Performance Evaluations

The performance management process is a partnership between the supervisor and the employee. As part of this partnership, performance evaluations are a necessary and beneficial process which provides an opportunity for supervisors to provide feedback to employees regarding job performance. The performance evaluation is intended to be a fair and balanced assessment of an employee's actual performance during the review period.

Supervisors are responsible for recognizing and rewarding excellent performance and providing coaching and feedback where needed to improve performance deficiencies.

Learn more about rating an employee.

Online Performance Management Tool

All performance management plans should be created using the online performance management tool, which is available through Hokie SPA. After logging into Hokie SPA, click Hokie Team and then Performance Planning and Evaluation Tool. Users have the option to create or edit a performance plan or evaluation or update their plan and evaluation status.


Several tutorials and narrated presentations have been prepared to guide users through the system and process.

Customized on-site training is available. For more information contact Rodney Irvin, director of employee relations, at 540-231-5303.

Additional considerations

The meeting with an employee to discuss the performance evaluation is an opportunity to build the supervisor-employee partnership, for the supervisor to demonstrate interest in the employee’s progress and development and an opportunity for the employee to discuss his/her interests and any job-related problems. Performance evaluation meetings can cause anxiety for both parties.


  • Schedule uninterrupted time for discussing the evaluation. This is an important conversation with the employee. Make sure there is privacy and there are no interruptions (no phone calls, visitors, etc.).
  • Make sure there are no surprises. If the supervisor has done a good job of providing feedback during the performance cycle and has provided the employee with all relevant documentation for the self-evaluation, there should be no major surprises when the evaluation is reviewed.
  • Anticipate possible employee reactions. Think about and rehearse responses. Supervisors should consider receiving help thinking through and role playing responses if they anticipate a difficult meeting with an employee.
  • Break the ice. While performance evaluation meetings may not be the supervisor’s favorite management responsibility, the employee is likely to be nervous, too. If the supervisor initially takes the lead in the conversation, breaking the ice with small talk, it may ease the tension.
  • Be specific. The employee should not have to guess the meaning behind what is said.
  • Share the conversation. Once the supervisor has broken the ice, allow the employee time to talk. The supervisor should check that s/he understands what the employee is saying.
    • Supervisors should not raise their voices or become angry. It is human nature that if one person raises his/her voice the person he/she is talking to does the same. In psychology, this is called mirroring. Supervisors can use it to their advantage by lowering the volume of their voice if the employee raises his/hers.
    • Acknowledge the employee’s frustration/anger.
    • If necessary, take a break. If tempers flare, it is probably more effective to end the meeting with a statement such as, “We are having difficulty talking calmly to one another right now. Let’s take a break. We can schedule a time tomorrow or the next day to continue our discussion.”
  • Understand that pauses in the conversation may occur. Silence is okay.
  • Redirect efforts quickly if conversation strays off topic.
  • Focus on the issue, not the person. Work on problem resolution vs. assigning fault or defending an opinion
  • Do not make promises that cannot be kept.
  • Close the conversation on a positive note. Even if the employee’s performance has been rated “Unacceptable” and the meeting has been difficult, a supervisor can say something like “We have 90 days to turn this situation around. I will work with you to help you be successful.”
  • Don't forget the signatures.
    • The employee signs and dates the evaluation to acknowledge receipt.
    • Signature does not imply agreement with the evaluation.
    • If the employee refuses to sign, the supervisor can sign it, making a note that the evaluation was given to the employee on X date and s/he refused to sign.

In evaluating performance, it is important to always compare actual performance to the performance standards as determined during the Performance Planning stage. To be fair and objective, a performance evaluation must be based on the employee’s job-related behavior, not on the employee’s personal traits or other factors not related to the job. It is also important to make sure the evaluation is submitted complete with all required signatures and supporting documentation. Learn more about evaluation errors.

In order to include employees on leave in the calibration process, Supervisors need to complete draft evaluations for all employees, including those on extended leave. Learn more.