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Employee Excellence Program (EEP) Supervisor's Guide

Supervisor's Guide

Chapter 1:  Introduction

Chapter 2:  The Employee Excellence Program Process (3 Phase Process)

Chapter 3:  Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)

Chapter 4:  Completing the Employee Excellence Program Performance Evaluation Form

Chapter 5:  Legal Context for the Performance Appraisal

Employee Excellence Program Supporting Forms

Chapter 1:  Introduction

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is committed to intellectual leadership and excellence in both developing new knowledge and conveying that knowledge. 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, including civil service and administrative/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, and 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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Chapter 2:  The Employee Excellence Program Process (3 Phase Process)

Phase I: Performance Planning
Phase II: Performance Tracking and Interim Feedback
Phase III: Performance Appraisal

Phase III – Performance Appraisal

Phase I – Performance Planning

Phase II – Performance Tracking and Interim Feedback



PHASE I - PERFORMANCE PLANNING

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.

During the planning process, an up-to-date Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) and the Employee Excellence Program Performance Evaluation Worksheet can provide a basis for identifying areas of responsibility. Supervisors and managers are encouraged to use as many of these forms as necessary throughout the appraisal period in order to track and document performance. This step will help employees focus their efforts and understand which responsibilities will be weighed more heavily in the performance appraisal phase. For some positions, the PDQ may not be useful in defining all major responsibilities due to special projects or other major assignments. In these cases, specific annual objectives may be set and adjusted during the Performance cycle (Phase II). Objectives should be:

  • Primarily under the employee's control (sufficient authority)
  • Realistic yet challenging
  • Observable
  • Measurable

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. Again, use the PDQ for establishing goals and objectives to assist in reaching an agreement.

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

Defining Standards of Performance
Defining standards for various levels of performance is an optional step, but this step can help to ensure that employees understand what action is necessary to achieve ratings for each area of responsibility and general performance factor. To write performance standards, the 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 job factors 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 judgments 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.

PHASE II - PERFORMANCE TRACKING & FEEDBACK

During Phase II, the supervisor should meet with the employee informally to discuss performance. These discussions provide the opportunity to review performance issues and, if necessary, to make adjustments. This step of the performance cycle is crucial to prevent surprises at the performance appraisal phase, especially when performance improvement is needed. Phase II should be an ongoing conversation between the supervisor and employee.

Phase II Performance Feedback/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 the Employee Excellence Program Performance Evaluation Worksheet(s). Modifications to the EEP Performance Evaluation Worksheet can be accomplished electronically or in hardcopy form between supervisors and subordinates.

PHASE III - PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

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
Supervisors give employees feedback about their performance on a day-to-day basis during Phase II. 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 on the job. To ensure that the employee receives the right information, the performance appraisal must be completed and an appraisal interview conducted using the Employee Excellence Program (EEP) Performance Evaluation Form.

The appraisal interview is an opportunity for supervisor and employee to:

  • Discuss various job components and the employee’s related performance
  • Review the employee’s past performance
  • Consider the entire job and overall performance
  • Emphasize job duties in light of both positive and negative outcomes
  • Communicate clearly about overall job expectations
  • Review development plans
  • Enhance the 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. The employee may choose to use the Employee Excellence Program Optional Employee Comments Form- Phase III.

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 the Office of Human Resources. 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 the Office of Human Resources, 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.

Situations where an employee transfers to a new department, it is important that the employee receives an evaluation for that period of performance/timeframe. Therefore, the former department is responsible for completing any evaluations for the period of performance in the former department. In preparation of the evaluation, the former department would select the “Change in Position/Evaluator” as the evaluation type, and complete the “Period Covered” section on the Employee Excellence Program (EEP) Performance Evaluation Form. The new department, if the employee is not on probationary performance, would be responsible for completing an evaluation for the incumbent in the new position. This annual performance evaluation may be shorter than twelve months for the number of months the incumbent is in the new position, for a partial year evaluation.

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.

Phase II 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. This will set the stage 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 as documented on the Employee Excellence Performance Evaluation Performance Evaluation Worksheet(s), including all 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?
  • 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. Prior to this meeting give the employee the Employee Excellence Program Optional Employee Comments Form– Phase III.
  • 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.
  • Obtain and prepare whatever form or documentation that will be used to facilitate the discussion.
  • Plan the conclusion of the discussion by answering the questions:
    • How should this discussion end?
    • What should be the next steps?

Remember, 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, and 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, and 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. The EEP Performance Evaluation Optional Employee Comments Form-Phase III form can be used by the employee to help facilitate the discussion. 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.

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Chapter 3: Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)

In cases where any one rating element is checked DOES NOT MEET STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE, 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 any one specific performance area that DOES NOT MEET STANDARDS of PERFORMANCE, improvement plans MUST be documented in the comments section of the Employee Excellence Program (EEP) Performance Evaluation Form. Improvement plans must be documented on the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Form. The PIP form is available from the Office of Human Resources. The supervisor should hold follow-up discussions with the employee over the next 60 days to review progress toward objectives and should conduct a follow-up performance appraisal and interview within 60 days of the regular appraisal date. If the employee does not achieve the objectives outlined in the performance improvement plan, the department should contact the Office of Human Resources to discuss the appropriate action. All performance improvement plans will be coordinated and approved through the Office of Human Resources. Also, performance improvement plans do not apply to probationary employees. 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.

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Chapter 4: Completing the Employee Excellence Program Performance Evaluation Form

The Employee Excellence Program (EEP) Performance Evaluation Form is used for the following classification of employees: Exempt and Non-exempt Civil Service Employees, Administrative Staff and Professional Staff.

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

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

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

Meets Standards with Recommended Improvements - some performance deficiencies exist. A performance improvement plan (PIP) may be needed to achieve the required improvements.

Does Not Meet Standards of Performance - performance is consistently below acceptable levels. Performance improvement plan (PIP) is to be established and immediate improvement is required.

Form Outline

Section I. Employment Data

This section is used to capture all relevant information that identifies the employee’s name, classification, department, period covered (review period), Banner ID, position title and number (if applicable) evaluation type, such as Annual Review, Probationary Review or Change of Evaluator/Position.

Section II. General Performance Factors (For Non-Management and Supervisors)

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 SIUE's success. Additional performance factors can be written at the end of Section II to create a customized appraisal.

At the end of the performance period, this section is used to rate the employee's performance on each factor. Keep in mind that if a factor is not relevant to the job, or if the factor cannot be rated because of lack of information, the "Not Applicable" box should be marked.

This section can be used to comment on performance over the rating period and to set guidelines for future performance. The "comments" section is to be used when any category is marked that contains an asterisk.

Section III. General Performance Factors (Complete for Managers and Supervisors Only)

This section is to be used to evaluate those employees with management or supervisory functions. Attempts have been made to incorporate factors that will advance the commitment to excellence and skills that are crucial to SIUE's success. Additional performance factors can be written at the end of Section III to create a customized appraisal.

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.

Supervisor's Signature and Department Administrator's Signature/Second-level Review

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.

Employee Excellence Program Forms

The Employee Excellence Program Appraisal forms can be found on the Office of Human Resources web site, http://www.siue.edu/humanresources/forms/#EEPForms.

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Chapter 5: 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. For questions regarding the Employee Excellence Program, contact the Office of Human Resources at 650-2190.

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