. The training gives you the opportunity to understand
how to evaluate performance against departmental goals and provide constructive feedback. The training also helps
supervisors understand how to translate ratings into merit award recommendations.
Q. What if I don’t know my department’s goals?
A. You should ask your supervisor. Your individual goals are established at the time of setting the objective plan.
Q. I’m a new supervisor, and I’m not sure how to handle the goals which were established by my predecessor?
A. Begin by reviewing the performance reviews completed in the previous year by your predecessor. Next, read the
self-reviews your employees submit to understand their perceptions of their successes and barriers. If you have
questions about how to proceed with the evaluation after reviewing these documents, please contact HR.
Q. Should goals be the same every year?
A. Not necessarily. Some goals may change every year in accordance with the challenges faced by the university, but
there also will be times when other goals are on-going or span a couple of years. Goals should reflect how an individual
contributes to the success of the work unit, office, department, school, and/or the university. In addition, goals may be
used to identify ways for employees to develop professionally (training and certification), acquire new skills (on-the-job
learning or training), and demonstrate competencies (participation in university groups, conference attendance, or work
on special projects).
Q. What should I do as a supervisor if my employee has performance issues?
A. Supervisors should address performance issues with employees when they arise and should not postpone discussions
with the employee until the mid-year or annual review. The supervisor should contact HR regarding specific issues and
work with HR to develop a plan for communicating the issues to the employee, documenting them appropriately, and
preparing a performance improvement plan. At the mid-year and year-end performance reviews, these performance
issues should be noted appropriately on the review and discussed. If performance issues will result in withholding a
salary increase, concerns should be brought forward to Human Resources at least two months prior to the anticipated
increase.
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All Employee Performance Management Guide