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Performance Management Program

Managing the Performance of Employees Subject to the State Personnel Act (SPA)

Section: HR
Part: Policy
Statement: 16
Effective Date:7/15/2002


The work performance of all permanent employees subject to the State Personnel Act ("classified" or "SPA" employees) will be appraised at least annually by the immediate supervisor of the employee and reviewed by a higher level supervisor, as appropriate. The appraisal of the employee's performance is to be job-related and not influenced by gender, ethnic category, religion, physical or mental handicap, or age (as provided by law).  By adopting this policy, the university seeks to achieve the objectives listed below.

The information contained in this policy statement is to be communicated to all classified (SPA) employees and all supervisors who participate in the performance appraisal of classified (SPA) employees.


The Performance Management System has the following objectives:

  1. Clarify performance expectations in conjunction with the position description and organizational goals in order to ensure employees know what is expected of them.
  2. Provide the basis upon which an employee makes a commitment to fully acceptable performance.
  3. Improve employee performance by providing feedback through effective two-way communication with the appropriate supervisor.
  4. Provide an objective and equitable basis for appraising employee performance.
  5. Provide a fair and equitable basis for making personnel management decisions including permanent status, promotion, performance pay, development opportunities, reduction in force, and discipline.
The Performance Management Process

The performance management process is the sequence of actions supervisors take when interacting with employees about their job performance and includes: determining the key elements of the job, developing performance expectations, providing an interim review of job performance, and providing an annual performance appraisal. Interaction between supervisor and employee is required at each step of the process. 

1. Key Elements of the Job

Before realistic performance expectations can be established, the work to be performed needs to be clearly articulated and prioritized based on the importance of each task and its value to the university. Duties and responsibilities for employees are determined by the appropriate supervisor and normally include:

    1. Routine tasks/assignments. These are tasks that are "assigned" on a regular basis and affect the goals and objectives of the university.
    2. Special projects and assignments. These are non-routine tasks that the employee and the supervisor have mutually developed in priority order.

The employee's job description and the organizational goals for the department or office serve as important source documents in identifying the key elements of every job.

2. Performance Expectations

At the beginning of each annual performance cycle, each classified employee will meet with his/her supervisor to jointly develop performance expectations, which identify minimum acceptable levels (meets expectations) of performance for the employee. The supervisor is expected to: 

  1. Explain the performance management process to the employee so that the employee understands the importance of his/her role in the process as well as of the supervisor and the reviewer (supervisor's supervisor).
  2. Take the lead in developing and subsequently updating performance expectations at the beginning of each annual performance cycle.
  3. Provide the employee a signed and dated copy of the performance expectations (work plan).
  4. Use the techniques of modeling, coaching, and reinforcing throughout the cycle to sustain good performance and improve poor performance.

3. Interim Performance Review (Work plans)

The interim review is conducted at the midpoint of the Performance Management Cycle and provides the opportunity for the supervisor to meet the employee and informally review the employee's progress in meeting the performance expectations established for each significant task and to make appropriate modifications, if appropriate. The supervisor is expected to: 

  1. Take the lead in meeting with the employee to discuss performance as measured against expectations.
  2. Communicate an interim rating of actual performance for each significant task of the employee.
  3. Provide guidance for improving performance, as appropriate.
  4. Communicate an interim overall rating to the employee.
  5. Continue to model, reinforce, and coach the employee.

4. Annual Performance Appraisal

Annually, at the end of the Performance Management Cycle, every supervisor will meet with the employees supervised to review each employee's actual performance as compared to the expectations established at the beginning  of the evaluation period.  In conducting the performance appraisal, the supervisor is expected to:

  1. Discuss how well the work was performed, identify good performance, and identify performance that needs to be improved.
  2. Determine, communicate, and explain the rating of each significant task in terms of meeting, exceeding, or failing to meet the established expectation.
  3. Discuss the overall performance rating and develop, where appropriate, a plan to improve overall performance and performance for each expectation, which has not been rated on the "meets expectations" level.
  4. Record the results of the performance evaluation and performance interview on the Performance Management Appraisal Form.

The Performance Management Appraisal Form is to be signed and dated by the employee, supervisor, and reviewer (supervisor's supervisor).

Components of the Performance Management System

The university's system of performance management will include the following components:

1. An individual work plan prepared annually for each classified (SPA) employee which includes performance expectations and incorporates an interim review of performance.

In completing the work plan, performance competencies and behavioral competencies are included and further broken down into significant job responsibilities for which performance expectations are developed using indicators which measure both results and behaviors such as quality, quantity, timeliness, manner of performance, cost effectiveness, and quantity.  Each supervisor is expected to identify at least three (3) workplace behavioral competencies, of which one must be "customer service" for  incorporation into each employee's work plan.

Information about the employee's performance is obtained from reports, observations, customer feedback, review of the work products, etc.

Performance expectations are written to establish the minimum acceptable level of performance.  This should provide the motivated employee an opportunity to exceed expectations.

Performance expectations for classified (SPA) supervisors and managers must include expectations for the significant tasks of Performance Management and Equal Opportunity.

Performance expectations are to be established for probationary employees and reviewed at end of the probationary period to determine if the employee will be given permanent status.  The work plan will be completed, signed, and dated by the employee, supervisor and supervisor's supervisor, after which a copy will be given to the employee and the Office of Human Resouyrces for the employee's personnel file. 

2. An overall performance rating scale of five levels is defined as follows:

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE (5):  Performance is far above the defined job expectations. The employee consistently does outstanding work, regularly going far beyond what is expected of employees in this 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 (4):  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 (3):  Performance meets the defined job expectations.  The employee generally performs according to the expectations and is doing a good job.  The employee is doing the job at the level expected for employees in this position.  The good performance is due to the employee's own effort and skills.

BELOW GOOD PERFORMANCE (2):  Performance may meet some of the expectations but does not meet the remainder.  The employee generally is doing the job at minimal level, and improvement is needed to fully meet the expectations.  Performance is less than a good job.  Lapses in performance are due to the employee's lack of effort or skills.

UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE (1):  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 employee in this position.  Unsuccessful job performance is due to employee's own lack of effort or skills.

3. A performance appraisal (Performance Management Appraisal Form) is completed on every employee annually (no less than every 12 months).  A development plan will be included as part of the performance appraisal.

In completing the Performance Management Appraisal Form, the supervisor is expected to meet with the employee to ensure the accuracy of the primary job responsibilities and significant task performance expectations as recorded on the work plan form. 

The supervisor's evaluation of the individual significant tasks and the overall performance is then completed, after which a performance interview is held with the employee.  The employee is provided an opportunity to comment on the supervisor's evaluation.

NOTE:  The Appraisal Form is to be dated and signed by the supervisor and the employee and may be sent to the reviewer (supervisor's supervisor)  before being discussed with the employee by the supervisor.  If the employee refuses to acknowledge that a review and discussion occurred by signing the appraisal, the supervisor will have a third party to acknowledge the employee's refusal sign and forward the appraisal to the reviewer.  The reviewer is to sign and date the appraisal and provide the employee a copy of the completed Performance Appraisal.

The content of appraisals is considered to be "information personal in nature" and such is releasable only on a "need-to-know" basis.

No information contained in a completed evaluation may be changed without the employee's knowledge. Changes require the date and initials of the employee, supervisor and reviewer.

As part of the evaluation process, the employee and supervisor are expected to:

  • Discuss strengths and identify areas for further improvement/development.
  • Agree on a plan for improvement/development and record the plan in the section of the Appraisal Form established for developmental planning.

This will serve as an action plan for maintaining good performance and improving performance determined to be in need of improvement.

The plan is to include the knowledge and skills that the employee needs to acquire or improve and time frames for completion or demonstrated improvements.

4. An education/training program to provide information and skills necessary for employees, supervisors, and managers to effectively operate the system of performance management.

This program will be carried out by the Training and Staff Development Specialist, under the guidance of the Director of Human Resources.

5. A dispute resolution procedure using the established grievance procedures for classified (SPA) employees.

This procedure will be used for reviewing and resolving disputes concerning performance ratings and/or performance salary decisions.

Relationship of Performance Management to Other Personnel Systems

Performance Management is an integral part of the overall management of the university.  Information from the Performance Management System pertaining to classified (SPA) employees will be one of the factors considered in making other personnel management decisions.  Decisions concerning promotions, transfers, training and staff development, discipline, and other personnel actions are influenced by information from performance appraisals.  Performance salary increase decisions come directly from annual performance appraisals.

In order to achieve internal consistency in personnel administration, the following requirements apply: 

  1. A current Performance Appraisal must be on file for an employee before any of the favorable personnel actions listed above can be approved.
  2. Favorable personnel actions must be consistent with an employee's current performance appraisal.
  3. Personnel action requests that are inconsistent with an employee's current performance appraisal will require a request and written justification for exception to policy.

Trainees and probationary employees are required to have a work plan completed within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of employment.  Trainees and probationary employees who are employed on or before the first day of an annual Performance Management Cycle and who hold a permanent appointment by the last day of the cycle will be considered to have worked the entire cycle.

Employees whose duties and responsibilities change (either in their current position or in a new position) must have a new work plan form completed within thirty (30) days of the new assignment.

A performance Appraisal Transfer Form is to be completed prior to the last day of work for employees who transfer within State Government.  The employee, supervisor, and reviewer are required to date and sign the form.


The Chancellor is responsible for ensuring the Performance Management System is developed and implemented in accordance with the requirements of the Legislature and the State Personnel Commission and is approved by the State Personnel Director.  The Chancellor is also responsible for determining sanctions to be levied if all provisions of this policy are not met.

The Manager of Employee Relations/Training has the responsibility to:

  1. Develop, publish, implement, and administer procedures consistent with University and State policies pertaining to performance management.
  2. Provide training and assistance to effectively implement the Performance Management System.
  3. Provide supervisors necessary documents and forms in a timely manner to facilitate compliance with the suspense date associated with the Performance Management System.
  4. Review completed work plan forms and appraisal forms to ensure consistency, timeliness, and compliance with university and State policy.
  5. Provide technical assistance to employees, supervisors, and managers.
  6. Provide appropriate management reports to include:

    1. Spread of ratings within each department/office for employees by gender, ethnicity, and occupational activity code.
    2. Annual report to the Office of State Personnel.

Supervisors at all levels are responsible for effectively managing the performance of subordinate employees in accordance with this policy and the procedures established by the Director of Human Resources. This responsibility shall be included as a significant task of the work plan for all classified (SPA) supervisors and managers.

Special Note:

To offer as much flexibility to offices and units throughout the university as it regards when to conducting the Annual Performance Appraisal Review, the following Work Cycle options are available to the Unit Directors and above:

Cycle A May 1 Apr 30
Cycle B June 1 May 31
Cycle C July 1 June 30

Fayetteville State University operates under Cycle B.  Yearly appraisals are to be complete on or before May 31 and submitted to the Office of Human Resources no later than the first Friday in June.  For questions or concerns, contact Theresa (Terri) Tibbs, Manager of Employee Relations at (910) 672-1455 or come to the office located on the lower level of the Barber Building, room 5.


A Constituent Institution of The University of North Carolina