|Policy Title||Evaluation of Professional Employees (Non-Management Confidential)|
|Responsible Office||Human Resources|
|Policy Type||Personnel and Payroll|
|Last Revision Date||12/14/2020|
As mandated by the Policies of the Board of Trustees and the UUP Agreement, each professional employee of the University represented by UUP must be formally evaluated at least once a year, as well as whenever changing conditions warrant. The evaluation is to be based on a performance program, as determined and written by the immediate supervisor after discussion with the employee. The performance program should have been in effect for a minimum of two months. The purpose of the performance program is to provide an outline of the duties, responsibilities, goals and expectations on which the professional employee’s performance will be evaluated. The immediate supervisor of a new professional employee shall consult with the new person concerning a performance program and the system of evaluation within the first month of the initial appointment. Then, the performance program must be established within 15 working days from the date of consultation. It should be reviewed at least once a year or whenever changing conditions warrant, such as when an employee is promoted, duties are substantively changed, etc. Performance programs should be up to date and revised as appropriate.
The purposes of evaluation are many and the following represents some of those important reasons: To (a) accurately characterize an employee’s level of performance, emphasizing the performance program agreed upon and established at the beginning of the evaluation period (b) apprise the employee of their level of performance as well as the expectations and standards of the immediate supervisor (c) act as a reference point for performance improvement and growth (d) serve as a guide in the reevaluation of job functions (e) assist those making decisions about merit increase, promotion, renewal and permanent appointment and (f) provide a basis for the review of the performance and progress of an employee by higher level administrators at the University. (g) provide coaching to the employee in the event of performance shortcomings with an eye toward improvement (h) review the employee’s career progression and development for the future.
An essential element of the evaluation process is communication, especially two-way communication between the employee and the immediate supervisor. The performance program and the evaluation should be thoroughly discussed by the employee and immediate supervisor before either document is completed and forwarded through channels.
Human Resources will communicate with supervisors regarding the necessity for the establishment of performance programs and the need to do evaluations. However, it should also be the responsibility to note University policy and to at the very least partner with HR in understanding these important requirements. It is Human Resources responsibility to:
- Notify the immediate supervisor, upon the hire of a new employee, of the need to prepare a performance program and submit it to the Office of Human Resources during the timeline noted in this procedure. A copy should also be given to the employee and one kept by the supervisor.
- Enter required evaluative dates, notice dates, and permanent appointment dates into the SUNY HR system centrally.
- Work with departments to help them understand when evaluations must be conducted and how to do those evaluations.
- Make a good faith effort to follow up one time on these requests.
The immediate supervisor will assume these responsibilities:
- To prepare the performance program for any new employee in a timely fashion. Further, to make any changes in the performance program as needed and warranted in a timely fashion and in accordance with the appendix on this subject in the UUP Agreement.
- To conduct a formal evaluation of professional employees within his/her purview minimally on an annual basis, following established protocol within the UUP Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding.
The successful administration of the performance program and evaluation system ultimately rests jointly with immediate supervisors, Directors, Deans and Vice Presidents at the University. Evaluations are important and are often used when making recommendations for appointment renewals, promotions, merit salary increases and permanent appointment decisions. Further, alignment of employee performance programs with departmental, divisional and University goals and missions are critical to the overall success of the institution.
A performance program is due for each new professional employee as indicated in this procedure and thereafter on a schedule to be indicated by the Human Resources Office. Under normal circumstances, the employee performance program is done once annually, but there are some exceptions depending on the date of hire, etc. A temporary employee whose appointment is expected to exceed six months should also have a performance program. In order to serve as the basis for an evaluation, the program must be in effect for a minimum of two (2) months. A new or updated program to cover the next evaluation period must be submitted with each evaluation.
A revised program must be submitted within one month following a substantive change in duties, a change in title, or the assignment of a new, immediate supervisor. Minor revisions may be made to the performance program by forwarding a memorandum, stating the revision, through channels to the Human Resources Office. This addendum should be attached to the current performance program and initialed by both the supervisor and employee.
The signatures to be included on every program and revision include that of the employee and the immediate supervisor. Appropriate consultation should also occur between the immediate supervisor and managers further up reporting channels as appropriate. Two copies of the performance program should be made. The original is forwarded to the Human Resources office, a copy is kept by the supervisor and one given to the employee for their file.
In order to be effective, the performance program and each revision thereof should be discussed with the employee before it is written. This will ensure that all employees are aware of their duties, responsibilities, expectations and goals for the evaluative period.
As already indicated, the Policies of the Board of Trustees and the UUP Agreement mandate that each professional employee of the University must receive a formal, written evaluation at least once a year. The evaluation should be based on the performance program for the employee. The Human Resources Office cannot accept evaluations that are not appropriately based on a performance program unless an informal and interim arrangement is agreed to by both the employee and the supervisor.
While the Human Resources Office will establish the evaluative period for each professional employee, it is stressed that evaluative feedback should not occur just once a year; rather a formal evaluation is merely a minimal expectation. Valuable feedback regarding performance is something that should occur on a regular basis, providing the employee with guidance and feedback to shape their performance in a positive way. Good evaluations should never be a “surprise” to the employee, but rather be perceived as an outcome of a process that has been followed all year. Informal evaluations are encouraged with employees and supervisors sitting together to discuss perceptions of performance on a regular basis.
As stated in the Policies of the Board of Trustees, employees holding probationary or temporary appointments (including initial, one-year appointments) may be terminated at any time. Evaluations of employees in this category do not have to be undertaken or completed before termination can occur. However, if employees who hold probationary or temporary appointment are expected to complete one year of service, they should be evaluated generally after the first eight months have elapsed.
Usually employees holding term appointments must be evaluated at least once a year. This evaluation is due in the Human Resources office on the strict schedule established and shared. In order to afford the employee all of his/her contractual rights, the date when an evaluation is due is minimally 60 days prior to the published “notice date” since a good deal must occur within that 60 day timeframe. As per contractual parameters, employees on term appointments are generally not non-renewed without an evaluation occurring of that employee, based on an appropriate performance program.
As much as possible, the evaluation process ought to be characterized by candid and mutual beneficial communication between the employee and the supervisor. Thus, before beginning to fill out the evaluation form, the supervisor should discuss each of the evaluation items with the employee. Perceptions of performance in regard to each evaluation item should be exchanged and discussed. Additionally, supervisors should be aware of the perceptions of the employee’s performance by colleagues and clientele before preparing an evaluation. This kind of feedback is often gleaned from the secondary sources named in the performance program; namely, other individuals with whom the employee is affiliated and with whom they work and make frequent contact.
Once a draft evaluation is completed by the supervisor, it should be shared with the employee, usually allowing them two or three days to review and react to the document. Then, the employee and supervisor should have a final meeting to review the document, address any questions or issues arising out of the process and for the supervisor to finalize their rating of either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory. ”
Questions regarding the professional evaluative process should be directed to the contact persons indicated below.
Employment Team, 607-777-3321
Labor and Employee Relations, and Senior Associate Director of Human Resources, 607-777-4939