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Staff Performance Appraisal Process

Annual performance appraisals for non-exempt staff are due on February 28. Annual performance appraisals for exempt staff are due on March 30. The instructions and link to the on-line performance appraisal form are located on the Employee Relations and Engagement website at

Click on the topics below to read performance appraisal tips provided at a CAS Staff Professional Development Workshop on February 8, 2012. The guest panelists for the workshop were:

  • Ann Harbor, Director of Administration for Academic Affairs
  • Will Thompson, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies
  • Margie Williamson, Director of Employee Relations and Engagement


Why the performance appraisal process is important

The performance appraisal

  • Informs the employee about the quality of his or her job performance
  • Clarifies goals and expectations as job responsibilities and procedures change
  • Provides official documentation of communications between employee and supervisor
  • May be used by internal and external offices during the separation process

Tracking employee accomplishments throughout the year
  • A record of accomplishments and performance issues should be kept by both the employee and supervisor
  • Record keeping should be a year long process
  • Supervisors should engage the employees’ participation in setting goals and developmental opportunities
  • Before the evaluation, supervisors should ask employees to submit a list of accomplishments achieved throughout the year and goals for the upcoming year

Composing the evaluation narrative
  • Try to avoid using the same comments as the previous year
  • Be specific --use concrete examples both for praise and for areas needing improvement
  • Recommendations for improvement will be received better if stated in a positive manner
  • Remember to review goals set during the previous evaluation period and address progress towards those goals

Creating an appropriate environment for the face-to-face meeting
  • Select a neutral space that provides a comfortable, non-threatening setting
  • Move to a conference room or other quiet area to avoid distractions such as ringing phones and walk-in traffic
  • Be flexible--allow the employee to select the time and place for the meeting
  • Combine the evaluation with a lunch or a walk around campus

Incorporating goal-setting into the evaluation process
  • Goal-setting should be an ongoing process throughout the year
  • Encourage the employee to set individual goals
  • Goals should be realistic (achievable) and limited in number
  • Use the face-to-face meeting to formalize what the employee and supervisor can do to develop employee growth
  • Promote professional develop by identifying training and meetings the employee should attend
  • Utilize the Performance Management Worksheet to document expectations

Keeping the employee focused on the important message instead of obsessing over the scores
  • Positive feedback should be addressed first, then discuss where improvements are needed
  • Be prepared to provide an explanation for a questionable score
  • Award the appropriate score based on the employee’s performance
  • Avoid the ‘halos and horns’ syndrome by referring to the documentation accumulated over the year rather than just what happened most recently
  • The supervisor and employee should decide which categories of the evaluation are most important

Delivering suggestions for improvement effectively
  • Pay attention to your phrasing--use non-threatening words
  • Use a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • Be sensitive to generational differences in how employees may hear recommendations for improvement
  • Use encouraging comments in your written appraisal and the face-to-face meeting

Handling someone who gets upset and emotional during an evaluation meeting
  • Remain in control of the meeting
  • Appropriate humor can sometimes defuse a tense situation
  • Stop and reschedule if the employee is too distraught to continue

Recommended reading:

The Performance Appraisal Handbook: Legal & Practical Rules for Managers by Amy Delpo.  Copies are available for checkout from the Dean's office.



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Last Updated: 1/14/13