SPA Performance Management System

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Policy Code: 
3151
Approval Authority: 
Chancellor
Policy Type: 
University Policy
Policy Owner: 
Administration and Finance
Responsible Office: 
Human Resources - 828.251.6605

Purpose:

The University of North Carolina at Asheville maintains a system whereby University SPA employees participate in a work planning and performance appraisal program. Supervisors and managers direct this program while promoting active employee involvement in the process. The Performance Management System ensures that employees:

  • are aware of their principal job functions,
  • understand the level of performance expected,
  • receive timely feedback about their performance,
  • have opportunities for education, training and development, and
  • receive performance ratings and rewards in a fair and consistent manner.

Scope:

This policy applies to all permanent SPA employees who are regularly scheduled to work 20 or more hours each week.

Policy:

It is the responsibility of all supervisors, managers, department heads, directors, deans and vice chancellors to assure that the policies and procedures of the SPA Performance Management System are administered equitably and consistently.

Supervisor Duties

It is the supervisor’s duty to implement each stage of the performance appraisal process and communicate it to employees so they fully understand job expectations and the importance of their role in the department.

Supervisors must provide Work Plans to employees as follows:

  • Probationary employees and other permanent employees new to the department must have a work plan within 30 days of beginning employment in an existing position. This may be extended to no more than 90 days if the position is new and the details of its function are still evolving.
  • Employees in trainee progressions must have work plans within 30 days (90 if a new position) of the beginning of their employment.
  • Employees whose principal functions have changed significantly (i.e. promotion, demotion, transfer) must have a revised work plan within 30 days of the change in job status.
  • Employees must have an updated work plan within 30 days of the beginning of a new performance management cycle. (The plan may or may not have changed from the previous cycle.)

Employee Duties

It is the employee’s duty to perform job expectations as described in the work plan. Employees are also expected to seek clarification from supervisors on any portion of the work plan or performance appraisal process that is unclear or in question. Employees may seek additional information on the performance appraisal process from the Department of Human Resources as needed.

Performance Rating System

The University rating system conforms to the five-point North Carolina Rating Scale:

Outstanding Performance

Performance is far above the defined job expectations. The employee consistently does outstanding work, regularly going far beyond what is expected in the job. Performance that exceeds expectations is due to the effort and skills of the employee. Any performance not consistently exceeding expectations is minor or due to events not under the control of the employee.

Very Good Performance

Performance meets the defined job expectations and in many instances exceeds job expectations. The employee generally is doing a very good job. Performance that exceeds expectations is due to the effort and skills of the employee.

Good Performance

Performance meets the defined job expectations. The employee generally performs according to the expectations as defined in the work plan. The employee is doing the job at the level expected for employees in this position. The good performance is due to the effort and skills of the employee.

Below Good Performance

Performance may meet some of the job expectations as defined in the work plan, but does not fully meet the remainder. The employee generally is doing the job at a minimal level, and improvement is needed to fully meet the expectations of the work plan. Performance is less than good. Lapses in performance are due to the effort and skills of the employee.

Unsatisfactory Performance

Performance generally fails to meet the defined expectations or requires frequent, close supervision and/or the redoing of work. The employee is not doing the job at the level expected for employees in this position. Unsatisfactory performance is due to the lack of effort and/or skills of the employee.

Performance Cycle

The annual performance cycle begins May 1 and ends the following April 30. Shorter or longer cycles may be allowed, depending on the employee’s entry date.

Procedures:

Planning

Planning occurs at the beginning of the performance cycle when the SPA employee and the supervisor meet to discuss the employee’s work plan, performance expectations, development plans and performance tracking methods. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to develop the work plan and effectively communicate it to the employee.

Managing

Managing consists of the day-to-day tracking of an SPA employee’s progress toward achieving performance expectations outlined in the work plan, and an Interim Review midway through the performance cycle. It includes providing on-going feedback to employees through coaching and reinforcing discussions throughout the performance cycle. Such discussions should be held regularly throughout the performance cycle as well as in response to changes in performance. Managing includes conducting the Interim Review, which should be completed midway though the performance cycle.

Appraising

Appraising is the evaluation of an SPA employee’s work over the entire performance cycle as it compares to the expectations documented on the work plan. Appraising occurs at the end of the performance cycle. Any permanent SPA employee who has worked at least six months during the performance cycle under an approved work plan will be considered as having completed the performance cycle for performance pay purposes. The results of this stage of the process are the performance appraisal and annual rating.

Requirements

Work plans should consist of primary job responsibilities, as well as responsibilities for upcoming projects or programs. These responsibilities should be listed in priority order. Any improvement or development plans that result from information from the previous appraisal or evaluation of job performance during the current performance cycle should be included in the work plan.

The expected level of performance (describing quality, quantity, timeliness, etc.) must be included for each responsibility and should be written at the “Good” level (refer to Performance Rating System above). Supervisors should also discuss the criteria for other performance ratings with the employee during the work planning session.

Expected levels of performance for other factors such as attendance, communication skills, working relationships, etc., should be established by the supervisor and discussed with the employee. These should be documented in the work plan. Management should ensure that the expectations for similar jobs are consistent and equitable. The methods to be used to evaluate performance should be documented by the supervisor and communicated to the employee.

Managers must review work plan and sign the “approved by” section prior to the supervisor delivering it to the employee. The supervisor and employee shall then discuss and sign the work plan and the supervisor shall provide the employee a copy of the completed and signed work plan.

The employee’s signature does not imply agreement with the work plan. It signifies receipt of the work plan from the supervisor. In the event that an employee refuses to sign the work plan form, the supervisor should document on the form the employee’s refusal to sign. The supervisor should also contact the department manager and/or the Director of Employee Relations.

Interim Reviews

Supervisors are encouraged to provide on-going feedback and coaching throughout the performance cycle. Supervisors are required to conduct and document an interim appraisal meeting with employees at least once during the performance cycle, usually at midyear.

The supervisor reviews the employee’s progress toward the expectations and development goals documented on the work plan, and discusses the current overall rating. This review is intended to be informal; however the supervisor must document any performance that falls below the “Good” level, establish an improvement plan for the employee to overcome the deficiencies, and document the date of the discussion.

The plan for correcting existing performance problems or deficiencies is to be discussed at the Interim Review meeting and documented in the space provided on the work plan form. The employee and supervisor must sign the form acknowledging that an interim review meeting took place. If any comments were added to the form as a result of the interim meeting, the employee must be provided with a copy of the amended work plan.

The employee’s signature does not imply agreement with the Interim Review. It acknowledges that the review took place and that the employee was given the opportunity to discuss it with the supervisor. In the event that an employee refuses to sign the Interim Review, the supervisor should document on the form the employee’s refusal to sign.

Probationary Appraisal

Prior to completion of the employee’s probationary period, the supervisor shall complete and discuss with the employee an Interim Appraisal.

Annual Appraisal

The job performance of each university SPA employee shall be appraised:

  • Once a year for permanent employees at the end of the work cycle
  • Prior to transferring to another university department or state agency. (Complete appraisal form and forward to Human Resources.)

In a private meeting with the employee, the supervisor should discuss each expectation in the work plan, the actual performance over the course of the performance cycle, the rating for each expectation, and any needed improvement or area for development for the upcoming performance cycle. The supervisor must include written comments that support the overall rating. The employee must be given the opportunity and should be encouraged to write any comments on the SPA Work Plan and Performance Appraisal form. The employee and supervisor then sign this form.

The employee must be given a copy of the finalized appraisal form with all comments, attachments, and signatures. Information may not be added to the completed summary without the employee’s knowledge. Added information must be initialed and dated by the employee, supervisor, and manager.

The employee’s signature does not imply agreement with the performance appraisal. It acknowledges that the appraisal took place and that the employee was given the opportunity to discuss it with the supervisor. In the event that an employee refuses to sign the Performance Appraisal form, the supervisor should document on the form the employee’s refusal to sign.

Upon completion of the appraisal with the employee, the supervisor must obtain management approval and signature regarding the ratings for each expectation and the overall rating.

Transfer appraisals

An SPA employee transferring to another university department or state agency must receive a transfer appraisal from his/her current supervisor. The completed appraisal form should be forwarded to Human Resources. The performance documentation summary will be forwarded by Human Resources to the receiving department/agency. A copy should be provided to the employee.

When a supervisor leaves a work unit, the next level supervisor shall ensure that performance documentation concerning the employees supervised by the departing supervisor is made available to the employees’ new supervisor.

Sustained Performance Deficiencies

When an employee’s performance falls below expectations at any time during the performance cycle, the supervisor shall document the performance deficiency and take actions, including (if appropriate) disciplinary action, to assure that performance expectations will be met within a reasonable period of time. An employee should not maintain an overall evaluation of “Below Good Performance.”

The supervisor shall advise the employee that performance deficiencies exist, and outline in the work plan the steps to be taken to restore performance to at least the “Good Performance” level. Corrective action can include, but is not limited to: training opportunities, job restructuring, employee transfer to another position, demotion, or other actions appropriate for the circumstances. If, after a period of time specified by the supervisor (not to exceed six months), the employee fails to correct the deficiencies so that performance reaches at least the “Good Performance” level, the supervisor shall begin disciplinary action with the issuance of a written warning, specifying the time period in which the employee must achieve a general job performance rating at the minimum of the “Good Performance” level. Failure to do so will result in a second written warning. Failure to achieve a rating of “Good Performance” within the specified time of the second written warning will result in further disciplinary measures, including transfer, demotion or dismissal from employment.

Submission of Annual Appraisal Ratings

The workplan is not a confidential document; however the completed performance appraisal, with ratings, supporting information, signatures and dates shall be treated as confidential. Once the annual appraisal is completed, the original SPA Career Banded Work Plan and Appraisal Form, including signatures and any attachments, will be forwarded to the Department of Human Resources. The overall performance rating will be entered into the Office of State Personnel database.

The department may maintain a confidential copy of the performance appraisal. Performance appraisal forms are confidential documents and are subject to Article 7 of Chapter 126 of the General Statutes. The employee must be informed that the forms will be maintained in the employee’s personnel file for at least three years and then disposed of in accordance with General Statute 121.5 b and c.

Disagreement with Appraisal Ratings

SPA employees have the right to formally dispute annual performance ratings at a level of “Good Performance” or lower. Refer to the UNC Asheville SPA Performance Pay Dispute Resolution policy for procedural guidance.