Human Resources

Willamette University Performance Management

Annual evaluations are an important part of on-going communications between managers and employees, and Willamette University believes strongly in performance evaluation and feedback as a means to improve both job satisfaction and performance. The forms and resources below are intended to facilitate both annual and ongoing feedback.

Annual reviews are performed on a "uniform-date" basis for all employees who have been employed at least 10 months as of the end of the performance focus period, which is June 1 to May 31 (new as of Spring 2010). For those employees who have been employed less than 10 months, supervisors may choose to provide a short-year evaluation. Administrators should receive a "feedback circle" evaluation once every three years.

New employees should receive a six-month review in the last month of the six-month "initial employment period". The six-month review can simply be provided in summary format in a letter or memo to the employee and copied to Human Resources. If performance expectations are not being met, supervisors may extend the initial employment period. If such an action is taken, it should be communicated prior to the end of the first six months of employment.

Self-Evaluation

To start the process, managers should request that the employee complete a self evaluation to incorporate into the feedback process.  Self-reflection is an important part of the review process and can help facilitate an honest dialog about areas of excellence and those that need improvement.  The "Performance Conversations" Self-Evaluation is intended to provide a structure means of collaboratively working on improvement.  It asks the employee to define three areas of excellence and three areas for improvement.  The third section should be completed together with the supervisor, collaboratively working on three goals for the year that can be focused on for the coming year. 

Administrative (Exempt) Staff Evaluation Forms

*Note, this is just a sample document to assist managers in conducting required "feedback circle" or "peer" evaluations for administrators once every three years. Managers may utilize more simplified procedures for obtaining peer feedback, but this document should help construct a framework for the process. HR can assist supervisors in performing a 360 degree review electronically upon request. 

Classified (Non-Exempt) Staff Evaluation Forms

Student Employees

While student employment is subject to frequent change, student employees make substantial contributions to the work we do at Willamette.  Student employment is also a significant part of the educational experience students receive here at Willamette.  For many students, working at Willamette is the first job they have ever had and providing student employees with a realistic, rewarding, and educational job experience is yet another opportunity for us all to contribute to the excellent education Willamette students receive.  While conducting performance reviews of student employees is not required, it can be a valuable exercise for the student employee to experience a performance review, receiving feedback on actual performance so that they can see where they have excelled and where they have needs for improvement, particularly on basic employability factors.  To this end, following is performance evaluation form for student employment that should work for most student positions:

Providing Ongoing Feedback

Where possible, supervisors should make a practice of providing feedback throughout the year. The best way to accomplish this is by scheduling regular meetings (biweekly, monthly, or quarterly). Where departments are large, it may be impractical to schedule each employee for a performance mee on a regular basis. In such cases, providing "ad hoc" feedback when and where good or poor performance is witnessed becomes more important. 

Whether you schedule regular feedback meetings or provide feedback as the opportunity presents itself, keeping a performance activity log for each of your employees can go a long way toward helping you when the time comes to complete annual evaluations. It is unrealistic and can be unfair to the employee you are evaluating to rely on your memory of the past year's events. It is often said that nothing that appears in a performance evaluation should come as a surprise to the employee being reviewed. Documenting what you see throughout the year and documenting the occasions where you have communicated with the employee about performance matters is an important management responsibility. 

The following sample Performance Activity Log ("PAL") can be helpful to you in documenting and communicating performance observations through the year so that there are no surprises.

Performance Management Actions

From time to time it becomes necessary to provide formal counseling on employee performance issues, actions, or behaviors. Such performance issues generally fall into two categories: 1) Policy Violations  2) Sub-standard performance.  When incidents occur that fall under one of these categories, it is important for supervisors to discuss the issue/behavior/action that is of concern as soon as possible with the employee. For more serious incidents, the discussion should happen immediately. For more ongoing and continuing behaviors that are problematic, discussions can be more methodical and discussed at the next regular meeting. Of course, if further information is needed to confirm the situation, a longer time may be needed.

When performance management actions are taken, it is important to document the action. Use of the following form is proscribed for all documented "disciplinary" employment actions.  In some cases where it is only a first warning, this form may be used to document a verbal warning and maintained in the supervisor's folder for his/her employee. However, in cases of a formal written warning, the form should be copied to Human Resources to be included in the employee's personnel file.

Disciplinary/Counseling Report

For more deliberate and long term corrective measures, a "performance plan" may be more appropriate than a disciplinary counseling, which tends to be used more for occassions of willful misconduct or other singular behaviors that are problematic.  Where performance issues are more ongoing concerns, a performance plan that you construct to help the employee become successful may be the way to go.  A "performance plan" is typically used only after less formal feedback has not resulted in needed change.  The following form is not required for such actions, but is a preferred outline:

Performance Plan

As always, Human Resources is here to help supervisors who are facing performance challenges or violations among their staff. Please don't hesitate to call on us to schedule an appointment for assistance at ext. 6210. In addition, the University has an Employee Assistance Program which provides unlimited supervisory consultations in addressing employee performance issues. Please don't hesitate to call on Cascade Centers EAP for help at (800) 433-2320.

Employee Records

While Willamette does not preclude managers from maintaining their own employee records within the department, it should be noted that any records you maintain in such files are part of the official university "personnel file".  Since these records are part of the employee's Personnel File, if requested, you must provide the employee with access to this file. When an employee leaves, these files should be sent to Human Resources to be stored with the primary personnel file as a part of the former employee's record. Acceptable items to maintain in the employee's in-department file include copies of performance evaluations, a Performance Activity Log, notes regarding discussions related to performance or other matters related to employment, awards and accomplishments, notes from customers about interactions/performance, attendance information, and copies of WeRoc recognition or other official recognition. Under no circumstances should doctors notes or any other information of a medical nature be maintained in these files. Such information should be forwarded to Human Resources to be maintained in a separate folder that is intended for information that should not be in a Personnel File (ie. leave of absence information, benefits information, accident information, etc.).