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Evaluations

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

A performance evaluation is a two-way interaction:

  • Supervisors: A supervisor is a mediator between the organizational interests and the interests of the individual. The purpose of the evaluation is to help the employee reflect on his or her progress, performance, and behavior in an open and honest discussion.
  • Employees: The contributions made by each of us are key to the success of the university. Performance evaluations provide a framework for professional development, recognition of the quality of work provided, and commitment to the mission and goals of the university. 

The following section provides more information regarding the Performance Evaluation process. 

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Employees

The performance evaluations cycle starts with a self-evaluation. You are not required to complete a self-evaluation; however, by doing so, you take an active role in the evaluation process. When preparing to do a self-evaluation, consider the following steps: 

  • Conduct a personal evaluation of performance against objectives and behaviors so far. 
  • Reflect upon the most important contributions you were expected to make to the university or department’s success. How were the objectives achieved, and how have you demonstrated the appropriate behaviors? When did you go “above and beyond” in a way that enhanced the performance of your department or unit? Were there missed opportunities when your results limited the overall success of others in your department or unit?
  • Consider professional development opportunities for the next performance cycle. What strengths can you use more frequently on the job? What competencies might you develop to improve your performance or prepare for future roles? How can your supervisor support your development?

University and classified staff complete their performance plans in the performance management tool housed in Hokie Spa. To access the tool, go to Hokie Spa >Hokie Team>Performance Planning and Evaluation Tool.

Note: Human Resources is piloting a new performance management system starting in November 2021. If your department is participating in the pilot, you will complete the performance plan in the new PageUp Performance Management System.

Virginia Tech uses an faculty activity report process to collect and manage information about faculty contributions including research and scholarship, creative works, teaching, extension, outreach, administrative and service activities. Each college or business unit is responsible for managing their own faculty performance management process. Faculty should contact their dean's or administrator's office for specifics regarding their college’s process and schedule. 

In the Performance Management and Planning Tool, the definitions provided for rating the Performance Goals and the definitions provided for use in the Overall Rating differ slightly. Additionally, in the Competencies section, ratings are identified by behaviors.

Model Performance: Very few employees will meet this standard for the Overall Rating.

  • Performance Goal definition: Outstanding performance that considerably and consistently exceeds expectations.
  • Overall Rating definition: Outstanding performance that results in extraordinary and exceptional accomplishments with significant contributions to goals of the organization, department, and/or senior management area.

Strong Performance: The majority of employees will meet this standard for the Overall Rating.

  • Performance Goal definition: Good, solid performance. Fully meets expectations and may, on occasion, exceed expectations in this area.
  • Overall Rating definition: Good, solid performance. Fulfills all position requirements and goals and may, on occasion, generate results above those expected of the position.

Developing Performance: Few employees will be at this level. Probationary employees should not be rated at this level unless they are not learning their job at the expected rate.

  • Performance Goal definition: May partially meet performance expectations but needs improvement. Steps to improve performance in this area must be clearly detailed in the Career Development Plan section.
  • Overall Rating definition: Performance leaves room for improvement.  Employee requires either additional development in deficient technical areas; or, may be a new hire requiring additional training; or, is not responding favorably to coaching for performance improvement.

Unacceptable Performance: Very few employees will be rated at this level. Supervisors should contact Employee Relations prior to giving an employee an overall rating of unnaceptable.

  • Performance Goal definition: Performance is well below an acceptable level in this area.  Steps to improve performance in this area must be clearly detailed in the Career Development Plan section.
  • Overall Rating definition:  Performance is well below the minimum position requirements.  Requires immediate review and action including implementation of Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

Note: The PageUp Performance Management System, which is being piloted starting November 2021, uses the following rating scale:

  • Exceptional = The employee significantly exceeds expectations as noted in job duties and performance goals.  They model behaviors that support Virginia Tech’s values and college/unit expectations.  The employee's contributions have a consistently positive impact and value to the department and to the organization. This employee is easily recognized as a top performer. 
  • Meets = The employee consistently demonstrates effective performance by meeting expectations as defined by job duties and performance goals. They are viewed as someone who gets the job done and effectively prioritizes work. They contribute to the overall objectives of the department and/or the organization.
  • Does not meet = The employee does not meet expectations as defined in the job duties and performance goals.  This may be due to being new to a role or new to a specific assignment; it may also reflect outcomes and/or behaviors that need attention and do not meet expectations for the role.  Steps to improvement should be discussed and documented.

Supervisors

All employees hired or rehired after a break in service are required to complete a 12-month probationary period. Employees transferring to Virginia Tech after completing a probationary period at another state agency and without a break in service are not required to complete an additional probationary period.

Formal, written probationary reviews are required at six months and 12 months of employment. The Probationary Progress Review (form P125) should be used for the evaluation. The original six and 12-month evaluations should be forwarded to the Division of Human Resources. For more Information on probationary reviews visit the Employee Relations page.

Employees on leave include those on approved Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) leave, sick leave, or leave without pay (LWOP).

In order to include employees on leave in the performance management process, supervisors need to complete draft evaluations for all employees, including those on extended leave.

  • Draft evaluations for employees on leave should be submitted to the reviewer.
  • When the evaluation with the approved rating is returned to the supervisor, the supervisor and reviewer should sign it and send a copy of that document without the employee’s signature to the Division of Human Resources. This document will be placed in the personnel file pending receipt of the original evaluation with all signatures - employee, supervisor, and reviewer.
  • The original should be retained by the supervisor for review with the employee when the employee returns to work.
  • When the document has been reviewed with the employee and the employee has signed it, the document with original signatures should be forwarded to the Division of Human Resources for placement in the employee’s personnel file.
Pay increases for employees on Virginia Sickness and Disability Program or sick leave (paid leave):
  • Classified employees in a paid leave status who are rated acceptable and exceptional, are eligible for any budgeted pay increase provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • University employees in a paid leave status who are rated acceptable and exceptional, are eligible for any pay or merit increases provided by the university that is associated with the overall rating on the evaluation.
  • Pay and/or merit increases are effective Nov. 25 and will be included in paychecks received while on leave.
Pay increases for employees on leave without pay (LWOP):
  • Classified employees who are on LWOP who are rated Developing, Strong, or Model Performance are eligible for any budgeted pay increase provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • University employees who are on LWOP who are rated Developing, Strong, or Model Performance are eligible for any pay or merit increases provided by the university that is associated with the overall rating on the evaluation.
  • Pay and/or merit increases will take effect on the employee’s return to work.
In evaluating performance, it is important to always compare actual performance to the performance standards determined during the 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.
  • Let the employee talk: Aim for the employee to speak for more than half of the time.
  • Be open and receptive: One of the goals of a performance evaluation is to align goals and expectations with actual performance. For this to occur, it is important for the evaluator to communicate what is expected of the individual. This includes how accomplishments will be measured (i.e. quality, quantity, timeliness) and what factors have influenced performance (i.e. unexpected staffing decreases, new regulatory requirements). The annual evaluation is a global discussion of overall performance as it was evidenced during the year. Although there may have been specific areas of concern, generally conduct-related issues such as a failure to follow a workplace rule (whether written or unwritten) or tardiness and/or absenteeism would have been dealt with in the form of an individual communication that specifically addresses that particular issue.  
  • Demonstrate respect and dignity: It is important to demonstrate respect and dignity by maintaining confidentiality, and by not sharing what you have discussed with others who do not have a need to know. Listening carefully, being perceptive beyond what is said, and seeking clarification, which will demonstrate your interest in understanding what the other person is saying and how it can help you as an evaluator. Avoiding argument and recognizing individual perceptions and opinions will likely lead to a more productive discussion. It may be helpful to recognize the mutual goals of improving performance and focusing on opportunities for professional development. Be careful not to concentrate too closely on minor issues or to become too highly critical on any particular item unless that item is essential to the successful performance of the job.
  • Ask questions: Use open-ended questions to prompt the employee to speak openly. An example is, "What has given you the most satisfaction this year?"
  • Reinforce the employee's main points: Reinforce their main points by rephrasing what the individual has said as an open ended question such as, "So the thing that gave you most satisfaction from your role was ... ?"  This reinforces that you have heard and understood what was said. Ending on a question provides the employee the chance to correct you if you have misunderstood.
  • Praise and recognize good performance: Ensure the employee understands the positive impact their good performance has had on business results. Give the employee clear examples of negative performance. Ask questions such as, "What happened ... ? Why ... ? How did the difficulties begin?"
  • Seek feedback: Learn how you have managed the individual. One helpful question would be, "What could I have done to help you more?" You will need to listen to the replies calmly and attentively and not become defensive if you feel you are being criticized as a supervisor. If you felt you had provided support, this should be explored through open questions to the individual.
  • Summarize the review: Re-examine specific goals, standards of performance, and offer training opportunities for the next review period.

Learn more about performance evaluations with this video:

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Resources

For more information about the performance management cycle, planning, evaluations, and other helpful links visit the following pages: