The COVID-19 pandemic has altered routines and work procedures across campus since March and in the foreseeable future. Change and uncertainty bring stress to all of us. That is why annual performance reviews are especially important. There has never been a better time for supervisors to recognize employee accomplishments and engage in respectful, caring discussions with each of their team members about job responsibilities, goals and development opportunities.
1. Take this opportunity to engage and grow
This year, Human Resources has introduced the Individual Development Plan, a process to help employees and their supervisors identify development goals, success metrics and specific activities and resources required to meet those metrics. See a sample Individual Development Plan here and download the form and learn more about the process on the updated Performance Management site, which includes detailed answers to common questions on performance-review procedures and important information on using the updated performance management app developed by Human Resources.
2. Complete by Oct. 31
Eligible full-time and part-time regular-status employees in workgroups A and F are expected to complete performance reviews by Oct. 31. (If you don’t know your workgroup, use the UAB Employee Workforce App to find out.) The deadline was extended from the previously communicated Sept. 30 date following COVID-19-related disruptions to campus operations.
3. Faculty follow a different process
Supervisors and employees in workgroup A are encouraged to use the performance management app for performance reviews, which includes online forms for employee self-assessment and manager review. The app was opened for use July 15.
Performance assessment and merit increases
As was discussed in the town hall for employees July 13, expense reductions to meet UAB’s budget shortfall related to the COVID-19 pandemic mean that the university is not planning to proceed with a merit plan in the upcoming budget year. Please note that performance assessment is a critical part of management and employee development and is not tied to the availability of a merit increase pool..
Note that faculty follow a separate but parallel process. Chairs and other faculty leadership are required to provide written performance assessments. Like the staff evaluations, faculty evaluations must be submitted online through Human Resources and will be maintained in the permanent HR files for reporting purposes. Detailed expectations, processes and other standards for faculty evaluations continue to be managed and maintained by the Office of the Provost and at the school level.
4. Redesigned by you
The performance management app was piloted by 2,000 employees this past year and extensively redesigned based on their feedback. Examples include clarifying the five-label rating scale that has replaced the numerical scale used for past performance reviews and revised criteria for managers to determine their ratings.
5. Take COVID-19 disruption into account
During the employee self-assessment and manager review, revisit if and/or how the employee’s job role and goals changed due to limited/modified business operations. Both parties should review goals and progress against goals, recognize and celebrate accomplishments and discuss developmental areas. The review should clearly state how roles and goals will continue to be affected for the foreseeable future.
6. Assess performance while working remotely
Employees who worked remotely for some or all of the past months may have been working differently, but they are still expected to maintain business continuity and deliver results.
7. Accounting for time on furlough
For employees furloughed this spring, the review time period will reflect furlough. The time on furlough will not affect your performance rating, however.
8. Hold your performance conversation safely
For effective dialogue, Human Resources recommends using Zoom or video chat as the best option. If employees don't have access to a video-conferencing tool, supervisors may schedule a phone conversation instead.
9. This is an opportunity to model UAB’s Shared Values
Conversations about performance are an opportunity to live out UAB’s Shared Values — including respect, collaboration and accountability. “Every performance conversation should leave both parties feeling heard and valued,” Jones said.
10. How to navigate computer access
The performance-management app is a completely online process. Employees who do not have computer access should talk to their supervisor to discuss alternative ways to complete the performance review.
11. Follow these tips for an effective and productive performance conversation.
Human Resources has recommendations for ways in which employees and supervisors can make the most of the performance-review process.
- Take the initiative to make things better. Every conversation you have with your supervisor is an opportunity to discuss what’s working well and what needs improvement.
- Ask your supervisor for regular time to discuss changes in needs and your performance toward annual goals or targets.
- Understand your supervisor’s priorities; if you aren’t sure, ask.
- If you don’t feel qualified to take on a task, discuss it with your supervisor. Perhaps you need training — extensive, free resources are available in UAB’s LinkedIn Learning platform.
- Build your own personal development plan, and make it your mission to learn something new every day. Learn more about individual development plans on this page under the “NEW: Individual Development Plan” tab.
- Keep up with books and articles on your specialty, and participate in continuing education.
- Take advantage of UAB’s Educational Assistance Program to enroll in undergraduate or graduate courses, in person or online.
- Read the UAB Reporter and other UAB news and information to keep up with the institution’s goals and initiatives and understand how your job fits in.
- Find a mentor to help you take advantage of workplace opportunities and address challenges. And consider being a mentor to others.
- Start by reviewing the employee’s self-assessment
- Have the employee review the year from their perspective.
- What went well during the year?
- What new roles did people take on? Will they continue?
- What were the challenges?
- How can the manager provide support?
- Discuss how things changed and how the employee adapted
- Revisit projects, deadlines and priorities
- How did work change during COVID-19?
- How did goals and priorities change?
- Reassess priorities, success metrics and quality level given limited business operations and resources.
- Revisit projects, deadlines and priorities
- Communicate with respect and care
- Listen for understanding
- Ask for feedback and provide feedback: focus on the behavior, not the person
- Ask open-ended questions to further understanding and dialogue
- Keep in mind the intangibles: emotional, cognitive and physical fatigue
- Plan for follow up and schedule regular check-ins
- Focus forward: Goals and development
- Define performance goals: consider disruptions as a potential for new opportunities
- Capture how can strengths and talents be used in new ways
- Utilize the optional Individual Development Plan (see the “NEW: Individual Development Plan” tab on the linked page). This is a tool to encourage ongoing professional development.
- For schools and units already using an individual development plan, continue using your form.
- Take advantage of Organizational Learning and Development resources to assist you.