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Supervisor resources

Performance management

Performance management is the systematic process that a manager applies to involve employees in accomplishing a unit’s mission and goals, improve overall unit effectiveness, and help employees understand the importance of their contributions. Effective performance management requires that the manager:

  • Identify the job duties that each employee is expected to accomplish.
  • Communicate the competencies (job knowledge and job skills) necessary to be successful in a position.
  • Ensure that employees have the required competencies, or that there is a process and plan by which they can acquire them.
  • Provide timely feedback on how effectively employees are applying job knowledge and skills to achieve the goals established for their position.
  • Reward effective performance.

In the event that performance does not meet established requirements, the manager must understand the corrective processes and methods that can help improve employee performance. In the College of Engineering, a manager may supervise professional staff, classified staff covered by one or more collective bargaining agreements, classified staff covered by civil service rules, and temporary employees. While performance management principles are the same for all employees, the manager should be familiar with the performance requirements that apply to the employment programs.

Establish job expectations

Ensure each employee has an up-to-date job description. Employees should have an opportunity to review their job description and obtain clarification on any elements they may not understand.

Develop a list of competencies for each position. If you find that some employees do not possess all of the competencies their position requires, develop training goals so that the desired level of competency can be achieved.

Be sure your employees understand the measures and/or methods you use to determine how well they are achieving the goals established for them.

Provide feedback

It is important that feedback be timely. Acknowledge good work just as readily as you would address work that needs improvement. It can be easy to take good performance for granted and only point out problems. Employees appreciate balance, honesty, and fairness.

On an annual basis, comprehensively review your employees’ performance. An annual review is an opportunity to accomplish the following:

  1. Sum up an overall assessment of the quality of work from the previous year.
  2. Identify goals that have been met and those where additional effort may be required.
  3. Determine whether the employee’s job description and competencies accurately reflect the reality of the position, and make updates as necessary.
  4. Identify performance, achievement and/or development goals for the upcoming year.
  5. Make sure the employee has an opportunity to provide input before the review is finalized.

The annual review should be finalized, then reviewed and signed by the employee. The format of the review and its level of detail depend on the nature of the employee’s position and the employment program.

Performance management process summary

  Process Evaluation Form
Classified Staff (non-union) APS 43.14 Performance Management Policy for Classified Non-Union Staff At least annually Performance Evaluation Template
Classified Staff (union) See performance evaluation in the appropriate UW labor contract. At least annually Performance Evaluation Template
Professional Staff See Professional Staff Program. At least annually

A current performance evaluation (completed within the previous 12 months) is required to support recommendations for merit salary adjustments and in-grade or grade change salary increases.
Performance Evaluation - Conversation Approach - Professional Staff

Performance Evaluation - Structured Approach - Professional Staff

Unsatisfactory performance

If an employee’s job performance is not satisfactory and normal coaching, counseling and training have not brought performance to an acceptable level, corrective action may be necessary. Classified non-union staff, contract classified staff, and professional staff employment programs each have their own processes and requirements, which supervisors should be familiar with before initiating corrective action.

If you believe that some form of corrective action may be appropriate, contact the Department Administrator for advice in your implementation of performance management practices.

Additional resources

The following are additional resources for supervisors:

Rewarding and recognizing employees

Taking time to applaud valuable contributions builds community and stronger teams in the process. Recognition that comes from a manager or from a peer are equally important. When staff demonstrate excellence, integrity, innovation, diversity, and respect, it’s time to congratulate them on a job well done.

Some ways to reward or thank employees include:

  • Time off (rules depend on job classification)
  • Take out to lunch or coffee
  • Personal thank you note
  • Public recognition
  • Increased responsibility or cross-training
  • Nominate for award

It is important to know your employees and provide benefits or rewards they value. If you are unsure, talk to your employee and ask them how you can reward them for a job well done.


Voluntary separation (resignation)

If an employee is resigning, they must:

  • Provide a resignation letter
    • Letter must include final day of work and the reason for separation.
    • Provide a copy of the letter to the Department Administrator (hard copy or electronic copy accepted)
    • This documentation is a required element of the personnel file.
  • Return building keys and other departmental assets.
  • Ensure files to be used by successor or teammates are accessible or moved to a shared drive.

Involuntary resignation (layoff)

If you are considering a lay-off separation due to reorganization, lack of funds, or other reasons:

  • Notify the Department Administrator two months prior to the effective date.
  • This timeframe allows for HR approval and required 30-day employee notification.

Termination for cause

Termination of employment can occur when:

  • An employee has not improved performance or behavior in response to corrective action.
  • An employee has engaged in serious misconduct, including (but not limited to) violation of university policy, illegal activity, workplace violence, theft, fraud, neglect of duty or absence without authorization.

Contact the Department Administrator immediately regarding performance management or misconduct issues. Termination for cause must be reviewed by the College of Engineering HR Director and central UW HR.