Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
March 22, 1996

Performance appraisal guidelines distributed

by Anne Dolan
Performance appraisal guidelines distributed to supervisors of Merit and Professional and Scientific employees in January don't mandate procedural changes, but document and suggest evaluation methods used effectively at Iowa State and elsewhere.

The guidelines are based on the work last year of an ad hoc committee of the P&S Council. That group's work was broadened and edited by the President's Cabinet, the Human Resource Services Office and the Vice President for Business and Finance.

"We want supervisors to be cognizant of the elements that should go into a good performance evaluation," said Dorothy Sally, P&S classification manager and a member of the ad hoc committee. "We think a lot of supervisors are doing much of this already. For them, the guidelines are a reminder."

To supplement the guidelines, the training and development office is offering a two-hour workshop on conducting effective performance reviews. Workshop leaders address issues such as setting goals, improving communication between employees and supervisors, clarifying job expectations and providing feedback. Nine workshops are scheduled between late February and late April.

The training and development office also has written materials and videos to assist supervisors. Human Resource Services keeps a description of performance appraisal processes used by ISU units and some external organizations to help units in developing or strengthening their evaluation processes.

According to the guidelines, the goals of effective performance appraisals are to:

  • Maximize each employee's contribution to his or her unit.

  • Facilitate professional and institutional growth.

  • Recognize the employee's contributions and goals.

    Recognizing the wide range of positions within the P&S and Merit systems, the document indicates each unit should develop a performance appraisal process appropriate to the positions in that unit, and each supervisor should conduct at least an annual review with employees. ISU requires annual certification that evaluations took place.

    The document encourages supervisors to separate discussions on performance and goals from discussions on salary changes because they detract from each other. Also, the State Board of Regents usually approves salary adjustments after annual perfor-mance appraisals should be completed.

    The document also encourages goal-setting and open, two-way communication -- year-round -- between supervisor and employee as a base for an effective evaluation. It offers suggestions on preparing for an evaluation, determining items to be covered and documenting what is discussed.

    Sally said she hopes all P&S and Merit employees will read the guidelines.

    "They're entitled to know what's in there so they have an expectation of what should come out of their evaluations," she said. "If they don't see something (during the evaluation), they can request it."

    The guidelines are available on the Human Resources Services P&S homepage on the World Wide Web. For a paper version of the guidelines, call Kristi Busch, 4-6458.

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