A critical element in the performance review cycle is the collecting and delivering of effective feedback on the staff member’s performance throughout the review period. Feedback should be comprehensive and obtained from a range of relevant stakeholders.
In order to get a more complete view of the staff member’s performance it may be necessary for you to collect information from a variety of sources. This is especially important if you do not have contact with the staff member on a frequent basis. For example, you and the staff member may be located on different campuses or most of the staff member’s work and direction may come from someone other than you. This can happen, for example, in laboratory situations. It might be appropriate to talk to clients (students, staff from other units, academics in the faculty, managers) to see how well a service is being provided. If the staff member supervises other staff it may also be appropriate to get feedback from them.
In some cases staff may have more than one supervisor or take direction from another person or a committee. In these cases, you will need to discuss with all parties how information on performance will be communicated and assessed.
When gathering performance information, remember that you want to be able to give the staff member specific performance-related feedback, using examples.
- Keep the feedback in context and perspective. One complaint from a client does not necessarily mean that a staff member is not doing a good job. There may be numerous satisfied clients who do not pass on their views to either you or the staff member
- There may be extenuating circumstances preventing the staff member from working effectively
- Don’t judge the staff member’s overall performance by the most recent activity/project completed. Consistently monitoring performance throughout the year will give a more balanced picture
- You should also distinguish the individual’s contribution from that of other members in a team, although in the case of team projects or deliverables you might also want to consider how effectively the individual collaborates with other members of team.
- The ultimate aim for you as a supervisor is to try and get as complete a picture as possible of the staff member’s performance in order to give a fair evaluation of performance.
Assessing performance when there is no work plan
Only in extraordinary circumstances would a work plan not be available. In rare situations performance can be assessed against any one or a combination of the following:
- Position descriptions with emphasis on principle accountabilities identified as priorities over the previous twelve months.
- Business and/or individual assigned priorities.
- Written or verbal expectations.
When assessing performance in relation to principal accountabilities supervisors need to be aware that principal accountabilities may vary in terms of significance or difficulty and may be given more or less emphasis in a particular year depending upon the business unit’s priorities. It is important to ensure a work plan is created for the following year.