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Chapter 7: Performance Management

Setting and clearly communicating performance standards and expectations, observing and providing feedback, and conducting appraisals enables you to achieve the best results through managing employee performance.

To begin the process, you and the employee will collaborate on the development of performance standards. You will develop a performance plan that directs the employee's efforts toward achieving specific results, to support organizational growth as well as the employee's professional growth. Discuss goals and objectives throughout the year, providing a framework to ensure employees achieve results through coaching and mutual feedback. At the end of the rating period, you will appraise the employee's performance against existing standards, and establish new goals together for the next rating period.

As the immediate supervisor, you play an important role; your closest interaction with the employee occurs at this level.


Observation and Feedback (Coaching)

Once performance objectives and standards are established and clearly communicated, you should observe employees' performance and provide feedback. You have a responsibility to recognize and reinforce strong performance by an employee, and identify and encourage improvement where it is needed. You provide informal feedback almost every day.

By observing and providing detailed feedback, you play a critical role in the employee's continued success and motivation to meet your performance expectations.

Coaching is a method of strengthening communication between you and the employee. It helps to shape performance and increase the likelihood that the employee's results will meet your expectations. Coaching sessions provide you and the employee the opportunity to discuss progress toward meeting mutually-established standards and goals. A coaching session focuses on one or two aspects of performance, rather than the total review that takes place in a performance evaluation.

Guiding Principles

Effective coaching can:

Key Elements of Coaching

To make your coaching session effective, you must understand the key elements of coaching:

Questions to Consider When Coaching

To provide effective feedback you must understand the elements of performance and analyze marginal performance. Keep these questions in mind:

Coaching Behaviors

To make the most of coaching the employee, remember to practice these coaching behaviors:

During the Coaching Session

If you conduct a coaching session to provide positive feedback to the employee, keep the following ideas in mind:

When you conduct a coaching session to improve performance, you may want to use the following format:

If your coaching session is conducted to address poor work habits such as continued tardiness, keep these steps in mind:

Follow-Up Discussion

To conduct a follow-up discussion, consider the following steps:

Other Resources

  • The Performance Management Program
  • Relevant personnel policies and collective bargaining agreements
  • UCSF Supervisory Certification Program including "Setting Performance Expectations", and "Coaching for Performance" at:  http://training.ucsf.edu/.
  • Performance Appraisal

    The campus carries out its mission through the individual and collective contributions of its employees. To do their best, staff members need to know that those contributions will be recognized and acknowledged. Overseeing performance and providing feedback is not an isolated event, but rather an ongoing process that takes place throughout the year. The performance appraisal is part of that process, and provides an excellent opportunity for you to communicate with the employee about past performance, evaluate the employee's job satisfaction, and make plans for the employee's future performance.

    Remember that the performance appraisal summarizes the employee's contributions over the entire appraisal period (usually one year). It is not a step in the disciplinary process. It may occur as often as you believe is necessary to acknowledge the employee for accomplishments and to plan together for improved performance.

    Guiding Principles

    The goal of the performance appraisal process is to help the employee feel:

    Preparing for the Appraisal

    Both you and the employee play an important role in creating a productive performance appraisal process. Here are some suggestions to get the employee involved:

    Conducting the Appraisal Discussion

    Continue the momentum you have established throughout the year with your ongoing dialog about performance. You want to set the tone for an open and productive discussion. Here are some steps you can take to make it as successful as possible:

    The Final Appraisal Document

    Record the results of your discussion on the performance appraisal form. Ask the employee to sign the form, and explain that this signature acknowledges discussion of the contents, not necessarily agreement with them. Route to your manager for final signatures and placement in the employee's departmental personnel file. Give a copy of the signed appraisal to the employee.

    Performance Standards

    Performance expectations are the basis for appraising employee performance. Written performance standards let you compare the employee's performance with mutually understood expectations and minimize ambiguity in providing feedback.

    Having performance standards is not a new concept; standards exist whether or not they are discussed or put in writing. When you observe an employee's performance, you usually make a judgment about whether that performance is acceptable. How do you decide what's acceptable and what's unacceptable performance? The answer to this question is the first step in establishing written standards.

    Standards identify a baseline for measuring performance. From performance standards, supervisors can provide specific feedback describing the gap between expected and actual performance.

    Guiding Principles

    Effective performance standards:

    Key Areas of Responsibility

    Write performance standards for each key area of responsibility on the employee's job description. The employee should participate actively in their development. Standards are usually established when an assignment is made, and they should be reviewed if the employee's job description is updated. The discussion of standards should include the criteria for achieving satisfactory performance and the proof of performance (methods you will use to gather information about work performance).

    Characteristics of Performance Standards

    Standards describe the conditions that must exist before the performance can be rated satisfactory. A performance standard should:

    Expressing Standards

    The terms for expressing performance standards are outlined below:

    Performance Measurements

    Since one of the characteristics of a performance standard is that it can be measured, you should identify how and where evidence about the employee's performance will be gathered. Specifying the performance measurements when the responsibility is assigned will help the employee keep track of his progress, as well as helping you in the future performance discussions.

    There are many effective ways to monitor and verify performance, the most common of which are:

    Training Resources

    UCSF Supervisory Certification Program including "Setting Performance Expectations", and "Coaching for Performance" at:  http://training.ucsf.edu/.