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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 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. 

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 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. 

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 understand exactly what is meant by the goal; it provides you with real clarity. 
  • Measurable: You know when it has been achieved and how achievement will be measured. 
  • Achievable: The goal is within your capability and you have the resources to deliver. 
  • Realistic: The goal is achievable within foreseeable internal and external constraints. 
  • Timely: You know when the goal has to be achieved by.

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, planning, evaluations, and other helpful links visit the following pages: