Performance Development Plan Training: Frequently Asked Questions

HSA Units:

Q: What is an HS Unit?

A: Each of the nine departments, offices, interdisciplinary research centers are referred to as an Health Sciences Unit (HS Unit). Health Sciences Administration’s nine reporting units include:

  • Health Sciences Academic Services and Facilities (HSAS&F)
  • Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI)
  • Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD)
  • Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)
  • Hall Health Center (HHC)
  • UW Medicine Strategic Marketing & Communications (UWM-SMC)
  • Office of Animal Welfare (OAW)
  • Health Sciences Risk Management (HSRM)
  • Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC)

June 30 Deadline

Q: Who does the deadline apply to?

A: The 6/30/14 deadline applies to Professional Staff. The Provost determined that in order to be considered for merit raises in FY 15 which begins 7/01/14, professional staff must have a completed, signed review on file by 6/30/14. The professional staff review must reflect performance between 1/01/14 – 6/01/14. It can however, included performance prior to 1/01/14 if that is consistent with your unit’s system (see Performance Evaluation Period FAQ above). Contract, classified reviews must completed during the calendar year (contractual requirement).

Classified non-union per diem staff

Q: Do classified, non-union per diem staff have to have Performance Evaluation?

A: Per UW HR, no they do not.

Classified staff cycle

Q: If classified staff had an evaluation in the past 12 months, do they need to use the new PDP form now?

A: Classified staff will stay on whatever performance evaluation cycle they are on now. The new PDP form is approved for use by classified staff if you want to adopt the form now.

Process adoption for classified staff and other HS units

Q: Are we required to use the PDP form and is the expectation and requirement that employees will fill out both pages? 

A: Kelly’s response from HR is that the preference would be to use the same PDP form.  If you have unit-specific guidance that helps extract information

Q: Will the PDP form be used for classified staff as well?

A: Yes. The immediate focus is on professional staff to comply with the Provost’s 6/30/14 deadline, but it can and will be used in the future for classified and professional staff across all nine Health Sciences units.

Q: When do you think this new PDP process will be applied to classified staff?

A: Once HSA has successfully met the 6/30/14 deadline for professional staff, we will establish a program roll-out for the full process, including the 360◦ performance survey component. This full Performance Management Process will provide training opportunities for supervisors of all staff levels across the nine HS units. It will likely take a full year for the complete roll-out and implementation.

Q: How do we accommodate someone who requests peer feedback? 

A: In the future we will be requiring the 360 peer feedback component, but at this time we will not be using them.

Process steps – Employee Self-evaluation

Q:  Is it a requirement that employees submit a self evaluation?

A:  There is no requirement that employees (pro or classified) complete the self- evaluation.  Self-evaluation is offered as an opportunity for employees to provide their perspective on performance.  Additionally, if employees self-select out of this opportunity, it should not be considered a performance issue.  This process is intended to encourage ongoing conversations regarding performance.  Over the course of time, supervisors may become more experienced and comfortable with soliciting and employees with providing self-evaluation information.  To complete the form, the supervisor may elect to add a notation:  “employee self-evaluation offered, respectfully declined”.

Q: Do we fill out the column “Performance Expectations” before we give it to employees for their self-evaluation?

A: Yes. Again, the unit practice will help standardize this step of the process.

Q: Will the supervisor see the employee’s self-evaluation before they meet?

A: Each unit can determine the order of events regarding the employee self-evaluation. HSA believes there is value in allowing the employee to complete the self-evaluation without being influenced by the supervisor’s perspective. The subsequent discussion can reveal areas of alignment and/or disconnect. If the unit timeline allows, the supervisor could be providing the employee with the draft PDP while the employee is providing the supervisor with their self-evaluation.

Q: Do you give the employee a copy of the supervisor’s review ahead of time?

A: Yes; the specific timeline can be determined by your unit. Typical intervals provide the employee at least 2 business days to review the form prior to the scheduled performance discussion.

Q: When does the employee do their self-evaluation? Is that step prior to when the supervisor gives them a draft PDP?

A: Each Health Sciences Unit will determine the timeline for the steps in the Performance Development Process. It’s recommended that employees complete the self-evaluation prior to receiving the supervisor’s draft. This approach allows for employees to assess their own performance and career training/development needs and plan for the discussion with their supervisors.

Q: Do we give the employee this form to fill out?

A: Our HR Consultant responded that using the HSA PDP form makes a lot of sense for consistency and focusing the performance discussions. Each HSA unit will determine which portions of the PDP form will be involved in the self-evaluation process.

Q: If an employee puts a project on their self-evaluation that I as a supervisor didn’t know, can I add that to my final PDP?

A: Yes. This often happens when employees are encouraged to provide significant accomplishments, performance goals and training/development needs.  The supervisor incorporates the new information as appropriate and schedules a brief follow-up with the employee for final signatures.

Training Funds for FY15

Q: Training Development funds for FY15 – how will they be utilized?

A:  As discussed in the recent Performance Management training sessions, there are training funds for FY15 that will be available for each HSA unit and they will be dispersed for each permanent employee.  The back page of the Performance Development Plan will be very helpful in determining the use of these funds based on the employee needs and the recommendations of the Supervisor.  Please check with your Administrator or Director on the availability of these funds.

Standardized Metrics

Q: Should metrics be specific to your HS unit or should they be standardized?

A: Specific to your unit for now. In the future, HSA plans to have identified metrics calibrated across the nine HS units as we develop performance data and identify trends. As we establish the new HSA Performance Management Process and for the next year or so, each HS unit will work with their unit strategic goals. HSA Executive Director Dave Anderson has required each of the HS Directors to provide strategic goals or strategic plans for their units.

Meets Expectations rating

Q: Can a communication be sent out to all the units to explain and reinforce that “Meets Expectations” is the new standard.

A: Yes.  Excellent idea.

Performance Check-in Frequency

Q: How often do you suggest doing check-ins focused on performance development?

A: The short answer is – as often as needed. The performance management cycle describes communication and feedback as a continual cycle. Each unit can provide guidance on how often the check-ins occur or delegate that authority to the supervisor. Factors to consider include; if the employee is a new hire or established staff member, if there has been position or unit re-organization, if significant performance variances have occurred, new strategies or expectations are implemented, etc. UW HR states that a comprehensive performance review must be conducted at least annually. Each Health Sciences Unit will determine the review schedule for their respective unit after the 6/30/14 professional staff deadline is met. However, our current HSA training emphasizes that performance management is a year-round cycle involving consistent, periodic communications and check-ins that support the formal evaluation documentation.

Performance evaluation period

Q: What is the evaluation period? The last set of raises came in September, 2013.

A: We are assuming that there has been some level of performance management, observations and feedback regardless of the 6/30/14 professional staff deadline and the implementation of this new HSA process. If you’re team or unit set September as the start of your new performance cycle, you can establish the performance evaluation period as September 1, 2013 – June 1, 2014.

Legislative impact

Q: It seems like these best practices models just come around when the legislature allows for raises.

A: We are focusing on consistency and quality going forward. Regardless of legislative action, comprehensive performance review is a requirement and a responsible, effective way to elevate the capacity of our workforce. As we see the performance management cycle, the performance communication, observations and feedback occur throughout the year. This new system will help standardize our activities, establish some rigor in the process, and allow us to bridge to the future UW HR/P performance component.

Rating perfection

Q: How do you rate an employee who is perfect across the scope of their work responsibilities?

A: Clone him or her…Seriously, that level of consistent perfection is rare. You need to rate the employee honestly and determine if the position description and performance expectations are realistic and aligned with position, team and unit strategies. If you review the threshold for the “Exceeds Expectations” rating you’ll see that there is an action point for supervisors. This level of performance requires the supervisor to take active measures to recognize, reward, retain and/or advance this employee. At the point of the performance management cycle when the supervisor completes the PDP, specific documentation that supports the rating is required.

PDP form: development or review?

Q: How is the Performance Development Plan (PDP) form similar of different from a performance review?

A: The PDP incorporates elements of a performance review and development plan. The front page includes a framework of mission alignment, statement of performance factors and performance expectations, examples of actual performance and ratings. The back page includes achievements during the evaluation phase, performance and development/training goals and plans for the upcoming cycle. Individuals may want to post the back page in their office or desktop for convenient reference throughout the cycle.

Added performance expectations

Q: If you set out expectations outside of the evaluation period, what type of documentation is needed and is an employee signature required?

A: Our HR Consultant responded that the best approach is to send a memo to the employee to summarize the meeting discussion, including the additional expectations. This simple follow-through will provide sufficient documentation.

Development Planning

Q: Can we add new projects for the next performance cycle in the future?

A: Yes, it is an effective use of the back page of the PDP.  You can post to desktop or in your office as a planning and status check reference during ongoing performance check-ins.  If supervisors add significant performance expectations, it’s recommended the supervisor document with a memo (see Added Performance Expectations above).

PDP form format

Q: Is the PDP form specific to HSA?

A: Yes. It is a modified version of a standard Washington State form that has been widely used at the UW. UW HR has approved the revisions that allowed HSA to use the form across all staff classifications, condense and clarify the rating scale and frame add additional language regarding mission and strategic alignment.

Rater – Reviewer clarification

Q: Is the supervisor considered the rater or reviewer on the PDP form?

A: The supervisor is typically considered the primary rater and the secondary reviewer may be optional. Each HS unit will determine its policy regarding primary rater and secondary reviewer signatures and comments. In certain classifications, the bargaining unit requires a secondary reviewer. Other factors that may be consider are unit practices or policies that require secondary review based on new hire or re-organization status, rating thresholds (certain number of ‘exceeds’ or ‘needs’ ratings require secondary review) or if there are existing HR actions planned related to promotion or corrective issues in progress. The supervisor is considered the “rater” and the secondary reviewer may be optional.

Difference between front and back pages of PDP form

Q: It looks like majority of the PDP back page is forward looking? Is that true for attendance?

A: The attendance line item on the back page reflects the employee’s actual and/or attendance performance behavior (delegates appropriately, prepares for absences, communicates absence, provides access to position information/documents, etc.) for the observed performance cycle.  If attendance affects performance or impacts unit (positively or negatively), it can be noted on the front page in “examples and comments” column.

Rating demographics

Q: It seems the vast majority of staff will “meet expectations”; what things stand out as “exceeds expectation?

A: The level of performance that consistently exceeds requirements at a very high quality level. The threshold definition we covered in our PDP training states:  Performance consistently exceeds requirements, reaching a very high level found only in a small percentage of people; with minimum supervision or directions, achievements are well beyond those expected at this level.  Has a unique, positive, and outstanding impact on the organization.

HSA Strategy Map

Q: You displayed the HSA Strategy Map in the training sessions.  To make sure the units are aligned to HSA and the UW, will we be getting the HSA strategy map?

A: Yes.  The HSA mission, vision and values are available here.

PDP handouts clarification

Q:  Two handouts were provided during the supervisor training. The handouts were sample completed performance development plans- one was labeled “Future” and the other “Current.” Unfortunately, I cannot figure out what was different between the two and I’m uncertain if the differences were discussed in the training. Will you please clarify?

A:  The PDP sample labeled “Current” reflects a PDP at a basic level.  Given the 6/30/14 deadline for professional staff, we provided the sample “Current” PDP as a more basic version to meet that deadline and still apply the fundamentals of performance management and develop.  The “Future” version has more information, particularly in the performance expectations and the supervisor’s examples and comments columns.  The samples showed bulleted content but standard narrative text works as well.  The Word document will adjust to the amount of text personnel input into the form.

Filling out the PDP form

Q:  The overview was good but I find it difficult to boil expectations and comments down into bullet statements and acronyms and retaining clarity, especially with classified staff. I have expectations outlined in job descriptions, work assignment letters and section policies and procedures. Expectations are very broad and can’t fit in the box provided and listed or even referring to all the expectations from such a small box is difficult. Is this place intended to just be examples?

A:  The previous answer in ‘PDP handouts clarification’ responds to part of your question.  The training referenced including significant job expectations. You can use the job description as a source document as well as an attachment when developing and discussing the PDP.  The sample’s bulleted approach and text references to specific line items in the job description, professional staff position description form and HSA strategy map demonstrate the PDP as a strategic evaluation and planning document rather than a clone of the job description.

Training documents

Q:  Will there be examples we can use as reference?

A:  The Performance Management Training presentation and documents are available on the HSA website under the supervisor log-in tab.  We will continue to upload useful tools and information as we move along in the implementation.

UPDATED 6/3/2014