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Performance management includes setting expectations for your employees, observing their job performance, providing them feedback, and evaluating how well they meet the performance expectations. The tabs on this website contain brief information about the best way to accomplish performance management tasks. The guide in its entirety can be found by clicking here.
A formal performance evaluation cycle will benefit you and your employees by:
The State of Ohio performance management cycle consists of four steps that occur in a continuous loop:
This illustration indicates that most of the cycle is spent on observing performance and providing feedback. While your agency’s performance evaluation policy provides the cycle dates for completing evaluations in the ePerformance system, the steps of communicating expectations and observing performance and providing feedback should occur on a regular, frequent basis. These regular conversations can be informal, however. Frequent meetings may be helpful, but are not required.
In ePerformance, expectations and goals are set at the beginning of the process within the Establish Evaluation Criteria step. Related job aids can be found in the ePerformance Toolkit. Depending on the specific position, five (5) or fewer goals and performance expectations are recommended for each performance evaluation cycle.
Performance expectations are the requirements for work product quantity, quality, timeliness, and results that apply to regular and routine job duties. Performance expectations are the same for every employee performing the same job, so if multiple supervisors in your agency oversee employees in the same classification performing the same work, all supervisors should agree on the performance expectations for that work.
Goals are the improvements employees should make to their work activities or the products they create that could help them make a better or larger contribution toward achieving the agency’s purpose. Improvement goals can be different for different employees.
Process each case within 45 days to comply with Ohio Revised Code.
Return voicemail messages within 1 business day.
Research and summarize the pros and cons of 3 methods of process improvement within the next 6 months.
Decrease the average amount of time you take to process a case by 10% while maintaining your current quality ratings within the next 12 months.
To write an effective goal, you need to:
When using quality as a measure of job performance, you can use descriptive measures and examples so the employee will understand the level of performance you are expecting. For example, “Write a user-manual for the software that is easily understood by our employees” or “Create a safety message that is easy to remember like stop, drop, and roll.”
There are many methods of goal-setting: SMART goals, Cascading Goals, Project Goals, etc.; however, not all methods of goal-setting are appropriate for all types of work. The following table discusses popular methods of goal-setting and the circumstances in which they are most and least successful.
Does not work well for:
Goals are set from the top-down and goals at each subsequent level should tie back to the goal at the level above.
The first two or three levels of executive management.
The entire organization. Not every goal needs to tie directly back to a supervisor’s goal and cascading through the entire organization takes a long time as each level’s goals have to be completed before moving on to the next level.
A format for writing goals in which the goal must be Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Most employees. Also used to ensure you have included pertinent information in the goal.
Goals that need to be relevant over a long time, such as a year, or some tasks that require innovation.
A series of goals within a project that has a defined beginning and ending.
Employees whose work can be broken up into meaningful milestones.
Employees who continuously make a product.
Not in employee’s control:
Respond to 10 customer inquiries a week. The employee is not in control of how many inquiries are submitted each week.
Improve efficiency of processing requests by using the new software system. The employee is not in control of the software system. It may malfunction or may not be user-friendly.
In the employee’s control:
Respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours of their submission, either with an answer or with a timeline of when the customer will receive the answer. The employee can control how quickly he or she responds to the inquiries.
Improve knowledge of how the new software system works by taking the training class and reviewing the manual within the next 2 months. The employee can control how familiar he or she is with the system.
Reduce the unit’s budget by 10% by Fiscal Year 2016 without compromising the quality of services and goods that the unit purchases for the agency.
Identify one program area where we can reduce costs without compromising the quality of services and goods purchased for the program within two months.
In this example, the goals contain specific outcomes, include a timeline, and are somewhat challenging. All of the goals allow the employees to determine the best way to approach the goal. The analysts also have performance expectation goals that do not tie directly back to the supervisor’s goal. This is because the regular work of the procurement unit must still be conducted in addition to the special project of reducing the budget. When the supervisor discusses the goals with the analysts, he or she should discuss the unit’s goal of reducing the budget and how the analysts’ activities will help achieve that goal.
Competencies are the combination of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for successful job performance summarized into categories (e.g., the competency “Coaching and Developing Others” combines identifying development needs and taking actions to help others improve their skills). The ePerformance system has 42 competencies from which supervisors can choose for the evaluation of their employees. These competencies were carefully selected to be applicable to many classifications across the state.
There are three categories of competencies:
The following example is the competency list for a Deputy Director at an agency that uses both Agency-wide and Classification-specific competencies
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, and Subordinates
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Developing Objectives and Strategies
Monitoring and Controlling Resources
Within the first few weeks of the evaluation cycle, you should relay your expectations and goals to each of your employees (e.g., by January 15 for January’s annual cycle) during a one-on-one meeting with each individual employee to encourage open discussion and allow for clarification if necessary.
It is important to explain what specific actions and behaviors will be required for the employees to receive a “Meets Expectations” on their performance evaluations.
The actions and behaviors required to earn the “Meets Expectations” rating should be the same for all employees in the same classification performing the same job duties in the agency. The table below outlines the generic rating definitions that you can use to help define each item’s expected actions and behaviors.
1. Does Not Meet
Fails to meet standards (e.g., employees with this rating fail to satisfactorily perform most aspects of the position; performance levels are below established requirements for the job; employee requires close guidance and direction in order to complete routine assignments).
2. Meets Expectations
Fully meets standards (e.g., achieves acceptable standards of performance, expectations and requirements; results can be expected which are timely and accurate; performance constitutes what is expected of a qualified, experienced employee performing in this position).
3. Exceeds Expectations
Exceeds standards (e.g., consistently goes above the communicated expectations for the job responsibility or goal; demonstrates a unique understanding of work beyond assigned area of responsibility; achievements are obvious to subordinates, peers, managers and customers).
Anytime your performance expectations or goals for your employees change, you should discuss those changes with your employees as soon as possible.
Providing feedback is an extremely important part of being a supervisor. Providing feedback will:
The best way to provide feedback is to:
Providing negative feedback may be one of your least favorite tasks to perform as a supervisor. Unfortunately, delaying or avoiding negative feedback will cause more harm than good. Consequences of delaying or avoiding negative feedback include:
The best way to provide negative feedback is to:
The following examples will demonstrate how to change vague feedback into the specific, detailed feedback that will help your employees improve their performance.
Performance meets expectations:
“Your report was well received at the meeting today. Good job.” While it is a good idea to praise satisfactory work, no details are included as to why the report was well received.
“Your report was well received at the meeting today. The graphs you included illustrated the data clearly, and when I read the rest of the report, I noticed that the executive summary captured all of the important details. Good job.” The supervisor specifically described what he or she liked about the report, making it likely that the employee will continue to use appropriate graphs and pay close attention to what information should be included in the executive summary in the future.
Performance exceeds expectations:
“This project had a great outcome. You really exceeded my expectations this time.” The employee will not know exactly what actions he or she took that the supervisor thought affected the outcome.
“The process you implemented decreased the timeline to complete this project by so much that we saved 15% of our budget. You really exceeded my expectations for this project.” The supervisor included the actions the employee took and what he or she thought was great about the outcome.
Performance does not meet expectations:
“This report isn’t good enough to present to our managers. You need to fix this by Monday.” While the employee will know the work doesn’t meet expectations, he or she will not know whether it is the format of the report, the content, or both that should be improved.
Every supervisor will benefit from training your brain to be a better observer of employee job performance. When you observe your employees’ job performance, you should:
One of the best ways to track and remember employee behaviors is to keep a performance log for each of your employees. Methods to create a performance log include:
2/5/2015 - Observed Paul provide great customer service today when he was interacting with an angry customer at the customer service desk. Paul listened well and provided the information the customer needed. The customer left calmer than he had arrived.
Individual Goal and Competency Ratings
Summary and Overall Performance Ratings
· Does Not Meet
· Meets Expectations
· Needs Improvement
· Exceeds Expectations
When summarizing and evaluating expectations, you should:
“You are a good team player.” While it is important to identify that the employee works well with others, there is no information to indicate why the employee works well with others.
Objective behavior and results
“I saw you consistently demonstrate good teamwork skills when you listened patiently to your coworkers and helped them find solutions during the rollout of the new software.” The supervisor specifically described what behaviors he or she observed, making it likely that the employee will continue to conduct him or herself that way in the future.
“You bring great professionalism to the office.” The employee will not know exactly what actions he or she took that the supervisor thought were great.
“I frequently hear you praise the efforts of your coworkers and you always take time to find an answer or the correct person to ask when your coworkers ask you a question.” The supervisor included the actions the employee took that makes him or her great to work with.
“You display a bad attitude during meetings.” While the employee will know his or her behavior doesn’t meet expectations, he or she will not know what actions could be improved.
The goal of your meeting with your employee is understanding. At the end of the meeting, your employee should understand what his/her ratings are and why you provided the ratings you did. Your employee does not need to agree with your ratings, but he/she does need to understand them. Understanding is an easy goal to achieve if you have been providing feedback about your employee’s performance and goal progress throughout the year. The performance evaluation meeting offers you the chance to discuss performance as a whole and repeat any important feedback.
When conducting performance meetings you should:
Supervisors should identify ways for employees to develop their knowledge, skills, or abilities on a regular basis. While training classes and seminars are good tools to use in the developmental process, most employees will develop the majority of their knowledge, skills, or abilities through on-the-job experiences.
During this development, you will provide a specific kind of feedback called coaching. When you coach your employees, your conversations should focus on what your employees could change in the future, rather than focusing on what was ineffective in the past.
For example, when you coach your employee, you would ask “what techniques could you use to keep the meeting on track with the agenda?” rather than telling your employee “we did not meet the objectives of the agenda in the meeting because you let everyone get off track.”
Coaching can be used to enforce effective behavior as well as correct ineffective behavior. When you coach your employees, you should:
The ePerformance system has two methods for documenting performance improvement:
Both the PIP and the CDP go through the same approval process as any other performance evaluation document in the system. They can work with or be independent of another performance document, such as an annual or ad hoc evaluation. If you rate an employee overall as anything below “Meets Expectations,” you will need to create a PIP for that employee. More information about how these documents work in the system can be found in the ePerformance Toolkit. Your agency’s Performance Evaluation policy has specific information about how your agency uses these features.
The State offers performance management tools in many forms. The ePerformance Toolkit contains system job aids, quick reference guides, a list of available competencies, and the Statewide Performance Evaluation policy.
The DAS Office of Learning and Professional Development also offers several performance management courses to supervisors through the LEAD Ohio program (a mandatory training program for new supervisors) include:
Exempt employees can also take advantage of the Performance Management Learning Program available in Learn It Ohio.
Finally, the State Library of Ohio offers many resources about Performance Management. A librarian will help you locate resources that directly address your performance management questions.
Bailey, S. (2014, May 13). The pay-for-performance fallacy. Talent Management.
Cascio, W. F. & Aguinis, H. (2011). Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management (7th ed.). Boston: Prentice Hall.
DeNisi, A. S. & Peters, L. H. (1996). Organization of information I memory and the performance appraisal process:
Evidence from the field. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(6), 717-737.
Fiske, T., & Taylor, S. E. (1984). Social Cognition. London: Addison-Wesley.
Grote, D. (2011). How to be good at performance appraisals. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.
Ilgen, D. R., Fisher, C. D., & Taylor, M. S. (1979). Consequences of individual feedback on behavior in organizations.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 64(4), 349-371.
Ilgen, D. R., Peterson, R. B., Martin, B. A., & Boeschen, D. A. (1981). Supervisor and subordinate reactions to performance appraisal sessions. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 28, 311-330.
Kluger, A. N. & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), 254-284.
Landy, F. J. & Farr, J. L. (1983). The measurement of work performance: Methods, theory, and applications. New York: Academic Press.
Larsen, J. R. (1989). The dynamic interplay between employees’ feedback-seeking strategies and supervisors’ delivery of performance feedback. Academy of Management Review, 14(3), 408-422.
Latham, G. P. (2004). The motivational benefits of goal-setting. Academy of Management Executive, 18(4), 126-129.
Liden, R. C. & Mitchell, T. R. (1985). Reactions to feedback: The role of attributions. Academy of Management Journal, 28(2), 291-308
Liner v. Montgomery County Engineer, State of Ohio State Personnel Board of Review 2013-REM-02-0080 (2014).
Locke, A. E. & Latham G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717.
London, M., Mone, E. M., & Scott, J. C. (2004). Performance management and assessment: Methods for improved rater accuracy and employee goal setting. Human Resource Management, 43(4), 319-336.
Mueller-Hanson, R. A. & Pulakos, E. D. (2015). Putting the “performance” back in performance management. SHRM-SIOP Science of HR White Paper Series. Society for Human Resources Management and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Murphy, K. R. & Cleveland, J. N. (1995). Understanding Performance Appraisal. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
National Research Council (1991). Pay for performance: Evaluating performance appraisal and merit pay. Washington,D.C.: National Academy Press.
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Training to improve observer accuracy. Journal of Applied Psychology, 65(3), 351-354. Witt, L. A. (1998). Enhancing organizational goal congruence: A solution to organizational politics. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(4), 666-674.
Woehr, D. J. & Feldman, J. (1993). Processing objective and question order effects on the causal relation between memory and judgment in performance appraisal: The tip of the iceberg. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(2), 232-241.
For assistance with ePerformance, contact us:
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This unit also provides support to agencies in developing succession plans by providing best practices, tools, and resources along with assisting in plan implementation.
The objective of the State’s succession planning methodology is to create a formal plan that ensures the retention of knowledge prior to the departure of employees in critical roles. This is achieved by identifying incumbent positions that are essential to the agency’s mission, identifying potential successor pools, and investing in our current staff by developing their talent in preparation for advancement within the State.
Human Resources’ role is to gather and compile data from performance results to create potential successor pools, which are comprised of individuals who possess the skills necessary for the exempt positions that could become vacant. In addition, Human Resources supports supervisors in completing items such as performance evaluations, stay interviews, and periodic coaching meetings as well as in developing employees for their next role.
Managers play a vital role in succession planning by effectively communicating with employees and taking an active role in employee development. The most effective succession planning involves managers who promote and encourage employee development. Managers should evaluate employees’ interest in the succession planning process and help develop employees for their next role.
Employees exempt from collective bargaining play an important role in succession planning. Exempt employees should think about their preferred career path and find ways to look into several positions of interest. Exempt employees who are interested in development either within their current pay grade (laterally) or in a higher pay grade (promotionally) should inform their manager of their interest and begin to develop a plan to achieve the desired position.
Involve the entire agency. Human Resources is not the only area that should be involved in succession planning. The State realizes that a successful succession plan involves active participation and support from senior leaders who emphasizes the importance of succession planning. Additionally, Human Resources provides plan consultation, Managers invest time and a commitment to develop employees, and Employees who are in charge of shaping their career path within the State.
Use 9-box results to create potential successor pools of qualified candidates for critical positions. Use exempt employee input to narrow these pools as well as to tailor development opportunities so they become more qualified for the position they desire.
Communicate with everyone involved to answer questions, provide updates, and seek feedback to promote a transparent and constantly improving process.
Keep the process simple to ensure that the focus remains on succession planning outcomes rather than the processes itself.
How will succession planning benefit me?
Succession planning will benefit employees by helping them see advancement opportunities and by setting forth career development methods to help them reach their goals. It will also help the agency by identifying potential successors for whom a knowledge transfer plan may be developed and deployed prior to a critical position becoming vacant.
Is succession planning “pre-placing” employees?
No. Succession planning is the process of identifying and developing a pool of employees within State agencies to prepare for the future. All potential successors must participate in the competitive recruitment process in order to be considered for any position.
Who can participate in career development?
Even though succession planning is currently a process available only to exempt employees, all employees can participate in career development. It begins by communicating with your manager about what positions interest you. Then, you and your manager should establish an action plan to help you understand the other positions’ duties and what skills are needed to successfully perform your desired job.
Are only those that participate in these career development methods chosen to fill critical positions?
No. All employees are able to participate in these career development methods, but participation does not guarantee selection for critical positions. Employees who inform their managers of their interest and participate in career development will develop skills necessary to perform the duties of that position should they be selected through the competitive recruitment process.
Why should I pick a lateral position instead of a promotional position?
There are several benefits to lateral career movement. Lateral movement opens options for possible next moves in your career path by allowing you to acquire different skillsets. Additionally, lateral movement offers opportunities to gain experience if the promotional route has bottlenecks such as very little movement or several employees vying for one position.
Why do we need to have succession planning and career development?
Succession planning and career development ensure that the State and its agencies can deliver the same level of service to customers even when critical talent is lost. Also, it helps retain the talent we have, develops internal employees for multiple positions, and creates a culture of advancement, continuous improvement, and engagement.
9-box: a performance measurement tool that indicates if employees are ready to be considered for a talent pool by evaluating their current performance via competencies and goals.
Abilities: aptitude or competence in skills needed to perform a job task.
Career Ladder: promotional career progression that involves staying within the same job classification series (e.g. Designer 1, Designer 2, Designer 3).
Demotion: a reassignment to a position with a lower pay range, skill requirement or level of responsibility than the employee’s current position. As defined by Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 123:1-47-01 (46), a demotion “means the movement of an employee at the request of the appointing authority or the employee, from one position to a vacant position which is assigned to a different classification and a lower pay range, or lower salary where pay ranges do not exist. For the purposes of this definition, a lower pay range is determined by comparing the step one rates of the relevant pay ranges.”
Incumbent: an employee that is currently in the critical position and will help develop potential successors to perform their job prior to the incumbent’s exit.
Knowledge: acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study, investigation, or performance of a job task.
Lateral Move: career movement that does not necessarily involve a monetary incentive. As defined by Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 123:1-47-01 (46), a lateral classification change “means the movement of an employee, with the employee's consent, from one classification to another classification that is assigned to the same pay range or to a pay range in which the step one rate is the same as the step one rate as the classification from which the employee moves.”
Potential Successor Pool: a group of employees who are interested in filling a critical position, but whose knowledge, skills, and abilities need developed prior to moving into the critical position.
Pre-placement: the act of successors being next in line to fill the incumbent’s position when it becomes vacant.
Promotional Move: career movement that involves increased complexity and responsibility and usually comes with a monetary incentive. Ohio’s classified civil service promotions may be made “on the basis of merit and conduct and capacity in office” (see Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 123:1-23).
Skills: the ability to perform a mental or motor activity that contributes to the effective performance of a job task.
Talent Pool: a group of employees who currently possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities for another position.
2015 Sample Succession Plan
Job Aid: Constructing the 9-Box
Knowledge Transfer Plan
SHRM – Developing Leadership Talent
NASPE – Workforce and Succession Planning
PA TIMES – Workforce and Succession Planning in Government
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