Performance Management: Frequently Asked Questions

Do we have to complete a performance evaluation every quarter now?

 


What does STEP stand for does every employee need to complete the performance appraisal process??

STEP stands for Staff Talent Evaluation Process 

Performance Appraisals are required for all Career and Contract employees;
TOPS Temporary employees are not included in this process.  For questions regarding if appraisals are required for an employee, please contact your HR Business Partner

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How should employees who are on leave during the review process handle reviews?

HR works with managers to ensure all employees receive feedback. Those on leave will receive feedback during the appropriate feedback cycle upon returning from leave.

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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.

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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 signing off on the final evaluation. However, managers are encouraged to seek input from others that you may collaborate with or support in performing your job duties.  In addition, the second-level manager is expected to review all the appraisals 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?

If your manager/supervisor has not initiated the goal-setting process, you should begin by scheduling time with your manager/supervisor to discuss it. Setting and evaluating performance goals and expectations is an interactive process.

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

There is no current process to review your manager/supervisor.  However, there is a feedback section in STEP with a question that provides an opportunity for you to give feedback to your manager/supervisor on how they are supporting you.  If you have items that you wish to discuss and are not comfortable discussing with your manager/supervisor,  please contact your HR Business Partner.

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

In STEP we continue to use a rating system with 5 levels  for employees. The definitions have been updated and are as follows:

Outstanding
Consistently role models and exhibits mastery of core job knowledge and functions, responsibilities, and continually proposes enhancement recommendations in current job and new work opportunities; Consistently produces exceptionally high quality work exceeding expectations on all goals within control, in planned timelines. Consistently seeks value-added opportunities for new responsibilities and challenges; Demonstrates superior interpersonal skills, is respected by others, and is sought after to participate in or lead projects and work groups.

Exceeds Expectations
Very high level of contribution; Consistently performed above and beyond all defined expectations.
Solid Performance
Consistently demonstrates core job knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively perform job functions. May occasionally exceed expected performance; Consistently achieves all goals within control, in planned timelines; Shares ideas, information, skills, and knowledge; listens and is responsive to manager and others; maintains a positive attitude.

Solid Performance
Consistently demonstrates core job knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively perform job functions. May occasionally exceed expected performance; Consistently achieves all goals within control, in planned timelines; Shares ideas, information, skills, and knowledge; listens and is responsive to manager and others; maintains a positive attitude.

Development Needed/New and Learning
Performance expectations partially met; Moderate level of contribution; Some critical goals completed; Achievement below expectations; Improvement needed in the position; New in position, developing appropriately; Performance was good given time in the position

Needs Attention
Does not consistently demonstrate core job knowledge and competencies required to perform job functions effectively; Fails to consistently achieve expected goals, within control, in planned timelines; Does not consistently demonstrate interest in or ability to collaborate and share information with others to deliver results; Additional training or commitment is required.

Please reach out to your manager or HR Business Partner to get further information on the rating system.

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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.  User guides, timelines, video and additional resources can be found on Performance Appraisal Learning Resources page.

For additional questions or if you have issues accessing your document contact your HR Business Partner or email STEP@ucop.edu

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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.

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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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What if I was promoted this year, do I still complete the performance appraisal?

Anyone promoted after January 1, 2021 will need to complete the 2020/2021 performance appraisal.

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What if I transferred from another Campus?

Transfers from campus after January 1, 2021 will need to complete the 2020/2021 performance appraisal in Halogen.

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Who can help me if I have questions?

You may contact your supervisor or HR Business Partner, or check the Human Resources Performance Appraisal Resource website. 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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Do we have to complete a performance evaluation every quarter now??

The goal of STEP is to promote more frequent feedback and coaching conversations between manager/supervisors and employees. Some of the quarterly checkpoints may be optional but encouraged. A STEP conversation is designed to be similar to a typical one-on-one meeting with less focus on the written narrative and greater focus on the discussion.

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How do I compare evaluations in the same department if competencies are not the same for everyone?        

Performance discussions are not intended to be comparative amongst team members. Each employee should be evaluated individually with competencies selected based on role or developmental need.

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Who gets to choose the competencies that will be evaluated?

Employees and manager/supervisors will receive training on how to select competencies. Employees will select 2-3 competencies during the Define Criteria stage and manager/supervisors may decide to change them or to approve them as selected by the employee. Competencies will not be evaluated individually but will be considered as part of the overall rating during the manager/supervisor Evaluation at the Final Checkpoint.

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How much time will the quarterly checkpoint take?

Quarterly checkpoints should take about an hour consistent with a typical manager/supervisor, employee one-on-one meeting.

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What time period does STEP cover?

March 31 through April 1. Goals may be completed within the year or carry over to the following year(s).

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What kind of follow up can I expect on the feedback I give about how my manager/supervisor is supporting me?

The feedback discussion in STEP is designed to facilitate an open dialog between a manager/supervisor and employee. Part of the discussion should be to arrive at agreed upon actions that each person will take based on the conversation. If you have concerns about the discussion, please reach out to your HR Business Partner

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Won't this just make us spend even more time on performance evaluations? In the past it has been very time-consuming.

STEP was designed to increase flexibility and streamline the process. The narrative for goals and competencies should be brief and written in bullet-point format. The majority of the time spent at each checkpoint should focus on the feedback questions and discussion. By reporting goal progress quarterly, the lengthy narrative at the end of the year is eliminated as each quarter the comments will carryover.

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How much is enough to write in a quarterly check-in?

There is no prescription for how much to write in preparation for a checkpoint meeting. We recommend that you update your goals and competencies in a brief, bullet-point format and more narrative on the discussion questions as needed. This is your opportunity to share your accomplishments, ask for help and provide some upward feedback to your manager/supervisor.

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What do I do with the feedback of the quarterly checkpoint?

You may contact your supervisor or HR Business Partner, or check the Human Resources Performance Appraisal Resource website. 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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Will the increased frequency of checkpoints in STEP result in micro-management?

The focus of STEP is to facilitate performance discussions between manager/supervisors and employees. When the design workgroup was surveying UCOP employees to help shape the new process, employees overwhelmingly expressed a desire for more feedback from their manager/supervisor. The quarterly conversations should be viewed as an opportunity to touch base, provide/receive an update, recognize performance and make corrections if needed. There is no rating until the final checkpoint.

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Does the final checkpoint (year end evaluation) include all the competencies from the past year even if they have changed?

Yes. The comments from each of the checkpoints will carry over.

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Will my department require me to use certain competencies?

STEP was designed to be flexible. The competencies are determined by the employee and their manager/supervisor. Any required competencies may be required at a Divisional or Departmental level and is up to that Division/Department to decide. This may change from year to year.

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Is the end goal of STEP different from the past performance evaluation process?

You may contact your supervisor or HR Business Partner, or check the Human Resources Performance Appraisal Resource website. 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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How are goals evaluated in a quarterly checkpoint? What if they aren't finished?

Goals are not evaluated in a quarterly checkpoint. Goals may be completed within a quarter, a performance year or may carryover to a new performance year - this is part of the built-in flexibility of STEP. A checkpoint is a status update and a feedback discussion. There is only one overall performance rating that occurs at the end of the performance year.

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Will we need to solicit multi-rater feedback for each checkpoint?

Multi-rater participants may be nominated at any point in STEP and may be identified by either the manager/supervisor or the employee. It is up to the manager/supervisor to approve all of the nominations and send out the request for feedback. manager/supervisors will be responsible for integrating any multi-rater feedback into the final manager/supervisor evaluation.

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What do I do if my final checkpoint/Manager evaluation is very different from the quarterly discussions I have been having with my manager?

STEP is a continuous process with quarterly opportunities for feedback so there should be no surprises at the final checkpoint. First, should have this discussion with your manager to better understand the gaps. If after that discussion, you still feel their are discrepancies, please discuss with your HR Business Partner.

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Does STEP do anything new to help me with career advancement?

When STEP is successful you will receive honest and constructive feedback about your performance. The discussions you have with your manager/supervisor may provide opportunities to discuss career advancement and any skills or knowledge you need to develop depending on your aspirations. Selecting competencies that are developmental in nature may also help you build skills that drive towards career success.

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