Performance Management

Managing performance is a continuous process of timely and effective communication between managers, supervisors and employees.  Radford University supports and is committed to an annual performance management process to foster development of each person and to help the individual employee be successful in his/her work assignment as well as to accomplish the University’s mission and goals. Performance management aids the individual employee with communication and understanding expectations on a regular basis, and it provides ongoing, timely and descriptive, informal and formal feedback.  The process should promote motivating employees to perform their best and should be conducted with fairness and transparency.

Performance Management is year-round and begins with performance planning, continues with counseling, mentoring and coaching and ends with the performance evaluation.

The Performance Plan and the Performance Evaluation will be created using the PeopleAdmin online tool, which can be located through MyRU.

Appraisal Cycle and Deadlines

  • Administrative/Professional Faculty:  The A/P Faculty evaluation must be completed by September 15.  Please refer to the AP Handbook [PDF].
  • Classified Staff:  Annual Cycle from October 25th – October 24th, Evaluation Due Date: October 25 http://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/hrpolicy/policy.html.
  • Wage Employees:  There is no formal evaluation form or process, but supervisors are encouraged to give continuous performance feedback throughout the year.
  • Teaching and Research Faculty:  Please refer to the T&R Handbook.

The Role of the Reviewer

The reviewer is normally the supervisor of the person performing the evaluation. In some departments, there may be one reviewer for the entire department.

  •          Confirms supporting documentation.
  •          Ensures consistency among supervisors.
  •          Ensures performance has been appraised fairly.
  •          Makes decisions on appeals.

Handling Evaluation Appeals

  • Classified Employees: May appeal to the reviewer within 10 workdays of receiving the evaluation. The reviewer will provide a response within 5 workdays. The reviewer can uphold, revise, or rewrite the evaluation. An employee may also file a grievance if he/she feels the evaluation is arbitrary or capricious.
  • Admin/Professional Faculty: Refer to the AP Handbook [PDF].

The Role of the Employee

Employees are encouraged to seek assistance with performance and clarify their responsibilities through ongoing conversations with supervisors. Employees are also encouraged to do a self-evaluation which helps them assess strengths and weaknesses. They should actively participate in their performance appraisal discussions and provide feedback to supervisors about their performance. Employees will acknowledge their performance plan as well as their performance evaluation in the PeopleAdmin system in MyRU.

Performance Planning

All full-time classified and probationary employees must have a performance plan.

During this phase of the process, employees and supervisors work in conjunction with each other to develop a performance plan that aligns the efforts of supervisors and employees with departmental and university goals.

Together the supervisor and employee will:

  • Define or clarify the core responsibilities of the job.
  • Determine measurable performance expectations or levels of achievement for each core responsibility.
  • Create a Development Plan to include learning goals and specific steps to be taken to accomplish these goals.
  • The supervisor, reviewer and employee will acknowledge the Performance Plan.  The Performance Plan is not required to be filed in the employee's personnel file maintained in the Office of Human Resources.

Each October, employees are asked to develop a new performance plan that outlines goals and objectives for the coming year.  The plans are created using the PeopleAdmin online tool available in MyRU.  New performance plans should be finalized by mid-November of each year.

Newly hired/rehired employees or those moving from one position to another will need a performance plan completed within 30 days of the hire or transfer.

Coaching and Counseling

Continuous coaching and feedback occur throughout the performance period.  During the performance period, the supervisor and employee should regularly discuss work progress, new assignments, changes in procedures, etc.  During these discussions, the supervisor has an opportunity to provide constructive feedback and direction to the employee. 

Employee Relations is available to assist employees and supervisors when any part of the Performance Management process is not working well. 

Performance Feedback Tips Throughout the Year

  • Timely: Don't wait. Give feedback as soon after the performance takes place (positive and negative).
  • Specific: Tell exactly what the employee did that was good or needs improvement. Don't leave him/her guessing which part of their behavior needs improvement. The focus should be on the behavior, not the individual.
  • Sincere: Be honest and open. Tell the employee what their performance affected.

If the performance needs improvement during the year and training and development would be beneficial, ensure that the employee be allowed the opportunity to participate.

Importance of Documentation

  • Memo or follow-up email: Follow up a performance discussion with a written memo or email to clarify the performance issues discussed. List examples and consequences for the department on fellow employees. Offer your support with follow up steps and reiterate the need for change and potential consequences if it does not improve.
  • Supervisor Documentation: Keep a paper file or password protected online file as a source of documentation.

If the individual is having performance issues and does not improve after discussions, please contact Employee Relations for consultation.

Ratings

For classified employees there is a choice of three ratings:

  • Extraordinary Contributor – work that is characterized by exemplary accomplishments throughout the rating period; performance that is considerably and consistently well above performance measures.  Employees must have received two documented Acknowledgement of Extraordinary Contribution forms to receive an Extraordinary Contributor rating Acknowledgment of Extraordinary Contribution [PDF] | [DOC].
  • Contributor – work that is characterized by meeting job functions and fully meeting performance measures.
  • Below Contributor – work that fails to meet performance measures.  To receive this rating, an employee must have received at least one documented Notice of Improvement Needed/Substandard Performance [PDF] within the performance cycle.  Receipt of a Notice of Improvement Needed/Substandard Performance form or a Written Notice does not require that an employee be rated “Below Contributor.” Rather, it allows a “Below Contributor” rating if the employee’s overall performance reasonably supports a “Below Contributor” rating. A Written Notice that is issued to an employee for any reason in the current performance cycle may be used in place of the Notice of Improvement Needed/Substandard Performance to support an overall rating of Below Contributor.

The Meeting

  • Make sure the reviewer (supervisor of the person performing the evaluation) has approved the form and you have the employee's assessment fresh in your mind.
  • Provide the employee a chance to review the evaluation before meeting.
  • Schedule uninterrupted time for discussing the evaluation and ensure privacy.
  • Make sure there are no surprises.  If feedback during the performance cycle was given, there should be no major surprises.
  • Be specific and discuss regular, expected performance.  The employee should not have to guess the meaning behind what is said.
  • Identify accomplishments above what is expected.
  • Discuss any mismatch between goals and achievement.
  • Remember...this is the starting point for discussion and should be a two-way communication between supervisor and employee.
  • Anticipate possible employee reactions.  Address any interfering emotions or disagreements in a calm, supportive manner.

Completing the Performance Evaluation

Classified Employees

All full-time operational and classified employees who have completed their probationary periods are required to participate in this process

Probationary Employees

  • Probationary employees hired between October 25 and July 24, must have their performance evaluations completed between August 10 and October 24.
  • A performance evaluation is not required for probationary employees hired between July 25 and October 24.  A supervisor may choose to complete an evaluation.
  • ALL probationary employees who have completed six months of the probationary period must have a formal written evaluation made using the Probationary Progress Review [PDF] | [DOC].

Once the meeting has been concluded, the employee will acknowledge and send the evaluation back to the supervisor.  The supervisor will check the evaluation to ensure the employee acknowledged the evaluation and send the evaluation to HR via the online system.

Receiving a Below Contributor Rating

Supervisors must have consulted with Employee Relations before the issuance of a Below Contributor rating to an employee.  An employee who receives a rating of Below Contributor must be re-evaluated and have a performance re-evaluation plan developed as outlined below:

Within 10 workdays of the evaluation meeting during which the employee received the annual rating, the employee's supervisor must develop a performance re-evaluation plan that sets forth performance measures for the following three (3) months, and have it approved by the reviewer.

  • Even if the employee is in the process of appealing his or her evaluation, the performance re-evaluation plan must be developed.  The performance plan/evaluation must clearly indicate that it is a re-evaluation.
  • The supervisor should develop an entire performance plan including, “Employee Development.”
  • The supervisor must discuss with the employee specific recommendations for meeting the minimum performance measures contained in the performance re-evaluation plan during the re-evaluation period.
  • The employee’s reviewer, and then the employee, should review and sign the performance re-evaluation plan.
  • If the employee transfers to another position during the re-evaluation period, the re-evaluation process will be terminated.

NOTE: Regardless of the employee’s movement to another position during this re-evaluation period, the employee will not be eligible for a performance increase.

Three (3) Month Re-Evaluation

The employee must be re-evaluated within approximately two weeks prior to the end of the three (3)-month period. If an employee is absent for more than 14 consecutive days during the three (3)-month re-evaluation period, the period will be extended by the total number of days of absence, including the first 14 days.  If the employee receives a re-evaluation rating of “Below Contributor,” the supervisor shall demote, reassign, or terminate the employee by the end of the three (3)-month re-evaluation period.

The re-evaluation process does not prevent disciplinary action being taken based on the employee’s poor performance or other reasons stipulated in Policy 1.60, Standards of Conduct or issuing additional Improvement Needed/Substandard Performance forms.

Evaluation Appeals

If an employee disagrees with an evaluation and cannot resolve the disagreement with the supervisor, the employee may appeal in writing to the reviewer within 10 workdays of the initial performance meeting for another review of the evaluation.

The reviewer should discuss an employee’s appeal with the supervisor and employee. After discussion of the appeal, the reviewer should provide the employee with a written response within five (5) workdays of receiving it.

The response should indicate one of the following:

  • the reviewer agrees with the evaluation;
  • the supervisor will revise the evaluation;
  • the supervisor will complete a new evaluation;
  • the reviewer will revise the evaluation; or
  • the reviewer will complete a new evaluation.

Training

Training is available for performance management.  For more information contact Ruby Cline, Training and Development Coordinator, at 540-831-7662 or Jenene Lewis, Employee Relations Specialist, at 540-831-7286.