Frequently Asked Questions

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My unit is switching from a five-point rating scale to a three-point rating scale. Why the change?

A three-point scale allows a supervisor to make a meaningful distinction in an employee's performance. Moving beyond a three-point scale makes it harder for supervisors to make meaningful distinctions and for employees to understand the distinctions made.

How do I use the three-point scale?

Supervisors should assess performance based on what was accomplished and how it was accomplished and then assign a rating.

1—Requires Improvement. Employees assigned this rating are employees who were not consistent in meeting performance expectations/goals that are important to their job in what they accomplish and how they get results. They had difficulties accomplishing what was expected and/or accomplished it in counterproductive ways, or in ways that were disruptive or resulted in additional challenges.

2—Meets Expectations. Employees assigned this rating are those who are successful in meeting or making significant progress toward all of the performance expectations/goals that are important to their job in what they accomplish and how they get results. They are accomplishing their tasks and goals in effective ways. Employees who are assigned this rating still have opportunities for development, but are very solid performers.

3—Exceeds Expectations. Employees assigned this rating are those who exhibit exceptional overall performance, routinely go beyond what is expected, and surpass all of their key performance expectations/goals in what they accomplish and how they get results. They truly make a valuable, meaningful impact beyond what is expected and beyond what other employees may have achieved. Examples might include initiating a new program or process, finding an innovative or more efficient way of accomplishing work, etc.

NOTE: Many employees and supervisors view a “2—Meets Expectations” rating as average, like a "C" grade, but that’s not the case. Most employees will fit this category. A one or three rating should be assigned to employees who truly stand out as either poor performers or high potential performers.

How do I adequately capture how my employee accomplished their goals?

How your employee accomplished their goals refers to the behaviors used. Take a look at these behaviors to help you describe how your employee accomplished their goals.

How do I conduct a performance meeting virtually?

As you prepare for the virtual conversations remember that the goal is to maintain a meaningful connection with the employee, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it is important that it is done. Here are a few things to help ensure the conversation is successful.

  • Check logistics. Schedule a time that’s best for both you and the employee. It should be during a time when both of you are able to focus on the conversations and distractions are minimized. Given the current circumstances, be willing to reschedule if the time meeting time does not work at the last minute.
  • Create a safe space. To have a productive conversation begin by clearly communicating the feedback written on the review form. Then, allow your employee to respond. Take care to listen and avoid interrupting. Remember that silences feel longer in the online space. If an employee is trying to articulate a thought in response it might come across as though they have finished speaking. You can check that they’re finished by asking “Is there anything you’d like to add?”
  • Be human. A common misconception is that supervisors should always know about things happening around the University. But given the current situation even with best efforts, supervisors may not be able to provide all the answers. Effective supervisors are transparent about what they know and what they don’t know.
  • Set the foundation for the coming year. Before ending the performance review meeting, it is important to share and discuss next steps. Acknowledge the current reality and discuss how on-going conversations will work in the near future given the virtual work environment. Share your expectations as a supervisor for staying connected and setting goals for the coming year.

When is the best time to discuss goals with employees?

The best time to discuss goals for the next year is during a separate meeting after the performance evaluation. Sometimes it is not practical to have two separate meetings, such as when time does not allow later. If that is the case, it is best to start the performance evaluation meeting by discussing the employee's performance from the previous year and reviewing the performance evaluation form. Once the conversation about the previous year is complete, then begin to discuss goals for FY21 (the coming year). Goals can be finalized and operationalized during your ongoing conversations throughout the year, which are an essential component of effective performance management.

TIP: Use the employee input form to capture goals for coming year. Then use that form for reference and update it during ongoing check-ins throughout the year. At the end of the year, you can easily transfer those goals to the performance review form to review and evaluate.