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Planning and Setting Goals

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The planning component of the performance management process  at Virginia Tech is foundational. Planning sets the stage for individual career success as well as organizational success. During the planning stage, performance expectations and goals are set for individuals. Goals and expectations should tie back to departmental and/or organizational objectives.

Employees are responsible for actively communicating with their supervisors about their performance.  

Supervisors are responsible for developing performance goals and objectives with input from employees. It is essential that supervisors and employees communicate throughout the performance management cycle about performance on goals, responsibilities, competencies, and career development activities. 

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Performance Management System

Refer to a job classification description below for more information on how to initiate the performance plan stage. 

University and classified staff complete their performance plans in the PageUp Performance Management System.

Please note: In the prior system, the job duties and goals were intertwined, as shown in the image below. Due to that, often goals were really the employee's job duties written in a measurable format. In the new system, if the goals were pulled in, they were duplicative and the employee would be rated on doing their job twice over. Therefore, it is recommended that the job duties are edited to be more measurable. It is a best practice of including what exactly it would mean to exceed the job duty or goal. 

The old system had goals and job responsibilities together with competencies separate. The new system has job duties and goals separate. Competencies can be a goal in the new system. Development plans stayed the same.
This is a visual representation of the differences between the legacy and new performance systems.

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. 

Job Description (Job Duties)

Creating or updating a job description is an important process of the performance planning phase.  A job description must be revised when the job duties, the percentage of the time spent on a specific task, of an employee change. 

Supervisors should follow the steps below to create or update a job description:

  • Gather important information relevant to the position: tasks, duties, and responsibilities. 
  • If a job description needs to be updated, discuss with the college or department Human Resources representative. Provide a copy of the old and the new job description.  Changes in duty may or may not need a title or salary update. Once updated, discuss the  changes with the employee for feedback. 
  • Job descriptions need to be updated in the PageUp Applicant Tracking system by an authorized user in your college or department. 

Below is a sample job duty for a fiscally responsible position. The original job duty was adjusted in the SMART format with the changes notated in italics. Note: specifics on how to be exceptional in this job duty were included as well.

Title: Budget and Operations Management


To meet the expectations of this role, the employee must

  • meet with the AVP to analyze fiscal and operational trends quarterly, determine departmental needs annually by April 1, 2023, and budget alterations as necessary. During that process, the employee must develop a proposal for increased budgetary needs as supply and labor requests increase. Revenue expectations are 0-2.999 percent with expenses no more than 1.999 percent.
  • work closely with the Administrative Dietitian for Price and Portions development for the following year, finalizing the plan for approval on November 15, 2022.
  • oversee and guide direct reports as well as other assistant directors toward dining center budget performance around revenue and expenditures by presenting monthly P&L statements at the leadership meeting.
  • collaborate with the Director of Planning and Operations to ensure retail spaces are sufficiently staffed during operating hours and any service requests are handled in a timely manner, such as 24 hours for emergencies or 72 hours for non-emergencies.
  • assist with assessing current franchises quarterly; and provide research on trends, lawsuits, etc. Assist in selecting vendors and issuing contracts. Provide ongoing oversight by communicating and managing the current vendor groups. 
  • work closely with the Contract Administrator with assessing and reviewing contracts annually.
  • establish and post hours of operation, updating as soon as possible for last-minute changes and two weeks prior to the change if not an emergency.

To be exceptional, meet all of the above expectations, and provide an annual report at the all-hands meeting on our vendors and contracts. Additionally, provide opportunities for feedback from employees on new purchasing opportunities. Finally, in the budget, revenue should be 3 percent or above with supplies and labor expenses under budget projections by 2 percent or more.

Below is a sample job duty for a supervisor of a student group. The original job duty was adjusted in the SMART format with the changes indicated in the second version. Note: specifics on how to be exceptional in this job duty were included as well.


Title: Supervise Student Peer Champions


  • Coordinate recruitment of sophomore or junior students for the Peer Champion positions
  • Coordinate tasks, events, and projects for the Peer Champions
  • Oversee the champions' performance, provide guidance and support

Remember when modifying this year's performance plan, to use the SMART goal format and adjust the timing for this performance year.


Title: Supervise Student Peer Champions



  • In the summer of 2022, coordinate recruitment of sophomore or junior students for the Peer Champion positions that begin in the fall 2022 semester
  • Coordinate tasks, events, and projects for the Peer Champions, including networking and experiential learning opportunities, and have a schedule set up by the time the champion onboards
  • Oversee the champions' performance, offering guidance and support as well as having regular check-in meetings with the champions
  • Provide an annual report on student engagement and retention due to the success of the Peer Champion program


To be exceptional, in addition to the above, design and implement an annual recruitment and onboarding plan that engages the current and prior champions. Additionally, provide at least one mentor opportunity in another discipline for the champion.

Performance Goals

Supervisors and employees should discuss together the goals for the coming year. These can be a mixture of short- and long-term, innovative and routine goals but should all have a clear link to Virginia Tech's strategic priorities

When setting your goals, you should ensure the goals are SMART:

  • Specific:  You are clear on what is meant by the goal.  Ask:  What do you want to achieve and why?  What are the requirements/constraints?  Who is involved?
  • Measurable: You know when it has been achieved and how achievement will be measured.  Ask:  How do you track progress and measure the outcome?  How will you know when you have reached it?   
  • Achievable:  The goal is within your capability with available resources. Ask:  How will you accomplish the goal?  Is it realistic?
  • Relevant:  The goal is reasonable, reflects departmental goals, and is results-based.  Ask:  Is this a worthwhile goal?  What is the expected impact?  Does it align with our organizational goals?
  • Timebound:  You know the deadline for the goal.  Ask:  When will you accomplish this goal?  

Good performance planning also requires careful consideration of competencies needed to perform the goal.  Competencies are a set of related knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors, or other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work assignments in a defined work setting. 

Learn more about setting performance goals with this video:

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Development Plan

During this stage of performanace management, the employee and supervisor work to create career plans to develop the skills, knowledge, and abilities that an employee may need to achieve goals that have been set.  

  • Draft development activities: When writing a personal development plan, be clear about the development needs. What should you do differently and/or under what conditions? How well must it be done?
  • Business outcomes: What do you hope to achieve? What impact will the learning outome have on the department or you personally?
  • The most appropriate development need: There are different ways to learn such as on-the-job experiences, from others such as mentors or colleagues, or through learning activities and training. Discuss your preferred method of development with your supervisor and be open to other suggestions you might not have been aware of. 


For more information about the performance management cycle and other helpful links visit the following page: