A-to-Z Index

Home > Workforce Management > Salary Administration Plan > Performance Management

VIII. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

The university's Performance Management Program is an integral part of the Compensation Management System and regular, consistent, informal and formal communication between the supervisor and the employee is an integral part of the JMU's Performance Management Program.

The Performance Management Program has been designed to encourage career development to enhance the university's workforce and to financially reward employees' performance. The annual performance cycle is October 25th to October 24th of the following year with the applicable pay out of performance increases effective November 25th. A performance evaluation is not considered complete until the end of the performance cycle, regardless of when the actual performance evaluation meeting and rating are conducted. This means that if an employee is given a particular rating, but that same employee's performance degrades before the end of the cycle, the supervisor may change the evaluation and rating before the evaluation is finalized. A note will be added to performance evaluation materials noting that they are contingent on continued performance at the same level rated for the duration of the cycle. Employee performance will be a key determinant in how pay will be administered not only in the Performance Management Program but also with the university's Pay Practices.

Key design features of the university's Performance Management Program include 3 performance-rating levels; an optional 12-month probationary period for new employees; an opportunity for employee self-evaluation; an interim evaluation in the middle of the performance cycle and movement toward employee feedback on supervisors' performance for development purposes.

Performance Ratings
It is important to emphasize that evaluation of employee's performance must be done on a continuous basis by providing verbal and/or written feedback throughout the performance cycle. The university's Performance Management Program has 3 performance ratings:

  • Contributor Rating: This rating recognizes work that is at or above the performance standards by achieving the criteria of the job's core responsibilities and measures throughout the performance cycle. Employees at this level are achieving the core responsibilities and performance measures - and occasionally going beyond - as outlined by the supervisor.
  • Extraordinary Contributor: This rating recognizes work that is characterized by exemplary accomplishments throughout the performance cycle and performance that considerably and consistently surpasses the criteria of the job function. An Extraordinary Contributor is observed regularly doing the unusual and unexpected. To be eligible to receive an overall rating of Extraordinary Contributor, an employee must receive at least one documented Notification of Extraordinary Contribution form during the rating cycle. To be valid for that performance cycle, the Notification of Extraordinary Contribution must be completed before September 1 of the performance cycle year and a copy of the Notification of Extraordinary Contribution must arrive in Human Resources by the first work day in September. In exceptional cases, supervisors may submit such notices after the deadline if the appropriate vice president's signature is included on the form. However, the receipt of this form does not guarantee or necessarily warrant an overall annual rating of Extraordinary Contributor.
  • Below Contributor: This rating recognizes job performance that fails to meet the criteria of the job function. An employee who receives at least one Notification of Improvement Needed form may receive an overall rating of Below Contributor on the annual rating. To be valid for that performance cycle, the Notification of Improvement Needed must be completed before September 1 of the performance cycle year and a copy of the Notification of Improvement Needed must arrive in Human Resources by the first work day in September. In exceptional cases, supervisors may submit such notices after the deadline if the appropriate vice president's signature is included on the form. However, the receipt of this form does not guarantee or necessarily warrant an overall annual rating of Below Contributor.

Probationary Period
The university requires a Probationary Period for all full-time classified employees. Employees who are employed or re-employed in classified positions must serve a 12-month Probationary Period beginning on the date of employment.

Probationary Progress Reviews/Documentation
Within the first 30 days of employment, the supervisor must establish or review the updated Employee Work Profile with the employee with special emphasis on core responsibilities, and the IPDP (Individual Professional Development Plan). Supervisors should use this as an opportunity to discuss the position's responsibilities, expected job performance and clarify any aspects of the job. This kind of communication between supervisor and employee is a critical element of the performance management system.

The supervisor must evaluate and provide structured feedback periodically to the new employee during the Probationary Period. The Probationary Progress Review Form must be completed at 3, 6 and 9 months of the Probationary Period. Human Resources will notify supervisors when these reviews are due. In addition, at any time during the Probationary Period, the Probationary Progress Review Form may be used to document the employee's progress and to provide feedback to the employee about their performance.

The final probationary review should occur approximately three weeks before the completion of the probationary period. Then, the supervisor should notify the employee in writing when the 12-month Probationary Period has been satisfactorily completed. A copy of the Probationary Progress Review form will serve as written notification. If the 12-month Probationary Period occurs during the annual evaluation period (July-September), the supervisor can choose to use a regular performance evaluation from the EWP. The Probationary Progress Review form should accompany the evaluation indicating completion of the probationary period. If a probationary employee is not notified of satisfactory completion or extension of the Probationary Period at the end of 12 months, it is understood that the employee successfully completed the probationary requirement.

Extension of Probationary Period
The Probationary Period may be extended for up to 6 additional months beyond the initial 12 months for performance reasons or due to periods of leave with or without pay. However, the total Probationary Period may not exceed 18 months, excluding periods of leave with or without pay. Employees must be notified in writing if their probationary period will be extended for performance reasons or due to leave.

The extension of the Probationary Period must be documented on a Probationary Progress Review Form and must be approved by the reviewer. A copy of the completed Probationary Progress Review Form must be given to the employee.

When a probationary employee is placed in a different position during the first 6 months of probation, the remainder of the 12-month probationary requirement must be completed. Additionally, the supervisor may elect to extend the Probationary Period not to exceed a total of 18 months. If an employee moves or is placed in a new position during the last 6 months of his or her probationary period, the employee's must complete the remainder of the 12-month probationary requirement or the Probationary Period may be extended no more than 18 months. In both cases, the employee must be notified in writing if the Probationary Period is to be extended.

Probationary employees are not eligible for an increase that recognizes the completion of their probationary period. However, the university may provide a pro-rated November 25th performance increase to probationary employees that are hired after the beginning of the annual performance cycle (October 25th through October 24th of the following year).

The Virginia Department of Human Resource Management and JMU may alter the following pro-rated schedule due to budgetary actions/requests from the General Assembly or Governor.

Performance increases for probationary employees will be based on the employee's hire date and overall performance rating of at least "Contributor" on their most recent Probationary Progress Review. Employees rated "Below Contributor" will not be eligible for a performance increase. All performance increases are effective on November 25th.

  • Employees hired/rehired between the beginning of the performance cycle (October 25th) and January 24th (1st quarter of the performance year) may be eligible for a November 25th increase of 100% of the established rate for the appropriate rating if these employees are rated Contributor or Extraordinary Contributor.
  • Employees hired/rehired between January 25th through April 24th (2nd quarter of the performance year) may be eligible for a November 25th increase of 75% of the established rate. Employees hired/rehired between April 25th through July 24th (3rd quarter of the performance year) may be eligible for a November 25th increase of 50% of the established rate. The highest performance rating an employee can receive if hired during these periods is Contributor.
  • Employees hired during the 4th quarter of the performance year (July 25th and October 24th) are not eligible for November 25th increase.

The following chart depicts the range of hire dates, evaluation and pro-rated increase requirements/options and the percentage increase options for probationary employees that have not completed an entire performance cycle.

Hire/Rehire Date Probationary Progress Review Pro-rated Performance Increase Options for Percentage Increase Based on Established Rate
October 25th - January 24th Required Required 100% rate for "Contributor" or "Extraordinary Contributor"
January 25th - April 24th Required Optional 0% or 75% of rate - "Contributor" only
April 25th - July 24th Required Optional 0% or 50% of rate for - "Contributor" only
July 25th - October 24th Required Optional 0% or 25% of rate for "Contributor"

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Development of Employee Work Profile/Performance Plan
The Employee Work Profile is the central document to the university's performance management plan. It is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure that each employee always has an accurate, up to date Employee Work Profile on file.

In addition, working in conjunction with Human Resources, departments may develop supplemental evaluation tools such as 360 evaluation or team-based objectives and measures.

Information Gathering for the Performance Evaluation
In order for performance evaluations to be effective and reflect the actual performance of the employee, it is imperative to collect and document information on a continuous basis. Supervisors should use a variety of sources when gathering evaluation information.

Sources may include direct observation of employee behaviors and work products by the supervisor and information solicited from peers, customers, subordinates, and other supervisors who interact and work with the employee. Employees should be informed that potential sources might be used in the evaluation process at the beginning of the performance cycle.

Additionally, a valuable source of information for performance evaluations can be obtained from the employee themselves. The University's Performance Management Program requires employees to actively participate in the performance evaluation process. Therefore, each employee must be afforded the opportunity to provide their supervisor with a self-assessment (employee self-evaluation) of their performance for the rating period. Several weeks before the performance review, Human Resources will send a reminder to supervisors to solicit the self-assessment from the employee. Using the employee's copy of the Employee Work Profile, the employee will complete a self-assessment and submit it to the supervisor. The supervisor must review and consider the self-assessment when completing the employee's performance evaluation.

Another source of information that is particularly valuable for a management development purpose is employee feedback on their supervisor's performance commonly referred to as upward feedback. Initially, employee feedback will be used for development purposes to assist supervisors in improving their supervisory and management skills.

Feedback During the Performance Evaluation Cycle
Supervisors should mentor, coach, and reinforce progress toward expected results and outcomes and address areas of concern as they arise. Effective management of performance involves providing continuous formal and/or informal feedback to employees throughout the entire performance cycle. The content of the actual formal annual evaluation should never come as a 'surprise' to the employee.

Interim Performance Evaluations
An Interim Performance Evaluation provides an opportunity to give structured feedback to employees on their progress toward meeting performance expectations as well as identify any personal developmental needs during the evaluation cycle. Interim Performance Evaluations may be conducted at any time during the performance cycle at the discretion of the supervisor, reviewer or division head.

If the employee's supervisor leaves during the performance cycle, the supervisor should complete an Interim Evaluation Form at that time. This is helpful to the incoming supervisor to assist in the evaluation of the employee at the end of the performance cycle. The new supervisor should review the performance expectations, make any necessary modifications and incorporate the former supervisor's assessment in the overall evaluation at the end of the performance cycle.

An Interim Performance Evaluation should be completed if, after 6 months into the performance cycle, an employee transfers, promotes or demotes into a new position with a different supervisor within an agency or between state agencies. The supervisor before the employee's departure from the position should complete the Interim Performance Evaluation. The employee's new supervisor should consider this information in assessing the employee's performance at the end of the performance cycle.

Acknowledgment of Extraordinary Contribution/Substandard Performance
Acknowledging an employee's performance in a timely manner will either reinforce exceptional behaviors or clarify specifically for the employee that their performance is not acceptable and needs improvement. All performance, whether extraordinary, acceptable, or unacceptable should be acknowledged and recognized periodically during the performance cycle. However, for performance extremes (exemplary or substandard displays of performance) an employee should receive formal, written recognition immediately.

Supervisors are encouraged to formally recognize exemplary performance during the rating cycle by documenting the incident(s) on a Notification of Extraordinary Contribution Form. It is important to differentiate between performance that is expected of the employee and performance that far exceeds supervisory expectations.

Supervisor should immediately identify poor, substandard or unacceptable performance. Substandard performance on any core responsibility or special assignment may result in a Notification of Improvement Needed Form.

Issuing this form requires that the supervisor develop an improvement plan, with specific timelines, addressing the area(s) that require immediate attention. Input should be solicited from the employee in developing the improvement plan. A timeline for improvement must be established and must be at least 30 days and no more than 180 days. Based on the timeline established, the supervisor must re-assess the employee based on the performance improvement plan.

In addition to the Performance Management Program, the university's Standards of Conduct are also available to address employee performance and conduct. The concept of "progressive discipline" can assist supervisors in working with employee in improving their performance. Supervisors would normally address first time minor or marginal performance issues through performance counseling and coaching. However, repeated and more serious performance or conduct issues may result in further disciplinary actions.

Timelines for Performance Evaluations
The supervisor must have annual performance evaluations finalized for non-probationary employees that have completed a full performance cycle and submit those completed forms, along with completed personal learning goals for the coming performance cycle, to Human Resources by the last workday in September. In completing the performance evaluation and arriving at an overall performance rating, the supervisor should take into consideration how successful the employee was in meeting the criteria established by the performance measures and the length of time the employee performed in their job.

If an employee was absent from work for a significant portion of the performance year, the percentage increase may be impacted. Employee absences due to compensatory time, overtime leave, workers' compensation, military, Family and Medical Leave and Short Term Disability should not influence the employee's overall performance rating. However, the amount of time an employee is out of work may alter the percentage of increase they are eligible to receive as outlined below.

Portion of Performance Cycle Worked Percentage Increase Based on Established Rate
Less than full but at least 9 months 100% of rate for Contributor or Extraordinary Contributor
At least 6 months but less than 9 months 75% of rate for Contributor
At least 3 months but less than 6 months 50% of rate for Contributor
Less than 3 months 25% of rate for Contributor

Reviewer Approval of the Performance Evaluation
The reviewer's role is key in the performance evaluation process. The reviewer is responsible for reviewing the performance plan and evaluation before it is presented to the employee and providing the supervisor with appropriate feedback.

If the reviewer does not agree with the performance plan and/or the evaluation, the reviewer should discuss the areas of concern with the supervisor. Reviewers have the authority to change any part of the performance plan and/or evaluation based on their judgment about the employee's performance or the supervisory approach to the performance evaluation.

Conducting the Evaluation (The Evaluation Meeting)
The purpose of the evaluation meeting is to provide the supervisor and employee an opportunity to discuss job performance during the previous performance cycle and to plan for future performance objectives. The evaluation meeting requires careful planning and preparation on the part of both the supervisor and employee. The supervisor should be prepared to discuss what input/feedback was considered in the employee's evaluation; the rationale for each of the individual and overall performance ratings; future performance expectations and employee development results. In addition, the evaluation meeting is the time for the employee and supervisor to review/update the employee's IPDP.

If an employee disagrees with the performance evaluation, he or she should be given an opportunity to explain their rationale. The supervisor may change any ratings that are warranted based on the information provided by the employee. If the supervisor decides to change a rating, the reviewer must be consulted before the change is made. The reviewer should then initial the change.

At the end of the evaluation meeting, the employee should review the performance evaluation, write any comments, check whether they had the opportunity for self-assessment and sign the form indicating that the results have been discussed. If the employee refuses to sign the evaluation, the supervisor should indicate this on the performance evaluation.

Re-evaluation Corrective Action Plan - Below Contributor Rating
An employee who receives an overall performance rating of Below Contributor must have an action plan developed outlining the minimum performance expectations and be re-evaluated in 3 months. The action plan is developed by the supervisor, approved by the reviewer and discussed with the employee within 10 workdays of the evaluation meeting.

The supervisor may also access the Standards of Conduct Policy to address employee performance or Notification of Improvement Needed Form to document specific performance incidents or issues. At the conclusion of the re-evaluation period, if the employee's rating continues to be Below Contributor, the supervisor has several options including demotion, reassignment, reduced duties or termination. It is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure that every effort has been made for improvement and employee development before taking a final action such as demotion or termination.

If the supervisor (working in concert with Human Resources) identifies another position within the 3-month period that is more suitable for the employee's level of performance, then the employee may be reassigned or demoted. This will conclude the re-evaluation period. If this occurs, then the employee will not be eligible for a performance increase. With a demotion, the employee's salary must be reduced by at least 5% since this constitutes a Disciplinary or Performance Salary Action.

As an alternative to reassignment or demotion, the supervisor may elect to maintain the employee in their position and eliminate the duties that the employee was unable to successfully fulfill. This reduction in duties must be accompanied by a concurrent salary reduction of at least 5%.

If the supervisor, reviewer and Human Resources determine that termination is the proper action based on the re-evaluation, then the employee will be terminated at the conclusion of the 3-month re-evaluation period.

IX. APPEALS

When an employee disagrees with the evaluation and cannot resolve the disagreement with the supervisor, the employee may appeal to the reviewer for reconsideration. The employee must make this appeal in writing within 10 workdays of the initial evaluation meeting. The reviewer should discuss the appeal with the supervisor and the employee.

After discussion of the appeal, the reviewer should provide the employee with a written response within 5 workdays of receipt. The response should indicate the reviewer's conclusion of the performance evaluation.

Performance Evaluation Formula
The General Assembly and the Governor annually determine the statewide average performance increase for the university's workforce. The university is not authorized to supplement the funding provided by the General Assembly and Governor for employee performance increases.

For employees who receive an overall performance rating of Contributor, they must receive between 80-100% of the statewide average increase (when and if there is a statewide increase). The exact figure - which by percentage will be the same for all full-time university employees rated at the Contributor level - will be determined by the division heads, working in conjunction with the University Compensation Committee and Human Resources. Employees that are rated as Extraordinary Contributor will receive between 100-250% of the statewide average increase (when and if there is a statewide increase). The exact figure - which by percentage will be the same for all full-time university employees rated at the Extraordinary Contributor level - will be determined by the division heads, working in conjunction with the University Compensation Committee and Human Resources.

Go To Next Section: Awards and Recognition