University of Vermont

Human Resource ServicesĀ and Operations

Banner Navigation
    Loading
Performance Appraisal Process

The Performance Review Process

What is a Performance Review?

The performance review is a communication tool designed to support each individual's contribution to the University. The review provides a way to measure skills and accomplishments with reasonable accuracy and uniformity. It provides a way to help identify obstacles to top performance. It should help identify areas for professional growth. It should not, however, be considered the supervisor's only communication tool. Open lines of communication throughout the year help to make effective working relationships.

Each employee is entitled to a thoughtful and careful review. Its success depends on the supervisor's willingness to complete a constructive and objective assessment, and on the employee's willingness to respond to constructive criticism and to work with the supervisor to overcome performance barriers.

A performance review should be a discussion of an employee's performance of assigned duties and responsibilities. The review is based on results obtained by the employee in his/her/their job, not on the employee's personality characteristics.

This performance review is composed of two forms, the Employee Performance Appraisal form, and the Self-Assessment form which are found in the Forms section of the HRS web site. The supervisor completes one form while the employee completes the other concurrently. By completing the evaluation at the same time, both the supervisor and the employee have an opportunity to review performance separately, then in conference. While the employee is not required to complete a version, the appraisal process can be enriched with full participation.

The supervisor and employee meet together to discuss the completed forms. The employee and supervisor must sign the form to indicate the review has been discussed and that the employee has received a copy of the form. Signing the review form does not mean that the employee agrees with the appraisal; it only means the supervisor has discussed the appraisal with the employee. The employee receives a copy, a copy is retained by the department, and the original is sent to Human Resource Services (HRS). The performance review becomes a part of the employee's permanent record. The self-assessment may become part of the employee's record if the employee wishes.

If the employee refuses to sign the appraisal, the supervisor should state in the signature portion of the form the circumstances associated with the employee's refusal to sign and then forward the form to HRS.

In rare cases, a supervisor may prefer not to have a copy of the appraisal included in the employee's central personnel file. In that case, the supervisor should send a letter to the HRS to explain the situation. The letter must contain a statement signed by the employee that indicates the agreement. A copy of this letter will be put in the employee's file. If the employee later terminates employment with the University, the original appraisal should be sent to HRS or destroyed.

Why Review Performance?

Periodic review helps supervisors gain a better understanding of each employee's abilities with the goal to help train and develop skills and strengths. It provides a chance to evaluate job progress, stimulate interest and improve job performance by recognizing productive work and by pointing out areas of growth and development. It provides a feedback mechanism that might otherwise be overlooked.

When Is It Completed?

A supervisor is asked to complete a performance appraisal for each employee once a year. You may complete appraisals at other times of the year. For example, an appraisal may be used in evaluating an employee completing a probationary period.

Who is Responsible for Completing the Review Form?

The employee's immediate supervisor completes the review form. The immediate supervisor assigns and directs the employee's work, checks work for proper methods and results, is responsible for correction of performance problems, and is immediately responsible for the work of the employee. Some departments may want the completed review form reviewed by the next level supervisor (the reviewer). Space is provided on the last page for signature and comments by the reviewer. This review should be done before the appraisal is discussed with the employee.

Pre-Appraisal Meeting

  1. The supervisor and employee meet to discuss the two forms, review the criteria for appraisal, and establish a point of mutual departure.
  2. They schedule a meeting allowing sufficient time to prepare and select a time when neither is under great pressure. Consider reserving a room that is neutral ground, not an office where interruptions could occur.
  3. The supervisor and employee complete their reviews separately. Allow five working days for this process.

Completion of the Review Form

Supervisor's Instructions:

Before completing the review, familiarize yourself with all aspects of the process. To properly complete the performance review form, it is essential that you thoroughly understand the duties and requirements of the position held by the employee. Therefore you should review the Position Description for the position. If you do not have a copy, obtain one from your HR Representative.

After reviewing the Position Description, complete the review form, keeping in mind the following:

  • Be objective. Eliminate personal prejudice and feelings of favoritism.
  • Consider each factor independently. Do not assume that excellence in one factor implies excellence in all factors or that poor performance in one factor implies poor performance in each factor.
  • Base your review on observed performance during the rating period, not on what is expected in the future.
  • Evaluate overall performance throughout the entire rating period. Do not base the ratings only on significant successes and failures. These should be considered in context with the total performance .
  • Consider various aspects of the employee's performance that you want to discuss with the employee. The review process should serve as a stimulus for better communication between you and the employee.
  • Consider your evaluation in terms of the employee's present duties, not in terms of the duties of a higher or lower classification.
  • A relatively new employee's performance may be appraised in light of recency in the position.
  • The review should reflect your fair judgment of an employee's work performance.
  • Make helpful suggestions and provide adequate instruction. Be prepared to discuss these items.

Procedure:

First, complete the mission statement section with your departmental or divisonal mission. This helps to place individual performance in relation to the central purpose of the work group.

Part I. State goals specific to the individual during the asssessment period. Describe the extent to which the person has accomplished the goals, and particular achievements in relation to the goal. Note areas for growth.

Next, consider future goals that may be accomplished in the next assessment period. Describe what the objective would be, and consider resources and support that might be required for successful completion. The goals, objectives and resources should be negotiable with the employee during the appraisal meeting.

Part II. Next, performance is described in established categories. The standard is defined and the supervisor writes a narrative description of the employee's performance in relation to the standard. This feature requires a thoughtful assessment. When criticism is necessary, it should be constructive and offer ideas for improvement.

Part III. Provide overall performance comments. When criticism is necessary, make it constructive and offer ways to improve performance. A review with comments by your division or department head may be added at this time.



Employee's Instructions

Before completing the self-assessment review, read it carefully to familiarize yourself with its scope and nature.

  • Self assessment provides you with the opportunity to step away from your job and consider your performance with fresh insight.
  • Be positive and open. While we all have the tendency to be overly critical of ourselves, this self-assessment is meant to bring out your positive qualities and consider areas for improvement.
  • In the same spirit, give constructive criticism to your supervisor when it applies. When you cite an area that needs attention, offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Take sufficient time to complete your self-assessment. It is one of the best opportunities you have to freely discuss your work with your supervisor.

Procedure

Part I: The employee's self-assessment form prepares you for the appraisal conference. Complete the first part by comparing your performance to the standard in each category.

Part II: Describes accomplishments, specific steps leading to growth and improvement, individual goals and training during the rating period and ideas for the coming year. Provide an appraisal of the supervisor as a support and resource for your continued success and identify any obstacles standing in the way of successful performance of the job. By sharing this assessment with your supervisor, you may communicate openly and constructively about your aspirations and frustrations with the work.

Before the Appraisal Meeting

Before you meet together for the actual review, plan to ensure that the evaluation discussion is properly conducted.

  • Schedule a meeting date allowing both of you sufficient time to prepare. Select a time when you are not under great pressure. Consider reserving a room that is neutral ground, not an office where interruptions could occur.
  • Decide beforehand what you want to accomplish in the conference.
  • If you are angry or upset, postpone the meeting to a more appropriate time.

The Review Meeting

Discussion of the completed review form is the most important part of the process. Make sure you have time for the interview and that you consider it a priority. This is meant to be a constructive and cooperative process of two-way communication with primary emphasis on development and growth. To help create such a tone and setting, consider these suggestions:

  • Ask questions and listen. Be open-minded to the information and opinions present.
  • Discuss strengths. This will sustain and reinforce high performance.
  • Make criticism constructive. When you point out a weakness, offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Consider each other's point of view. Remember each person will respond differently in review meeting.
  • Keep comments job-centered. Avoid discussing personality unless it adversely affects job performance or your unit's operation.
  • Schedule a follow-up session if necessary.

Use of Another Form

If these appraisal forms are not appropriate for your use, you may request permission from HRS to use a different form. You may design your own form or use one from another area; however, it must be approved by HRS (656-3150).

The proposed form must meet the following guidelines:

  • The criteria for evaluation must be job related.
  • The form must provide an opportunity to discuss training and educational needs of the employee.
  • The questions on the form must not discriminate against any employee because of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or age.
  • If the employee has supervisory responsibilities, the employee must be evaluated on their support of the Affirmative Action Program.

You may include on the form a qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation, goals and objectives for the coming year, and review of previous goals and objectives.

Summary

The purpose of the performance review is to provide a scheduled opportunity for you to communicate on a one-to-one basis. These discussions should not be restricted to a formal annual review however. Frequent communication is desirable and essential to good management and helps maintain good performance throughout the year.

If you would like additional information about this process, e-mail the Human Resources Information Center or call 656-3150. 

Last modified February 09 2016 02:24 PM