UCPEA Performance Evaluation Manual

Overview of Performance Evaluations

The annual performance review is the culmination of on-going communication between employees and supervisors to recognize strong performance, identify any performance issues and provide recommendations for improvement. When done properly, it strengthens the relationship between employee and supervisor, increases communication, points out expectations and appraises past performance. Conducting ongoing performance management and submitting the performance evaluation is a primary responsibility of those functioning in a supervisory role. It is also a contractual obligation.

Article 21.1 of the UConn Professional Employees Association (“UCPEA”) contract states, “For the purpose of promoting, maintaining and enhancing excellence in job performance, each department shall provide for evaluations of each UCPEA employee at least once a year. Such evaluations shall permit the continuing assessment of the quality of the individual’s performance relative to the required duties described in his/her official job specifications and internal departmental job description (if applicable).”

The written evaluation permits the supervisor to organize judgments about performance in an orderly manner so that they may be translated clearly and consistently to the staff member. As is stated in article 21.2 c. of the UCPEA contract, “For the purpose of documenting and appraising the employee’s performance during the period, as well as for providing suggestions for improvement, each supervisor of UCPEA staff, including supervisors in UCPEA positions, shall prepare a written evaluation with criteria appropriate to the department or unit.”

A written evaluation also provides an occasion for both the staff member and the supervisor to reach or refresh their mutual understanding of the staff member’s role in relation to the organization’s goals.

Objectives of Performance Evaluation

All University professional staff in the UCPEA bargaining unit must have their performance evaluated in writing at least once a year. Performance appraisal has the potential to motivate employees and increase their productivity.

The written performance evaluation provides an opportunity for supervisors to:

  • Express appreciation of good performance
  • Discuss deficiencies openly and establish methods for overcoming each deficiency
  • Review or update position descriptions
  • Clarify job expectations
  • Set standards of performance
  • Assist the supervisor in evaluating him or herself
  • Establish that an employee has successfully completed his/her probationary period

Conducting Performance Evaluations

Before the Interview

  • Don’t procrastinate about scheduling the interview.
  • Set consistent follow-up goals between evaluations.
  • Keep accurate records on employee performance.
  • Plan out the interview with adequate detail and allow plenty of time.
  • Honestly assess your own contribution to the employee’s success or failure in meeting standards.
  • If you choose to do so, within the boundaries of the contract, request an annual report of activity and achievement from the employee.

Annual Report of Activity and Achievement

Article 21.2 b. of the UCPEA contract states that, “Management may require employees, or employees may volunteer, to provide an annual report of activity and achievement to be used as a source of information for evaluations. If management makes such a requirement they must do so in advance of the period for which they want the reporting. Employees shall be given a minimum of two weeks’ notice for providing the requested reports. Final reports of activity and achievement for an evaluation year must be submitted by April 15th for consideration in the evaluation process.”

Evaluation Timeline

The performance evaluation process is continuous throughout the career of all professional employees. It should be emphasized that although employees are evaluated at least once a year, a supervisor may initiate a performance evaluation at any time he/she believes it will be helpful, or at reasonable intervals upon a staff member’s request.

Probationary Employees and End-Date Employees

Performance evaluations for probationary employees are linked to the employee’s hire date. “Approximately halfway through and at the end of his/her probationary period, each employee shall be given a written evaluation of his/her performance.” (Article 20.3)

Renewal of an end-date employee depends, among other things, on the availability of funding and is independent of the performance evaluation process. A performance evaluation does not imply that an employee with an end-date will necessarily be renewed. Please indicate end-date employment status on the cover sheet.

Permanent UCPEA Employees

Written evaluations for non-probationary UCPEA staff must be conducted annually, and completed between April 15 and May 1 of each year.

Mark your calendar with these important dates:

  • By March 1 - Labor Relations will issue notice to employees that they will be required to provide an Annual Report of Activity and Achievement for the following evaluation cycle. At this time supervisors must also remind employees that the current year’s report of Activity and Achievement is to be submitted to supervisors by April 15.
  • By April 15 - Deadline for employees to submit Annual Report of Activity and Achievement. Supervisor prepares the performance evaluation and makes arrangements to discuss it with the employee by May 1st.
  • By May 1 - Deadline for presenting performance evaluation to employee (Article 21.2c)
  • May 15 - Deadline for evaluations to be received in Labor Relations, Unit 5075.

Evaluation Forms

The Annual Evaluation forms for professional staff are available at: https://hr.uconn.edu/hr-forms/ (See UCPEA section).

Definition of Ratings

*An employee need not be rated as Outstanding or Very Good in every category to receive these overall ratings.

Ratings Relation to Position Requirements
Outstanding: Far exceeds requirements and standards of regular duties. Outstanding performance is marked by initiative and high quality of work. An outstanding performance rating far exceeds the requirements and standards of the position.
Very Good: Exceeds requirements and standards of regular duties. Very good performance indicates that the employee regularly exceeds all position requirements.
Good: Good performance is that which meets the regular requirements of the position adequately and competently. Good is not marginal, if performance is considered marginal, it should not be given a rating of good.
In Need of Improvement: Staff in this category are performing marginally and are not meeting the requirements of the position. Specific plans should be outlined for correcting areas of below standard performance. Deficiencies should be clearly identified and a timeline for improvement established, including follow-up evaluation(s). Employees in this category should be cautioned about the consequence of continued less than satisfactory work.
Unsatisfactory: Performance, which is unsatisfactory, does not meet the requirements of the position. Staff in this category should be identified and counseled regarding their performance prior to issuing an unsatisfactory annual review as they may be denied salary increases or terminated.

Completing the Form

The Performance Evaluation Review Form must be completed by the immediate supervisor. In Part I, supervisors should complete the staff member and evaluator’s identification, and check off the type of evaluation and the status of the employee. Once the rest of the sections have been completed, supervisors should select an overall rating which reflects the ratings and narrative comments in the other parts of the evaluation. Within each of the areas listed in Part II, please choose between the five rating categories, outstanding, very good, good, in need of improvement and unsatisfactory, described in the Performance Evaluation Training Manual. Check the box for the appropriate rating. Review the descriptions of each of the five ratings carefully to ensure that the ratings you give are appropriate. Employees need not be considered outstanding relative to all of the standards of performance to receive an outstanding or very good rating in that category.

In Part III, supervisors must complete the performance summary. In Part IV, the supervisor should suggest performance goals for the upcoming evaluation period. The goals should be:

  1. Necessary and achievable;
  2. Harmonious with both the employee’s internal and generic job descriptions;
  3. Fair in relation to the employee’s ability and performance; and
  4. Stated clearly.

The Evaluation Interview

  • Structure the interview; inform the employee of the rationale of the evaluation process.
  • Do not rush the interview or do all the talking; allow adequate time for interaction with the employee.
  • Be as specific as possible about performance activities; explain the “why” of the rating.
  • Do not get sidetracked or bogged down in detail.
  • Do not over-praise or over-emphasize the negatives.
  • Involve the employee adequately in the planning/goal setting process.
  • Listen positively; pursue new information or suggestions the employee offers.
  • Write down all the key points, goals, objectives and target dates mutually agreed upon.
  • Close with a summary that leaves the employee with a clear understanding of where he/she stands, what is expected to meet performance standards, and how (and when) the supervisor will provide assistance.
  • Indicate willingness to have continued communication.

During the evaluation interview, compare the goals to the employee’s job description to develop a working document that clearly indicates what is expected of the employee. Discuss whether goals set the previous year were met and how the employee can improve his/her performance in the coming year. Employee input on both goals and performance evaluations are important.

Remember that during the evaluation interview the communication should be two-way: the supervisor should use the opportunity to convey his/her assessment of the staff member’s work, and encourage the staff member to comment on his/her own work. Also remember to give the employee a copy of the evaluation for his/her records.

The supervisor may make adjustments to the written evaluation after receiving input from the employee and appropriate supervisors in the chain of command. “The written evaluation and cover sheet shall normally be discussed with the employee within seven (7) calendar days of the time they are prepared.”

There is space on the form for the staff member’s signature. The employee shall normally sign the evaluation within seven (7) calendar days from receipt for the sole purpose of indicating that he/she has read it.” (Article 21.2 e.) The staff member’s signature acknowledges that he/she has seen and had an opportunity to discuss the evaluation, not necessarily that he/she agrees with it. If they wish, employees may append comments to the evaluation. “An employee shall have the right to append to his/her evaluation a written statement presenting his/her concerns as they relate to the evaluation. This will be attached to the evaluation, become a part of the permanent record, and will be the final documentation associated with the performance evaluation.” (Article 21.2 f.)

With an unsatisfactory rating, the supervisor should schedule a follow-up interview within three months to review the employee’s progress.

After the Evaluation Interview

  • Reinforce the interview with on-going contact on the job.
  • Take notes on the outcome; track follow-up agreements and commitments.
  • Concentrate equal attention on all employees; show adequate concern for average and better employees as well as marginal or problem individuals.
  • Follow up on training and development commitments.
  • At the beginning of the next discussion, review progress made toward improvement and how effective the employee’s efforts have been.

Evaluation Routing Procedure

Evaluations must be prepared and presented to each employee between April 15 and May 1 of each year. (Article 21.2c.) As discussed earlier, employees may append comments to the evaluation. The evaluation should be signed by the employee, “the immediate supervisor and the first supervisor outside the bargaining unit, provided they are not the same person.” (Article 21.2 g.)

Please send the original evaluations to the Office of Faculty Staff and Labor Relations, Unit 5075, no later than May 15, including the cover sheet. The evaluation must be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Evaluations for probationary employees should also be sent to the Office of Labor Faculty and Staff Labor Relations, Unit 5075. This will be processed and routed to the employee’s personnel file.

IMPORTANT: Supervisors must contact Labor Relations at 486-5684 before meeting with employees whose evaluations result in an overall unsatisfactory rating.

Checklist for Completing Performance Review Forms

Beginning April 15th the evaluation form should be prepared for sharing with the employee by May 1st. Please complete parts II through for all employees. Don’t forget to complete the cover sheet and submit the document to the Office of Faculty and Staff Labor Relations, Unit 5075.

___ Cover Sheet (Part I)

___ Performance Evaluation Criteria (Part II)

___ Performance Narrative (Part III)

___ Statement of Employee Performance Goals (Part IV)

___ Probationary Employees Only Recommendation (Part V)

For Employees

Article 2 of the UCPEA Collective Bargaining Agreement defines a Professional Staff Member at the University of Connecticut as an employee with either a four-year college degree or advanced professional training who is engaged in work predominantly intellectual and varied in character, as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work. Professional work is of such character that the output produced cannot be standardized in relation to a given time period. Professional staff members should consistently exercise discretion and good judgment in their performance of their duties and strive for excellence, accuracy, appropriate restraint and respect for the opinions of others. In line with this definition, we have developed performance guidelines for you.

Special Note to Probationary Employees: Article 20.1 of the UCPEA contract identifies a probationary employee as “a new employee who has not completed a working test or trial period. Such a period shall not exceed one year.” Under Article 20.3 of the UCPEA contract a probationary employee is entitled to be provided with a written evaluation of his/her performance “approximately halfway through and at the end of his/her probationary period.”
 
PLEASE NOTE: For guidance on waiving or extending an employee’s probationary period, please contact Labor Relations. Such an indication on an evaluation form alone will not complete the transaction.

Article 21.1 of the UCPEA contract states, “For the purpose of promoting, maintaining and enhancing excellence in job performance, each department shall provide for evaluations of each UCPEA employee at least once a year. Such evaluations shall permit the continuing assessment of the quality of the individual’s performance relative to the required duties described in his/her official job specifications and internal departmental job description (if applicable).”

In the performance evaluation form, you will see lists of suggested performance standards clustered within the six main criteria necessary for all University employees. (Definitions of the five possible ratings are provided in the Performance Evaluation Manual.) These six criteria describe skills, behaviors and knowledge that define a model of management effectiveness at the University that may not be relevant for every position. They are to be used in combination with your function in the department and your job description, as follows:

  1. To attain consistent and measurable appraisals which support equal treatment of employees and serve as tools to identify employees’ training or skill development needs;
  2. As a measurable guide that demonstrates why an employee was or was not rated satisfactory in a particular area, with a goal toward improved performance; and
  3. As a development planning aid and checklist for the employee and manager with the goal of achieving and maintaining excellent performance.

You should take an active role in the evaluation process. Ongoing discussions with your supervisor about your performance and your progress are encouraged. Under Article 21.2b. of the UCPEA contract, “Management may require employees, or employees may volunteer, to provide an annual report of activity and achievement to be used as a source of information for evaluations. If management makes such a requirement they must do so in advance of the period for which they want the reporting. Employees shall be given a minimum of two weeks’ notice for providing the requested reports. Final reports for an evaluation year must be submitted to supervisors by April 15th for consideration in the evaluation process.”

The annual report allows you to communicate your achievements to your supervisor. If you choose, you may provide a report to your supervisor on a more regular basis. You may only be required to provide the report if your supervisor follows the process outlined in Article 21.2b of the UCPEA contract.

Special Note for Supervisors of Probationary Employees: Article 20.1 of the UCPEA contract identifies a probationary employee as “a new employee who has not completed a working test or trial period. Such a period shall not exceed one year.” This probationary period allows the supervisor the opportunity to judge whether an employee is carrying out the duties in his/her job description. In order for an employee to succeed, she/he must be provided with appropriate supervision, and adequate feedback. Under Article 20.3 of the UCPEA contract probationary employees are entitled to be provided with a written evaluation of his/her performance “approximately halfway through and at the end of his/her probationary period.”
 
The performance evaluation form you will complete for the probationary employee is the same as the form used for non-probationary employees. On the cover sheet however, you will need to identify whether the review is a 6-month or final review. You will also be asked to recommend, or not recommend that the employee be continued in his/her appointment after the six-month review, or that an employee be reappointed as a permanent employee at the completion of his/her probationary period.

Article 21.1 of the UCPEA contract states, “For the purpose of promoting, maintaining and enhancing excellence in job performance, each department shall provide for evaluations of each UCPEA employee at least once a year. Such evaluations shall permit the continuing assessment of the quality of the individual’s performance relative to the required duties described in his/her official job specifications and internal departmental job description (if applicable).”