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Employee Excellence Program (EEP)

Supervisor's Guide


Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville is committed to intellectual leadership and excellence in both developing new knowledge and conveying that knowledge. Fulfillment of this mission depends on the unique partnership between the University and its staff. The people who work here are SIUE's human resource, and the University respects each person's worth, dignity, capacity to contribute, and desire for personal growth and accomplishment. In return, SIUE depends on its staff to share a commitment to work for the achievement of the University's goals.

To achieve the University's goals and to promote personal growth and accomplishment for each employee, the Employee Excellence Program (EEP) has been developed by a team of staff members from the Office of Human Resources and other departments on campus, including civil service and professional staff.

About This Guide
This guide is designed as a general overview of the Employee Excellence Program and supplements the EEP supervisory training workshops given through the Office of Human Resources.

About the Employee Excellence Program
Designed to be an ongoing process, the Employee Excellence Program will:

  • enhance communication between supervisor and employee
  • clarify job responsibilities in the context of department/unit goals
  • provide performance feedback by reinforcing positive performance and supplying assistance where improvement is needed
  • encourage employee growth in current or future positions
  • provide an opportunity for coaching, counseling, mentoring
  • provide a basis for making human resource decisions.

How the Program Works
The Employee Excellence Program is a process through which a supervisor communicates with an employee about job purpose and components to establish a clear understanding of desired performance results and to provide the support needed to achieve those results. The program cycle consists of performance planning, tracking, and appraisal.

Both supervisors and employees have opportunities and responsibilities in each phase of the Employee Excellence Program.

Supervisor Accountability in the EEP
It is the supervisor's responsibility to follow the EEP process, including timely and thoughtful completion of performance appraisals. Annual reviews on supervisors' performance will take this responsibility into account.

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The Employee Excellence Program Process

The continuous cycle of the Employee Excellence Program

Phase 1
Performance & Development Planning

  • come to mutual understanding about major areas of responsibility & development plan
  • establish performance standards (optional)

Phase 2
Performance Tracking & Interim Feedback (Informal)

  • make needed adjustments in responsibilities, expectations, priorities
  • coach the employee
  • give recognition & guidance
  • review performance

Phase 3
Performance Appraisal (Summary of Performance)

  • prepare for the appraisal discussion
  • conduct the appraisal discussion
  • can include next year planning for duties/objectives & development


At the beginning of the performance period, the supervisor arranges a meeting with each employee to discuss and reach a mutual understanding of job purpose, the major areas of responsibility and objectives, priorities, and a development plan. Performance standards may also be established. The planning phase is important for both current and new employees.

Defining Job Duties, Responsibilities, and Objectives
Employees are more likely to commit to achieving objectives when they understand why the objectives are important to their own success and the success of the unit; when they view the objectives as fair and achievable; and when they feel the supervisor is receptive and responsive to their concerns and suggestions. The supervisor has the option of having the employee create the first draft of these responsibilities.

An up-to-date PDQ, or department planning documents can provide a basis for identifying areas of responsibility. For some positions, the position description will not be useful in defining major responsibilities due to special projects or other major assignments. In these cases, specific annual objectives may be set. Objectives should be:

  • primarily under the employee's control (sufficient authority)
  • realistic yet challenging
  • observable.

A statement of objectives should include:

  • the action and the key result
  • a target or completion date
  • a way to measure the achievement of objectives, e.g., quality, quantity, timeliness, etc.

In the unusual situation where agreement cannot be reached, the supervisor should explore with the employee the areas of disagreement in detail. Although what the employee knows about his/her job is important, it is the supervisor's responsibility to make final decisions about job responsibilities and priorities.
Duties defined for the first performance period may need minimal revisions in subsequent years. Also, where there are a number of employees with very similar responsibilities, the planning process may be done on a group basis.

Defining Priorities
Once the major areas of responsibility have been identified, priorities need to be considered, i.e., which job elements are more important than others. An objective may be prioritized according to:

  • the need to accomplish it more quickly than others
  • greater difficulty
  • greater benefit to the department
  • relationship to other objectives or duties. During the planning process, responsibilities and behaviors of particular importance can be marked with an asterisk in the priority boxes of the EEP. This step will help employees focus their efforts and understand which responsibilities will be weighed more heavily in the performance appraisal phase.

Establishing Development Plans
In today's rapidly changing work environments, developing employee knowledge and skills is becoming increasingly important. A development plan is a specific course of action taken to:

  • increase or enhance performance
  • prepare an employee for new areas of responsibility
  • correct a performance deficiency.

Development is a joint responsibility of management and employees: management has the greatest responsibility to assist with development when it is required for an employee's current position; an employee has the primary responsibility for implementing development plans that are targeted at career advancement.
Development plans might include such topics as:

  • work habits, e.g., consistency, productivity, timeliness
  • skill building, e.g., technical, communication, problem-solving
  • job knowledge, e.g., clarification of procedures, policies
  • needed resources or support, e.g., equipment, clerical assistance
  • training, e.g., cross-training on other jobs, developing skills necessary for promotion education, e.g., advanced degree
  • job restructuring for diversification
  • lateral job transfers that could enhance career track opportunities.

The development plan should be determined by both supervisor and employee. For the supervisor, the development planning discussion is an important opportunity to provide career counseling and mentoring.

The following criteria should be considered when creating a development plan:

  • What does the supervisor feel is most important? Perhaps the employee could improve a weak area, or there could be improvement in an area that is already strong.
  • What area does the employee think needs development?
  • What area of development would bring prompt results? This would provide a successful experience and could lead to development in other areas.
  • What area of development would have the greatest payoff relative to the time, energy, and money expended?
  • Could developing a particular area be job-enriching or career-building for the employee?

The plan should include what will be done, by whom, and when. To be effective, the plan should be practical and specific, with commitment from both the supervisor and employee.

In most cases, development plans will involve employees whose performance rating is satisfactory or better. These employees may be involved in the following types of development:

Optional -development is desired to enhance performance. These development plans are documented in the unrated Section V. of the EEP form.

Required -development is required due to changes in technology, procedures, etc. These development plans are documented in rated Sections I or II of the EEP form, with follow-up evaluation through the regular EEP cycle.

Development plans for employees whose performance is rated less than satisfactory are described in the Phase 3 Performance Appraisal section.

Defining Standards of Performance
Defining standards for various levels of performance is an optional step, but can help to ensure that employees understand what action is necessary to achieve various ratings for each area of responsibility and general performance factor. To write performance standards, the various levels of job success must be defined. Specifically, standards should define:

  • the results or behaviors needed to achieve a "satisfactory" rating
  • the different results or behaviors needed to achieve ratings of "meritorious" or "excellent."

Performance standards should be achievable and also should motivate employees to work toward the next higher level of performance. The following are examples of indicators that may be used to differentiate various levels of performance:

  • quality
  • quantity
  • timing
  • comprehensiveness of results
  • independence
  • attainment of concurrent objectives
  • manner of performing work.

Departments are encouraged to develop performance standards to prevent disagreements or disputes over performance ratings. In the absence of specific standards, overall judgements of the employee's performance level must be made. It is important to ensure that this does not result in artificially inflated ratings as a means of achieving agreement with the employee.

(End of Phase 1-EEP Process Section)


During the performance period, the supervisor should meet with individual employees informally to discuss performance. These discussions provide the opportunity to review performance issues and, if necessary, to make adjustments in responsibilities, priorities, and performance standards (where applicable). This step of the performance cycle is crucial to prevent surprises at the performance appraisal phase especially where performance improvement is needed.

Mid-Cycle Changes in Responsibilities or Priorities
Responsibilities and priorities may be changed or adjusted during the performance period. When this occurs, the employee and supervisor should discuss the changes and make the appropriate modifications to Sections I and II of the EEP form. Mid-cycle modifications to the planning form should be initialed by both the employee and supervisor.

(End of Phase 2, EEP Process Section)


Performance appraisal is a systematic approach in which an oral and written review of an employee's past performance is made, and plans are established to develop, improve, and support future performance in the job. Performance appraisal is not a replacement for the disciplinary process, which requires different types of documentation and counseling.

About Performance Appraisals
Most supervisors give emp!oyees feedback about their performance on a day-to-day basis. Although this communication is valuable, it is usually focused on a specific task. From this, an employee could reach a general conclusion about his/her overall performance that is quite different from the supervisor's. A supervisor cannot assume that an employee truly knows how well he/she is doing a job. To ensure that the employee receives the right information, the performance appraisal is completed and the appraisal interview is conducted.

  • The appraisal interview is an opportunity for supervisor and employee to:
  • discuss various job components and their associated performance
  • consider the entire job and overall performance
  • communicate clearly about overall job expectations and plans.
  • enhance their working relationship so that maximum performance can be achieved
  • In addition. the appraisal interview is a chance for an employee to give feedback to the supervisor about the guidance and support he/she has received, and to suggest changes that could improve the working environment or help the unit achieve its goals.

Legal Context for the Performance Appraisal
Several statutes are relevant to the performance appraisal, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A review of court decisions under these statutes indicates that personnel decisions made by employers on the basis of employee performance appraisals may be overturned if:

  • the performance evaluation method has not been shown to be job-related or valid
  • the content of the performance evaluation has not been developed from thorough job analysis
  • evaluators have not been able to consistently observe the employees performing their work
  • evaluations have been based on subjective or vague factors
  • racial, sexual, age, etc., biases of evaluators may have influenced the evaluations
  • evaluations have not been collected and scored under standardized conditions.

The courts have found that where an employer has established performance appraisal policies, the employer has a duty to conduct performance reviews as well as to use reasonable care in performing these reviews. The courts have supported the performance appraisal in cases where:

  • the employer provided written instructions and training for evaluators
  • the system was results- or behavior-oriented
  • the system was based on job analysis
  • the employee knew in advance what was expected.

These factors were taken into consideration during the development of the Employee Excellence Program.

Appraisal Confidentiality

The sensitivity of the performance appraisal cannot be overemphasized. It is crucial that the performance appraisal interview and paperwork be handled with great care to ensure that the employee's confidentiality is respected. This applies to typing, copying, and departmental storage of these and related documents.

The original appraisal form becomes part of an employee's personnel record, kept in University Personnel Services. These materials may be reviewed in accordance with state laws.

Appraisal Schedule
Performance appraisals for regular employees are completed before the end of the probationary period and on an annual basis, unless more frequent appraisals are deemed necessary by the department. Typically annual performance appraisals are scheduled in the Spring semester of each year. Departments may, with the approval of University Personnel Services, permanently arrange to change this date if alternate timing provides a more effective performance cycle.

Who Conducts Appraisals
The performance appraisal is conducted by an employee's immediate supervisor, who usually has primary responsibility for the employee's hiring. training, development, assignment of work, and dismissal/discharge. If such a supervisory relationship does not exist, the department administrator should assign the responsibility for conducting the performance appraisal to the administrator who is most knowledgeable about the employee's job duties and performance. If an employee transfers to a new department, the former department is responsible for completing any evaluations that are due or that would be due during the employee's first three months in the new department.

In some cases, employees report to a group of faculty and/or staff. In these cases, all individuals who should provide information for the appraisal should sign their initials on the appraisal form to indicate that their input was given.

In cases where a lead worker ( i.e., someone who coordinates and monitors work but does not have the authority to hire, evaluate, or dismiss/discharge) has been designated, the supervisor may use the lead worker's input regarding the employee's work performance.

Preparing for the Performance Appraisal Interview
Adequate preparation is necessary for an effective performance appraisal interview. This discussion is a summation of a year's work for the employee and a year's coaching and managing for the supervisor. From this the stage will be set for the next performance period's working relationship and job performance. Therefore, care and attention must be exercised so that potential benefits for both parties will be realized. When preparing for the appraisal interview, supervisors should:

Review past performance information, including notes and other documentation, so the entire year's performance is considered, not just the last few months. This can prevent the "halo and horns" effect -- a tendency to over- or underrate an employee based on one or two incidents. Consider if there are other individuals whose input is needed. Define and analyze performance shortcomings and successes. Answer the questions, What is the purpose of this discussion? What should be the end result? Prepare a draft of the appraisal form.

  • Formulate tentative development plans and primary job duties for the next performance period.
  • Consider which communication style would be most effective. Individuals respond differently.
  • Arrange a meeting time with the employee. Before this meeting, supervisors have the option of providing the employee with a blank appraisal form to complete. Employees, also, have the opportunity to fill out an optional comments form.
  • Be sure that the employee understands the purpose of the appraisal interview and provide clarification, if necessary.
  • Arrange for privacy and no interruptions. If the supervisor's office is unsuitable, another location must be found.
  • Allow adequate time for the interview so the desired results can be achieved.
  • Plan the conclusion of the discussion by answering the questions:
    • How should this discussion end?
    • What should be the next steps?
  • Obtain and prepare whatever form or documentation that will be used to facilitate the discussion.

A well-prepared appraisal interview conveys that the employee is valued as a person and as an employee.

Climate During the Appraisal Interview
When an employee arrives for the appraisal interview, the supervisor should find ways to help him/her feel at ease. Informality and a friendly atmosphere can help. The supervisor should restate the purpose of the interview and outline what is to be accomplished. The discussion is a two-way conversation, a mutual review and planning exchange. Sincerity is important.

Conducting the Appraisal Interview
The appraisal interview accomplishes a number of objectives related to past performance, including:

  • discussing how the employee performed his/her responsibilities
  • identifying contributions and strengths
  • identifying performance areas that need improvement.

In addition, the interview focuses on future employee development, responsibilities, and performance. These objectives include:

  • motivating the employee to grow and increase performance
  • agreeing on development plans for areas that need improvement
  • establishing future expectations, including the major areas of responsibility for the next performance period.

Given the scope of these objectives, the discussion can be split into appraisal interview and a later development/planning session.

There are a number of ways that the supervisor can conduct the actual discussion. Some options are:

  • discussing job areas in order of their priority
  • asking the employee to identify areas in which he/she has done well and what helped the employee do well, then discussing the supervisor's perception of the areas of strength and accomplishment. The process is repeated for areas that need improvement. Any differences of opinion should be discussed.
  • Selecting an area of performance where the employee has been rated very favorably and discussing the evaluation, stating the specific reasons for it, then asking the employee to explain his/her rating of the same area of performance, and concluding by agreeing on what each will do to fully utilize that strength. The process is repeated for areas that need improvement, concluding with agreement on actions to be taken to enhance performance in that area.

The performance appraisal is also an excellent opportunity for the supervisor to receive feedback about the guidance and support he/she provides to the employee, what the employee thinks has been helpful and effective, and what would be more helpful or what could be better if done differently. An employee may feel vulnerable in providing this feedback, so the supervisor should make every effort to help the employee feel at ease and to listen with an open mind. This information can help the supervisor enhance his/her own performance as well as the working relationship with the employee. It is best if employee feedback is discussed after the performance appraisal is complete.

The appraisal interview should conclude on a positive note as much as possible, with a discussion summary and a restatement of agreements made. Ideally, an employee should leave the interview with a good feeling about the opportunity to discuss job performance, about the supervisor's involvement, and a clear understanding of present performance levels and future expectations.

Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)
In cases where either overall performance or a specific performance area has been rated less than satisfactory, an improvement plan is required and should clearly describe:

  • what behavior, performance, situations, or conditions must be changed
  • what is to be done by the employee
  • what is to be done by the supervisor
  • when the development will be completed.

For specific performance areas rated less than satisfactory, improvement plans should be documented in rated Sections I and II of the EEP form. Improvement plans for overall ratings less than satisfactory must be documented on the Performance Improvement Plan form. The PIP form is available from Office of Human Resources.

The supervisor should hold follow-up discussions with the employee over the next 90 days to review progress toward objectives and should conduct a follow-up performance appraisal and interview within 90 days of the regular appraisal date. If the employee does not achieve the objectives outlined in the performance improvement plan, the department should contact Office of Human Resources to discuss the appropriate action.
Performance improvement plans do not apply to probationary employees. Also, they are not a replacement for the disciplinary process.

Appraisal Disputes
Regular two-way communication regarding performance should be maintained to prevent misunderstandings concerning performance appraisals and the appraisal process. If a dispute should arise, the employee may use the appropriate grievance procedure to address the issue.
Customized and Alternative Planning and Appraisal Systems
Departments may use some procedural variations to the EEP process, such as peer ratings (where supported by a work group), self ratings, team appraisals, having the employee create the fIrst draft of annual objectives, and having additional levels of management review. After approval by the Director of Human Resources, it is essential that amended procedures are communicated to employees and that they are followed consistently. Regardless of procedural variations, completed appraisals must be submitted to Office of Human Resources by the due date.

(End of Phase 3 and EEP Process Section)

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The Employee Excellence Program Planning and Appraisal Form

To facilitate the Employee Excellence Program, a planning and appraisal form has been developed. The program uses the following appraisal rating scale:

Excellent -- performance consistently exceeds expected levels. A high level of proficiency is shown in most aspects of performance.

Meritorious -- performance frequently exceeds expected levels. A high level of proficiency is shown in certain aspects of performance, e.g., takes initiative, enthusiastic, willing to learn and attends professional development activities as appropriate.

Satisfactory -- performance is consistently at expected levels. Meets job requirements, e.g., punctuality, dependability, efficiency.

Development Needed -- some performance deficiencies exist. Performance improvement plan is to be established and improvement is required.

Unsatisfactory -- performance is consistently below acceptable levels. Performance improvement plan is to be established and immediate improvement is required.

Form Outline

Section I. Purpose, Primary Duties, Responsibilities, and Objectives

Completed at the beginning of the performance period following discussion between employee and supervisor, this section should clearly describe job purpose and primary responsibilities that, when fulfilled, will help the department achieve its goals. Responsibilities or objectives that have particular importance should be noted with an asterisk in the priority column during the planning phase.

At the end of the performance period, this section is used to evaluate performance on each objective. A "satisfactory" rating represents successful accomplishment of the objective. Rating criteria and reasoning must be written in the results (Administrative, Professional, Supervisory) or comments (Non-Exempt) section.

Section II. General Performance Factors

This section is used to evaluate employee performance on behaviors that are important to a position. Attempts have been made to incorporate factors that will advance the commitment to excellence and skills that are crucial to SlUE's success. Additional performance factors can be written at the end of Section II to create a customized appraisal. Job factors of particular importance should be noted with an asterisk in the priority column during the planning phase.

At the end of the performance period, this section is used to rate the employee's performance on each factor. The statements listed reflect "satisfactory" performance. However, an individual might exceed or fall below the satisfactory level on any factor. If a factor is not relevant to the job, or if the factor cannot be rated because of lack of information, "N/A" should be written in the rating column.

This section can be used to comment on performance over the rating period and to set guidelines for future performance. The "comments" section can be used to describe specific expectations for the employee during the ensuing performance period and to write comments related to ratings on each factor. Comments are required for all factors.

Section III. Other Significant Accomplishments
This section can be used to list significant accomplishments that are not represented in sections I and II. This section can provide employees with positive feedback for their extra efforts, and motivate them for continued achievement.

Section IV. Overall Evaluation
The supervisor considers the ratings in each section and selects a rating that describes the employee's overall performance. The overall rating is

  • determined in relation to job standards
  • based on the same job standards for new, mid-, or long-service employees
  • not an average of individual factor ratings; greater consideration should be given to those areas that are most important to the position and any priority areas identified during the planning phase.

Section V. Development Plan

This non-rated section should be used for optional development plans. Required development plans should be covered in Sections l or II or on a Performance Improvement Plan form.

Section VI. Employee Comments and Signature

The employee has the option of discussing comments with the supervisor or writing them on the appraisal form. Signing the form does not indicate an employee's agreement. It simply shows that the employee had a chance to review it. The employee is allowed to attach to the form information outlining his/her disagreement with the appraisal. This information is stored with the appraisal form in the personnel file contained in Office of Human Resources.

Section VII. Supervisor's Comments and Signature and Department Administrator's Signature/Second-level Review

In addition to discussing comments with the employee, the supervisor has the option of writing comments on the EEP form.

Departments are encouraged to have the second-level supervisor (the supervisor's supervisor) review the draft appraisal prior to the appraisal interview. Departments may also choose to have a second-level review during the planning phase. This "pre-review" provides an opportunity to consider the consistency of ratings among different supervisors, and to obtain additional input on performance results.

The department administrator is required to sign all appraisal forms for his/her unit. Generally, the appraisal form is not altered after the appraisal interview is complete. In the unusual case where this is necessary, however, a second interview must be conducted with the employee.

Distribution of EEP Forms

Appraisal forms for the Employee Excellence Program are sent to departments by Office of Human Resources for newly hired or reclassified employees. Forms are also sent 30 days prior to the annual appraisal period. This allows departments to complete the planning phase by preparing relevant parts of the appraisal form. Performance Improvement Plan forms are sent when an employee receives an overall rating that is less than satisfactory.

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CONTENTS - Employee Excellence Program Supervisor's Guide


A. About this Guide

B. About the Employee Excellence Program

C. How the Program Works

D. Supervisor Accountability


A. Phase 1 Performance Planning

  • Defining Duties, Responsibilities, Objectives
  • Defining Priorities
  • Establishing Development Plans
  • Defining Standards of Performance

B. Phase 2 Performance Tracking & Interim Feedback

  • Mid-Cycle Changes in Responsibilities & Priorities

C. Phase 3 Performance Appraisal

  • About Performance Appraisals
  • Legal Context of Performance Appraisals
  • Appraisal Confidentiality
  • Appraisal Schedule
  • Who Conducts Appraisals
  • Preparing for the Appraisal Interview
  • Climate During the Appraisal Interview
  • Conducting the Appraisal Interview
  • Performance Improvement Plans
  • Appraisal Disputes

D. Customized & Alternative Appraisal Systems


A. Form Outline

  • Section I. Purpose & Duties
  • Section II. General Performance Factors
  • Section III. Other Accomplishments/Special circumstances
  • Section IV. Overall Evaluation
  • Section V. Development Plan
  • Section VI. Employee Comments & Signature
  • Section VII. Supervisor Comments & Signature & Department
  • Administrator's Signature/Second Level Review

B. Forms Distribution

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