Performance Management: Frequently Asked Questions

Does every employee get an appraisal?

The UCOP senior leadership believes strongly that all employees deserve to receive feedback on their performance so they can understand their relevance to the organization and plan their professional futures. This is true except for TOPS employees, as the TOPS program has a process of evaluating performance at the conclusion of each temporary assignment. 

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What is the timing of the process in 2013?

Appraisal forms are available for download in the right sidebar of this page. Completed forms are due to your Local Human Resources Associate Business Partner by 5 p.m., October 31, 2013. The evaluation should cover performance for the period of July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013.

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What is the optimal outcome for performance management?

The performance management process should provide feedback on what the individual is doing well and what can be done better or differently. It is the basis for improved performance and overall professional development. The performance appraisal document is only one element of the performance management process, which begins with each manager setting specific goals and expectations for each employee to measure success in the job.

Specifically, the annual performance appraisal should include conversations about and documentation of these common elements:

  • A review of your performance over the last year against established goals for the past 12 months, as well as identification of goals for next 12 months.
  • An evaluation of performance against competencies that focus not on a rating, but on what went well, what needs improvement and what specifically can be done to improve. 
  • An identification of your performance goals, aspirations and professional development needs to support your career goals. Performance goals should include specific actions that address the goals/needs of the department as well as developmental goals that address areas for professional development.

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Will my evaluation be done just by my manager or by others?

Your manager is responsible for conducting the performance appraisal and submitting the final forms. However, managers are encouraged to seek input from others that you may collaborate with or support in performing your job duties. In addition, it is recommended that your manager’s manager review all completed forms prior to performance discussions being held.

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What if I’m not sure about my manager’s goals and expectations for me?

It is your manager’s responsibility to set goals and expectations for you. Even prior to that, those who manage supervisors should provide direction so there is consistency across the unit in how performance reviews are conducted and how they relate to the employee development process. Your manager should start the conversation with you to set expectations and schedules for self-appraisals and performance reviews. 

UCOP leadership believes that providing objective performance feedback to each employee is one of a manager’s most important responsibilities. If your manager has not initiated the goal-setting process, you should begin by scheduling time with your manager to discuss it. Setting and evaluating performance goals and expectations is an interactive process, so you should actively participate by looking back over the year and completing your own self-appraisal. You might also find it helpful to take the course The Employee Role in Performance Appraisals through the UC Learning Center

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Is there a process for me to provide feedback about my manager’s performance?

UCOP does not currently have a 360-degree feedback process; however, individual departments at their own discretion may establish a mechanism for you to provide such feedback.

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What if supervisory assignments changed during the course of the review period? Who is responsible for conducting my evaluation?

Your current manager should conduct your evaluation with input from your previous manager (if still employed at UC). Input from past managers is relevant to the entire year’s assessment (July 2012 through June 2013). However, if the change was very recent, it might be appropriate for your previous manager to conduct the evaluation.

There is no right or wrong approach, but if you are unsure, have a conversation with both your previous and current managers. Your current manager should definitely be involved in setting goals for your next performance period.

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Why do we complete appraisals every year when there is not always budget for merit increases?

The performance review has purposes other than determining increases in pay. It is an opportunity to discuss and document feedback on an individual’s performance, to confirm goals and priorities, and it serves as a guideline for each employee’s own professional development.

It is a good forum to open up the discussion between employee and supervisor about how an individual can be most effective in his or her current role and clarify expectations as well as prepare for future growth in the position or in the organization. 

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Why is it so important to give people ratings?

Senior leadership is encouraging managers to make distinctions in performance to reward employees who are performing at a higher level. If everyone gets the same rating, contributions become less meaningful. It is important to regard the rating as just that: it is a descriptive snapshot of your performance for a particular period of time. 

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What is the process for performance evaluations this year?

First, all employees should complete a self-appraisal and turn it into their manager. Managers complete the written performance appraisal, which is then reviewed by a second-level manager to provide a more comprehensive review of each employee. Finally, the written review is delivered to the employee, followed by a one-on-one meeting between the employee and manager.

When the document is final, all three parties sign it, and it is delivered to Human Resources for logging and filing.

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Can you give us more guidance on how to apply the rating system?

The evaluation forms provide the rating system as follows:

  • Exceptional Performance (5): significant overachievement of expectations
  • Above Expectations Performance (4): often beyond expectations
  • Meets Expectations Performance (3): consistently fulfills expectations
  • Performance Improvement Needed (2): inconsistent performance with expectations only partially achieved
  • Unsatisfactory Performance (1): failure to achieve the majority of expectations

In terms of goals, if last year you set specific goals and they were met, that is a good, solid performance that meets expectations. However, if the employee went above and beyond, maybe was ahead of deadline on all the projects or did much more than expected, that would be an exceeds expectations performance or a 4 rating. If the employee exceeded every goal that was set, did everything early and went well beyond what the job demands, that would be an exceptional performance, someone who is flying ahead of everyone else.

Senior leadership wants to discourage anyone from equating the ranking system with grades, which is a natural tendency. This is a different scale. Think of a rating of 3 as equated with a good, solid performance.

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A couple of years ago, our managers told us that "meets expectations" is the standard, so not many people received an "exceeds" rating. Is that changing?

No, that is not changing. A "meets expectations" rating should be the standard across UCOP.

Different departments are at different stages of implementing this, but the ideal situation is that managers sit down together and decide among themselves what a "meets expectations" performance looks like. Then they speak with their employees about individual performances. If, for example, your performance is rated as "meets expectations," your manager should then outline what you can do to achieve an "exceed expectations" performance in the future.

Leadership encourages everyone to get involved in those discussions and be as open as possible about how to approach the appraisals and use them as an employee development tool.

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What resources are available during the performance appraisal process?

UCOP offers several resources to support you throughout the performance appraisal process.

  • For employees: The class The Employee Role in Performance Appraisals provides tools for taking an active role in the process, communicating with your manager and tracking your performance throughout the year. Class sessions are scheduled in July and August. Enroll through the UC Learning Center.
  • For managers and supervisors: Classes in Setting Performance Expectations and Conducting Performance Appraisals, which provide tools for giving feedback and tracking performance, are scheduled in July and August; enroll through the UC Learning Center
  • For departments: UCOP Learning and Development provides consulting to individual departments. Contact Linda Klink, Manager, Learning and Development, at

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Which form do I use for my self-assessment?

The same form is used for both self-appraisals and the manager appraisal.

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Which form do I use if I supervise an exclusively represented employee?

All employees, including those exclusively-represented by unions, will be evaluated using the same performance review forms. There are two forms: one for employees who supervise others (doc) and one for non-supervisory employees (doc).

There is no longer a separate form for union represented employees.

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I’m a new employee. What’s the process for me?

Your manager should establish goals, performance standards and expectations for you immediately. The guideline for setting standards is that they be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART). You should receive ongoing and regular feedback. If you are in a six-month probationary period, your manager should do a written evaluation for you at least once during the six-month probationary period, at approximately the mid-point.

If you started at the Office of the President before April 1, 2013, you should be appraised in this year’s annual review process. If you started after April 1, use the Performance Appraisal form to set goals for next year and to provide written comments about performance, if this has not already been done.

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What can I do if I disagree with my manager’s appraisal of my performance?

The appraisal is the manager’s assessment of the prior year’s performance; it is a snapshot in time. You may write comments on the form or on a separate sheet to attach to the appraisal. Your signature does not indicate agreement or disagreement with the appraisal; simply that it has been provided to and discussed with you.

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If career development is part of the process but there is no training budget, what options are available?

Training budgets are established at the department level. UCOP Learning and Development also offers many in-house learning opportunities at no cost and can design, at the department’s request, specific training as needed.

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Who can I contact with questions?

You may contact your supervisor or HR Business Partner. If you believe there is a problem with the way your performance review is being administered, please contact your HR Business Partner.

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