Managing Employee Performance: Performance Evaluation and Other Forms of Feedback

Who do I contact for assistance?
Melissa Koval (HRIS Data Analyst) 6-2115 or Chris Meade, (Assoc Director, Employee & Labor Relations) 6-2965

Introduction

Research has shown that employees desire and need ongoing feedback from supervisors in order to be successful in the job for which they were hired, and annual performance evaluations are only part of the picture. Regularly communicating expectations, praising good work, and responding quickly to lapses in performance not only help keep an employee on track but also infer that the employee "matters" to the organization and that his/her work is valued. Many studies have shown that employees place high value (even over pay) on appreciation for work done. The practice of giving regular feedback to employees is a powerful supervisory method for managing performance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is it necessary to conduct performance evaluations, particularly if my employee does all that I request and does it well?

Annual performance evaluations for classified employees are now required under article 54 of the OUS-SEIU Collective Bargaining Agreement. Original (signed) evaluations are sent to Human Resources for placement within the official personnel file as part of the employee's permanent record.

The true purpose of a performance evaluation however is communication: this yearly process allows supervisors the opportunity to provide feedback, recognize good performance, correct deficiencies, and define objectives for the coming year. Most employees want to know how they are performing, and performance evaluation encourages employee/ supervisor dialog.

2. Performance evaluations are annual. What about the rest of the year?

An employee's success on the job frequently depends on the supervisor providing clear expectations and regular, ongoing feedback. Supervisors are encouraged to offer day-to-day comments to their employees regarding performance and to acknowledge employees regularly for their efforts. While UO has a wide range of employee recognition options, individual departments are encouraged to create their own internal programs as well. Human Resources is glad to provide assistance if requested.

3. What resources are available if communications become difficult or break down completely between me and my employee(s)?

There are a number of resources available to help you in this area:

  • The Employee Relations Manager can advise you on ways to communicate effectively in a particularly challenging situation.
  • Human Resources offers a number of training sessions on carrying out difficult communications.
  • The Employee Assistance Program is available to advise you either by phone or in person on how to deliver a difficult message or handle a sensitive, emotional confrontation.
  • If necessary, a campus-based mediation service is also available.

It is worth mentioning that the performance evaluation is not to be used as a vehicle for "getting the attention" of an employee by introducing a problem or for disciplinary reasons; an employee's evaluation is a summary of the year's events and should not include performance information not previously discussed at some point during the past year. In other words, there should be no surprises at performance appraisal time.

4. What if the employee fails to improve even after I have outlined the problems and provided clear expectations?

The formal process of spelling out employee performance deficiencies or behavioral problems is called progressive discipline and is outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. It is outlined in greater detail in the section in this guide on collective bargaining agreements.

5. What can I do on a day-to-day basis?

  • Notice and acknowledge situations where employees are doing things correctly ("Catch them doing something right" - One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard)
  • Give recognition and praise regularly.
  • Clearly describe behavior that deserves recognition and why.
  • Express personal appreciation for the manner in which the employee's performance supports the your department's objectives or mission.
  • Ask if you can assist employees with any job-related problems, and then follow through on their concerns.