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managing performance

Managing employees' performance is an ongoing dialogue between manager and employee that links expectations, ongoing feedback and coaching, performance evaluations, development planning and follow-up. In this section, you will find valuable information, forms, and online tools to assist you in managing your employees' performance.

If you need assistance with faculty issues, please contact the Provost Office at 651-2063.

Set Expectations

As a best practice, we encourage supervisors to define expectations for every position. These expectations and performance measurement standards should be communicated to new employees, and reviewed at least once a year with all employees. Expectations for each position can include: purpose of the position, key objectives - both tasks and duties, conduct expectations, and performance standards, as well as, measures such as quality, quantity, timeliness, initiative, and teamwork for each key responsibility. Expectations should be set within an employee's first few weeks of hire. Remember - a six month probationary period exists to help ensure that the new employee is making adequate progress in learning the job.

Gather Data

Performance evaluations should not be a one time event. Supervisors are encouraged to gather data regarding employee performance in a systematic manner throughout the year. The performance appraisal record is a guide that can be used by supervisors, in addition to their own best practices, to gather data throughout the year and provide ongoing feedback to employees regarding performance. This information will then be available to supervisors when drafting the annual performance appraisal.

Performance Evaluations

As a supervisor, your role is to set expectations, gather data, and provide on going feedback to your employees to assist them in utilizing their skills, expertise and ideas to produce results. To provide this direction, you should communicate to employees what is expected of them, define satisfactory performance for those expectations, and then monitor and evaluate the performance on an on going basis.

The annual performance appraisal should provide a comparison of actual on-the-job performance to established performance measurement standards. The annual performance evaluation encourages periodic and structured communication between supervisors and employees about the job, and should take place continuously. While day-to-day evaluation is usually informal, performance appraisal instructions establishes guidelines for annual performance evaluations for employees. It is expected that every regular employee be evaluated annually.


Feedback is a process by which effective performance is reinforced and less-than-desirable performance is corrected. Feedback should be information that highlights the relationship between what is expected and what has been accomplished after the work is performed or the action is taken.

Feedback can take many forms; it can be informal or formal. It can be given as praise in the form of reward and recognition, or it can be corrective in the form of disciplinary or corrective action.

Important Note: when a person is accused of poor performance, the first reaction will sometimes be denial. By denying the fault, the person avoids having to question his or her own competence. Others react to criticism with anger and aggression. This helps them let off stream and postpones confronting the immediate problem until they are able to cope with it. Still others react to criticism by retreating into a shell.

In any event, understanding and dealing with defensiveness is an important appraisal skill. The Handling Difficult Situations checklist offers suggestions in handling any unpleasant situation.

Development Planning

Development planning is the process of creating experiences for your employees that promote skills and knowledge related to the position, as well as to professional growth. Development plans draw from the Performance Evaluation:

  • Performance goals or needs (deficiencies) to be addressed
  • The employee, with supervisor assistance, identifies ways to achieve those goals and/or address performance deficiencies in systematic ways
  • Address opportunities for professional growth
  • Agreement and/or commitment between employee and supervisor
  • Planned follow-up
  • Use the SMART Goal Setting Techniques to help you achieve your performance goals.

Sources: Dessler, G. (1997) Human resources management, 7th ed. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.


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Office of Human Resources
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