Performance reviews are a two-way dialogue between supervisor and employee to discuss performance over the last year and set goals for the coming year. They are required annually and are designed to improve job quality, work performance and provide an opportunity to discuss possible development options.
The Policy Manual provides more details about performance review philosophy and policy in the Performance Review for University Staff section.
5 Tips for Performance Reviews
In 2011, the University of Iowa’s Academic Advising Center earned national recognition from the National Academic Advising Association, NACADA, for exemplary practices in performance reviews. Below are five best practices that won their office acclaim as featured in the IowaNow article, Nationally recognized UI staff give 5 tips for performance reviews.
- Have conversations when they aren’t required: Fuel a year-round dialogue.
- Be transparent.
- Create a culture of teamwork and reflection.
- Create opportunities for growth and development.
- Solicit feedback about the process.
Essential Elements of the Performance Review
- A back-and-forth conversation between employee and supervisor
- Discuss the longer term, aspirations, development, etc.
- Discuss how the employees work relate to the units objectives and overall success.
- Discuss resource needs, the support employee would like from supervisor.
- Review last year’s performance
- Set goals for the upcoming year
Roles and Responsibilities for Supervisors and Employees
The approach to planning and establishing objectives and goals involves both the employee and the supervisor. Similarly, the performance review is a collaborative meeting.
Supervisors are responsible for:
- Ensuring the employee is aware of the responsibilities including universal competencies or WE CARE values of their position as may be summarized in a local job description;
- Helping the employee understand how their work aligns with the unit goals and the university’s goals;
- Serving as a coach and mentor to the employee in establishing goals and supporting their achievement; and
- Creating and sustaining a healthy, respectful, and productive work environment.
- Ensuring that the performance review conversation takes place enough in advance of the performance review deadline to allow the employee to ask questions and clarify all aspects of the performance review document before the review is signed by the employee.
Employees are responsible for:
- Having a thorough understanding of their position responsibilities and the expectations for their performance;
- Providing information for discussion with the supervisor relating to any changes in the current position description;
- Providing input on their performance and development goals;
- Understanding what constitutes “successful performance” in accomplishing objectives and goals and demonstrating institutional values;
- Understanding how their position and goals align with and contribute to the goals of the unit and the university;
- Communicating to the supervisor what information, resources, training, etc. may be needed to aid in their success;
- Asking questions to clarify information; and
- Being accountable for their own performance.
- HR or the supervisor notifies the employee when it is time to do the self-review.
- The employee updates their goal plan with progress notes and fills out the performance review form (P&S).
- The supervisor fills out the performance review form.
- The employee and supervisor meet. During the meeting the supervisor shares their comments.
- The supervisor modifies the comments if they believe it’s needed and then sends the form to the employee.
- The employee then has an opportunity to comment and finalizes the form. (Employees have 60 days after the campus performance review deadline - March 31 - to sign the review. If the review is not signed by the employee at this time, the review form will be uploaded to the employee's ePersonnel file in Self Service without the employee's signature.)
Supervisor: Preparing for the Meeting
- Set aside private time and place for a confidential face to face meeting.
- Ask the employee to reflect on the last year’s accomplishments and challenges and their goals for the upcoming year.
- Think about how you want to guide this employee.
- Consider what they are doing well, what they could do better and how they can grow in their role and in the organization.
- One feature of the performance review tool allows supervisors to solicit feedback about an employee's performance to receive feedback from direct reports - and others, as appropriate – for all staff who supervise others. Feedback can also be useful for non-supervisory staff. Best Practices for Requesting Feedback (pdf) provides some recommended practices for requesting feedback.
Staff: Preparing for the Meeting
- Prepare: Confirm the time and place of your evaluation. If your supervisor does not approach you about conducting a review, you can ask when the meeting will take place.
- Review: P&S staff may want to update their goal plan and enter comments in their performance review (these are private at this stage.) All staff could consider:
- Describe your goals/areas of emphasis for the past year.
- List your significant accomplishments from the past year.
- What were key obstacles in accomplishing your job responsibilities?
- What goals do you have for the next review period?
- What support do you need to achieve these goals? How can your supervisor help you be more effective?
- In what areas do you plan to grow and develop? How will you achieve this?
- Reflect: Consider your performance over the past year on all facets of your position. Have you been successful based on the criteria established?
Performance Review Forms
Performance Review Period
There is one annual performance review cycle for staff, which begins in mid-April and ends on March 31 of the following calendar year. Departments may establish internal deadlines prior to March 31 to facilitate the needs and plans of the departments.