Performance Management and Evaluations

Performance evaluations are just one part of an annual performance management cycle. Review the information below to see how evaluations fit into the whole cycle and how they can become an important tool for employee development. 
The annual performance management cycle cycle helps build careers and strengthen teams. Learn more about the phases of this cycle below.

Begin the process of performance management by clearly communicating with the employee the expectations for the evaluation period. Include clear descriptions of objectives and performance expectations. 

Objectives

In the Planning Phase, the manager establishes the objectives or expectations for the coming evaluation period, often in collaboration with the employee. Objectives:
  • provide an up-front, mutually understood and accepted basis for reviewing and discussing performance results.
  • reduce misunderstandings between the manager and the employee about what performance results he/she is expected to achieve.
  • specify each employee’s role in accomplishing things that are important for the work unit and the organization.
  • help the employee to self-monitor progress by providing clear performance targets.

Types of objectives

Consider what types of objectives are most appropriate for the employee’s specific job for the upcoming performance period.

  • Short-range objectives can be accomplished within the performance cycle.
  • Long-range objectives might require a full performance cycle or longer to complete, (and will probably have to be divided into two or three objectives, or spread over several “milestones”).
  • Routine or maintenance objectives will help you maintain performance at currently acceptable levels, or keep things at a minimum standard.
  • Organizational objectives contribute directly to the wider organization (such as establishing a new procedure within a unit).
  • Problem-solving objectives can be set to improve performance that has slipped below acceptable levels.
  • Innovative objectives are created to stimulate creativity or new thinking, or take a fresh approach.
  • Personal development objectives are meant to enhance the employee’s development and his/her long-term performance results.

S.M.A.R.T. Objectives

Specific: Make the accountability or goal clear to the employee so that they know what’s expected.

Measurable: The supervisor needs to be able to determine whether the activity took place and how well it was done.

Attainable: The employee will be frustrated if they are supposed to be responsible for activities that are beyond their control or that cannot be achieved in a reasonable amount of time.

Relevant: Each task should be related directly to the job, a personal developmental objective, or organizational mission or strategic plan.

Time-based: The supervisor and employee should be able to track progress against specified target dates and timeframes.

Performance Expectations

Managers must clearly communicate expectations to employees. Clear, direct expectations help employees focus on their performance and can lead to the results you have outlined. Check in with your employees frequently to reconfirm they are working towards the right goals and to identify possible opportunities for improvement.

Performance expectations are the “how” or “how well” the objective was achieved. They describe the ways you can measure if objectives have been reached and how well activities have been performed. When specific expectations are discussed, the employee knows exactly what they need to do and you can objectively determine how well the employee has done it.

Performance expectations generally fall into one or more of the following categories: 
  • Quality: How well an activity is performed or to what standard the task is completed. This includes accuracy, appearance of work, usefulness and effectiveness. The measure may be expressed as an error rate or a percentage of errors allowable per specific unit.
  • Quantity: How much or how many of the results are produced or performed. Numbers or percentages may be used to measure quantity. The manager must have a system to ensure that quantity standards are accurately tracked and measured.
  • Timeliness: How fast a result is produced or performed.
  • Manner: The way or style in which a task is performed or produced.
  • Method: The policies, procedures and technical considerations that are applied to complete the task.
  • Cost: The effective use of resources including human, organizational and physical resources to complete a task.

 

This phase of performance management - the time when performance actually occurs - is often overlooked and undermanaged. The following information and forms can be used to ensure that managers and employees talk about performance and performance expectations throughout the year.

In many instances, this phase is the most overlooked: supervisors and managers who fail to communicate performance expectations, to monitor performance, and to provide feedback and coaching for improved performance miss the opportunity to fully engage employees in the work of the university.

Employees also have the opportunity - and responsibility - to be active participants in the performance management process. 

Record of Meetings
Feedback and Coaching Log

Employee Responsibilities

Committing to goal achievement

A manager's desires and requirements do not become goals until employees or teams choose to expend the time and effort to achieve it. When goals are clear, worthwhile, and challenging, the greater the chances that the employee will be motivated to achieve them.

Goals are not tasks, but results – Outputs.  Goals shift focus from tasks and work habits to work outcomes.

Soliciting performance feedback and coaching

Actively seeking feedback and making use of the data to improve performance. Example: reviewing plans with manager in advance, describing actions to be taken and soliciting assistance. Manager should have something to contribute: prevents surprises and helps eliminate the possibility of the manager’s later complaining that an obvious problem was not anticipated

Communicating openly and regularly with manager

Schedule times to just “visit” to discuss performance and projects – put them on your calendar, if it helps, at regular intervals

Collecting and sharing performance data

As projects are completed and goals are achieved, the individual needs to advise the manager of the current status of the objectives that were set at the beginning of the period.

Preparing for performance reviews

The review meeting is a dialogue. Employees are expected to prepare for the meeting and to be an active participant.

Manager Responsibilities

Creating conditions that generate motivation

The results of high motivation are job satisfaction, drive, enthusiasm, and achievement.

What motivates your employees? Ask them. Motivators usually deal with job content and demotivators deal with job context. 

Motivators
Demotivators
  • opportunity to achieve
  • chance to accomplish
  • recognition
  • feedback
  • ‘real’ responsibility
  • learn and grow – stretched
  • discretion
  • autonomy
  • stimulating and worthwhile work
  • out of date policies
  • administered unfairly, haphazardly
  • inept or incompetent supervision
  • inadequate salary
  • working conditions
  • bad benefits
  • interpersonal relationships

Managers have control over the motivators by delegating tasks valued by the organization, increasing opportunities for achievement, increasing the number of decisions an employee is allowed to make, and assigning projects that will cause learning and growth.

Observing and documenting performance

Make a brief and informal note, recording date, the facts and details of the incident, the specific behavior or the employee and the effect on the work or the people involved. 

Update, revise initial objectives, performance standards, and job competency areas.

Successful performance management must be dynamic: conditions change over the course of the performance cycle, standards of performance expected of managers and individuals also need to change.

Providing feedback and coaching

"Feedback is information that has the ability to assist the performer to make midcourse corrections that increase the probability of goal attainment.” Dick Grote

Without an objective and standards that define success in accomplishing the objective, feedback is useless data or opinion.

Performance problems require examination of objectives, standards, and feedback the individual is using to assess his or her performance; if one is defective then it is impossible to achieve a good result.

Coaching for improved performance is critical.

Providing developmental experiences    

Individuals are responsible for their own development, although managers can make developmental opportunities available. Developmental experiences can range from participation in workshops to opportunities “in place” that offer occasions for genuine development.

Reinforcing effective behavior and progress toward objectives

We seek information concerning what activities are rewarded, and then seek to do those things, often to the virtual exclusion of activities not rewarded.

“For an organization to act upon its members the formal reward system should positively reinforce desired behavior, not constitute an obstacle to be overcome.” S. Kerr

Both employee and supervisor are active in this phase of performance management as each has the obligation to assess performance against goals and objectives. Assessment can happen periodically throughout the year and should be done in the first step of preparing for annual performance evaluations (see tab above).

In this phase, the manager should draft the performance evaluation and review it with their department head or other designated person and HR, if needed. The manager should also schedule and prepare for the review meeting with the employee.

The employee should complete the self-assessment below, include documentation, and provide a copy to their manager.

Employee Self-Assessment form

Supervisor and employee meet together to discuss performance. They discuss the results achieved (what), the performance effectiveness (how), the summary performance rating, and discuss plans for the next year. This can be done throughout the year and should be included in the annual performance evaluation process (see tab above). 

Performance Review Checklist

Closing the Loop: Renewal

Step 5 should include the planning in Step 1 for the upcoming year. This can be done throughout the year and should be included during the annual performance evaluation process (see tab above). Incorporate the additional data and insights gained during this previous appraisal process. The manager and employee revise any of the objectives that may have changed over the year and set new objectives and standards for the upcoming performance period;  finally creating the ongoing and continuous nature of the performance management cycle.

Goal Planning form

The University of Oklahoma's performance evaluation and employee development system is designed to:
  • Encourage communication between an employee and their supervisor.
  • Assess past goal achievement and levels of performance.
  • Assist an employee and their supervisor in identifying future performance goals and objectives.
  • Serve as a basis for professional development planning.

Supervisors must submit a Summary Evaluation Report by March 31 for each employee (see Step 6). Supervisors may use supporting documentation approved by their department to assist with the evaluation process (see Step 2). 

Supervisor schedules the performance discussion. Allow adequate time for preparation, performance review and the feedback session. Last minute evaluations may result in ineffective reviews.

Supervisor and employee review performance data including goals, achievements, and feedback given throughout the year.

Employees should complete an employee self-assessment and supervisors should prepare to discuss performance data. Consider using these sample documents:

Sample Evaluation Forms & Employee Self-Assessment

Supervisor and employee review performance data, including progress on current goals. 
Discuss the following topics during the meeting; the supervisor or employee may agree to discuss other topics as well:
  • Review goals agreed upon at previous performance discussions. 
  • Review developmental activities that have occurred since the previous performance discussion. 
  • Compare and discuss the evaluation forms completed by the employee and supervisor for the current year. 
  • Plan goals and employee development for the next evaluation period.
The supervisor will forward the completed evaluation forms and any other documents to the department head for review, comment, and signature.The evaluation documents must be signed and dated by the supervisor, employee, and department head.
Copies of the documents will be made for the supervisor and employee's records for future use. Originals are maintained in the employee’s departmental file.
The original Staff Performance Evaluation Summary Report is the only document that needs to be sent to Human Resources. Submit this form by March 31 each year.

Documents

 

Evaluations
Use these documents to complete annual performance evaluations.
PERFORMANCE EVALUATION SUMMARY REPORT - REQUIRED
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
PERFORMANCE EVALUATION GUIDELINES
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
SAMPLE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION - HOURLY STAFF
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
SAMPLE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION - MONTHLY STAFF
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
SAMPLE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION FOR STAFF
Campus: Tulsa
EMPLOYEE SELF-ASSESSMENT
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa

 

Ongoing Performance Management
These documents can be used to prepare for annual evaluations and for performance management throughout the year.
PERFORMANCE & GOAL PLANNING
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
RECORD OF MEETING
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
FEEDBACK AND COACHING LOG
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
EMPLOYEE SELF-ASSESSMENT
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
PERFORMANCE DISCUSSION CHECKLIST
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa

Policies

University of Oklahoma Staff Handbook
Section 3.19 - Performance Evaluation

Contact

  • Norman: HR Employee Relations, 405-325-5594, NEL 224 
  • HSC: HR Employee Relations & Business Partners, 405-271-2194, SCB 113 
  • Tulsa: HR Employee Relations, 918-660-3190, Room 2C11