UCOP Human Resources
Managing performance — whether recognizing good performance or addressing poor performance — is an on-going process that begins with the first time a supervisor communicates performance expectations to his/her employee. In some cases, this may include corrective action. The steps discussed below should be used throughout the performance management process. Setting expectations, gathering documentation, and meeting with the employee happen multiple times throughout the performance management process and collectively are key elements to the success of performance management.
Setting performance expectations — Clear goals
Employees need to know what is expected of them, and the supervisor should communicate goals and expectations early and often. A good reference point for setting expectations is to write “S.M.A.R.T.” goals within the performance appraisal: Staff Talent Evaluation Process (STEP).
Communicating performance expectations and providing specific and timely feedback is an important part of managing employee performance. Establishing clear and specific goals or expectations at the time of hire, when assigning projects or tasks, and for the day-to-day work as well as attendance, not only gives an employee clear direction, but provides the supervisor measurable standards against which performance can be evaluated. Regular feedback to the employee is an opportunity to further clarify the goals and provide resources for improving performance.
Gathering work records/documentation
When an employee’s conduct or performance fails to meet performance standards and expectations, it is important to gather information to document the issues. Documentation may include:
- Examples of poor work
- Email communications
- Witness statements
- Policies, work rules, department procedures, etc.
In general, the supervisor is responsible for investigating and documenting facts when an employee does not meet the expectations of conduct or performance. This documentation is used to support performance management or corrective action.
Meeting with the employee
When an employee has a conduct or performance issue, the supervisor should meet with the employee in a timely way to discuss his/her concerns. The supervisor should conduct the meeting in a private location; explain how the employee's conduct or performance fails to meet expectations; review any supporting documentation with the employee; give the employee an opportunity to explain and/or to respond; and establish clear expectations (S.M.A.R.T.) for the employee’s future performance and/or conduct. During this conversation don’t be side-tracked by items that are unrelated to the issue being addressed — stay focused and direct.
Depending on the severity of the employee’s conduct or performance, it is recommended that supervisors follow-up by documenting the reason for and the results of the meeting. Documentation can take several different forms:
- A summary memo for the supervisor’s file
- An email to the employee summarizing concerns, solutions and expectations
- Counseling Letter/Memorandum
- Performance Improvement Plan that includes corrective actions, goals with benchmarks, support/ resources provided. Sample Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Guidelines and Templates