The Performance Review provides periodic written review of an individual in the context of ongoing performance management. It is designed to facilitate constructive discussion between the employee and manager in order to clarify performance objectives, provide feedback about the employee’s performance with respect to skills and behaviors, provide a framework for identifying the employee’s development plans, and serve as a basis for merit increase decisions. Managers and employees are responsible for completing a yearly performance review as part of ongoing performance discussions.
A performance review is especially important when an employee is a candidate for retention, tenure, or promotion. The formal performance review report will contain a recommendation for action. The performance review should cover the period between date of hire or previous performance review, which ever is more recent.
While the nature of the performance review is necessarily evaluative, performance review reports must also contain developmental feedback for each employee. Developmental feedback helps the employee improve performance in each area reviewed, focusing on the employee’s eventual success in the professional field. While this feedback should guide the employee’s progression towards further retention, and/or promotion, it will not normally establish firm goals for future performance.
If a performance review report makes it clear that specific goals are to be met, the developmental feedback may be used as a basis for evaluation in future years’ reviews. The purpose is to help the candidate meet what should already be reasonably clear goals for success.
Preparation for the performance review discussion should begin with the employee completing a self-appraisal. Employee Self-Appraisals offer numerous benefits to the appraisal process including greater perceived accuracy, fairness and improved understanding of the demands and expectations of the organization. We recommend that the Self-Appraisal be completed and submitted to the manager approximately 2 weeks prior to the Performance Appraisal discussion.
Performance Review: Areas of Evaluation
The performance review should address primary areas of evaluation: tasks the employee performs, how the employee peforms those tasks, overall assessment and a development plan for future improvement.
Areas of Employee Responsibility
This section of the Performance Review form is used to record the three or four major activities or goals that the employee is responsible for in their job as well as the evaluation criteria for these. The major activities typically reflect duties described in the job description and/or performance goals. Evaluation criteria encompass such standards as impact, timeliness, cost effectiveness, client satisfaction, accuracy, consistency, etc. During the review period, the manager and staff member are encouraged to review progress in meeting identified goals or activities, and may decide to revise, add, or delete any of these in order to best meet changing organizational needs.
Performance Competencies—Skills and Behaviors
At the beginning of the review period, the manager and employee are responsible for reaching a shared understanding of the key skills and behaviors as they relate to the individual’s job description. While the employee will be evaluating him or herself regarding the key skills and behaviors, the manager is ultimately responsible for assessing the staff member’s performance against the agreed upon performance expectations and reviewing the assessment with the individual. Performance that does not meet expectations should be addressed in the Development Plan section of the Performance Review.
This section contains a brief summary of the employee’s overall performance. It also contains an overall assessment of the employee’s performance level (Outstanding, Above Expectations, Meets Expectations, Below Expectations, Needs Improvement). Employees do not complete this section on the Self-Assessment form.
There are four kinds of Development Plans:
- Development to close performance gaps: the manager, in conjunction with the staff member, should identify development plans for any goals, skills or behaviors which are assessed at the “Needs Improvement” performance level. These should be reviewed and discussed through ongoing performance discussions.
- Development to enhance job skills and performance: plans identified by a manager with the individual to provide opportunities for a staff member to enhance job-related skills and performance.
- Development for career advancement: plans identified by the manager and individual to enhance the promotability of a staff member.
- Development for career exploration: staff members may initiate a development plan to provide opportunities for career exploration through cross-training or mentoring activities.
Performance Goals and Expectations
This section is used to begin the performance management process for the next review period. Goals typically reflect major job activities and may be modified throughout the year based upon changing organizational needs.