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Performance Management Overview

Performance management is an ongoing, collaborative process between managers and employees to build relationships; set expectations and goals; give and receive feedback and discuss professional development needs and career aspirations. The performance management process consists of several steps:

  1. Setting expectations and individual performance goals (in alignment with UC Merced’s Strategic Plan)
  2. Giving and receiving feedback
  3. Engaging and developing employees
  4. Conducting performance appraisals
  5. Motivating, recognizing, and rewarding employees
  6. Coaching for performance
  7. Managing corrective action.

Performance management is a key piece of employee engagement, both from an individual employee perspective and from a broader organizational perspective. Employees who have regular and meaningful performance discussions with their managers are more productive and have more opportunities to do challenging work and learn new skills.

UC Core Competency ABCs

Career success in an organization is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors/competencies you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others at work.

The University of California system has collaboratively adopted key competencies for all staff, including supervisors and managers. UC Core Competency ABCs provide a guideline to identify skills of the individual employee.  Through shared competencies, staff and managers create an environment of continuous learning, career growth and development, and contribute to the overall success of the university.

Performance Feedback and Coaching

Feedback is a powerful mechanism that supports the annual performance cycle. To be effective, feedback needs to be timely, specific, descriptive, and constructive. Giving feedback is a crucial part of an open, honest working relationship. Employees need to understand how they are doing so they can continue, correct, or improve performance. Feedback is a continuous process that aligns the efforts of the employees and supervisors with individual, departmental, and strategic goals.

Coaching allows opportunity for a shared understanding of the priorities, objectives, and address needed improvement and development. Managers have a responsibility to recognize and reinforce strong performance; as well as identify and encourage development where it is needed. By observing and providing detailed feedback, you play a critical role in the employee's engagement, continued success and improve team collaboration Managers should not micro-manage employees, but rather focus their attention on results achieved, as well as individual behaviors and team dynamics affecting the work environment.

Positive feedback involves communicating positive performance and outcomes. Make this type of feedback timely, specific, and frequent as recognition for effective performance is a powerful motivator.

Constructive feedback alerts an employee to areas in need of improvement. Feedback should be descriptive, detailed, and focused on the action, not the person. The main purpose is to help the employee understand where they stand in relation to the expected performance and behaviors. This feedback is aimed at achieving a positive outcome by providing the employee with comments, guidance, or suggestions that is useful for their work.

Managers should meet regularly with their employees to:

  1. Assess progress made toward meeting performance objectives and departmental goals
  2. Identify barriers that may prevent an employee from accomplishing performance objective and what can be done to overcome them.
  3. Share feedback on progress relative to the goals
  4. Identify changes in the work plan that may be required because of a shift in organization priorities or when an employee is required to take on new responsibilities
  5. Determine if any extra support is required from the managers or others to assist the employee in achieving his or her objectives

If an employee is not meeting performance expectations, managers need to provide constructive, specific, and timely feedback. It’s important to do this before an issue escalates into a significant problem.

Consider the following factors as you prepare to conduct a constructive feedback discussion:

  • Consider the issue(s) you want to address in the meeting and confirm the facts of the performance or behavior problem. Make sure you know and can describe the details of the event(s) (provide specific examples) that necessitated the coaching session.
  • Schedule a meeting that provides privacy and minimal interruptions.
  • Approach the discussion with objectivity and clarity.
  • Describe performance or behavior issues in an objective, factual, and nonjudgmental fashion.
  • Identify the impact the employee’s actions/behaviors have on coworkers or business operations
  • Have the employee describe the situation from their perspective and provide an explanation. Be open to any new insights that might be relevant to the issue.
  • Respond to denial, blaming of others, etc., by restating factual information and the effects of the performance or behavior issue on co-workers or business operations.
  • State the expected performance/behavior and memorialize your discussion with the employee for shared understanding of expectations.

The goal of performance feedback is to reinforce positive performance/conduct and/or to address poor performance/behavior, the process is not intended to be punitive in nature. If no improvement is made or there are repeat occurrences, correction action may be appropriate. Please refer to our corrective action webpage for more information.

Annual Performance Appraisal Process

Each manager and supervisor is required by UC policy and by the applicable labor contract to conduct annual performance appraisals. Please refer to our Annual Performance Appraisal Process for more information.