|Evaluation Process Opens||Staff members receive an email to log into EngageSU and complete a self-evaluation.||Human Resources & Staff Member||June 10 - 30|
|Self-Evaluation Completed||Staff member completes self-evaluation by this date and submits to supervisor. Self-evaluation no longer available after this date||Staff Member||June 30|
|Write Evaluations||Supervisor completes staff evaluation draft and it is available to next level reviewer.||Supervisor||July 1 - 31|
|Next Level Review||Supervisor's leader has the opportunity to review the drafts and provide feedback.||Next Level Reviewer||Aug 1 - Aug 31|
|Evaluation Meeting||Supervisor and staff member meet to discuss performance and review evaluation.||Supervisor & Staff Member||Sept 1 - 27|
|System Closes||All evaluations are final and stored electronically in EngageSU.||Human Resources||October 1|
|Goals||Supervisor and staff member meet to agree upon and/or update goals.||Supervisor & Staff Member||Open year round|
Please note that the system will automatically advance the form to the next step at the end date. However, supervisors and reviewers can agree to complete these tasks in advance of these dates. For example, all evaluations could be submitted and reviewed in July if the supervisor and reviewers choose to do so and delivered in August to the employee.
While much attention is given to annual performance evaluations and their connection to merit-based pay, this annual event represents only one aspect of the overall career engagement cycle which is a continuous, year-round process that includes:
While supervisors are ultimately accountable for assuring this cycle occurs, we believe our employees share the responsibility to participate and fully engage in the process and outcomes. This mutual accountability and respect is at the core of honoring this process and our people.
Here are some frequently asked questions on performance evaluations at Seattle University and some improvements that are being made to the process.
What is the purpose of performance evaluations?
At Seattle University, we are committed to ensuring all staff receive a formal performance evaluation with their supervisor once per year. Receiving and providing feedback fosters both a confirmation for our contributions and provides an opportunity to learn and grow. The annual performance evaluation is a time set aside each year to reflect on the year that has passed and celebrate achievements. It is also a time to look to the future and think about areas for development or improvement that will help advance the individual both personally and professionally, within the context of the goals and mission of the university.
How does the performance evaluation process relate to Seattle University’s Jesuit identity?
The performance evaluation process aligns well with the Jesuit imperative for reflection and discernment. While it should be something that occurs informally throughout the year, we set aside this time to make sure that we honor the efforts and commitments that have been made.
Because of this we ask that the employee as well as the supervisor put their best effort into this endeavor and fully engage in the process including completion of a self-evaluation, a robust and balanced evaluation and discussion with the supervisor and employee, and a focus on personal and professional development as an outcome of the evaluation. Finally, there should be time devoted to establishing goals for the upcoming year.
What changes are being made to Seattle University’s performance evaluation process for the upcoming cycle?
We have added some minor edits to the questions to try to clarify that the focus should not only be on what was achieved over the past year, but that it is equally important that these results occurred in alignment with our mission and values. We are also moving to utilize a new automated module within engageSU that will provide greater transparency, and access to evaluations while also establishing a platform for future evolution of the evaluation process.
How does the performance evaluation fit into the bigger picture of the employee-supervisor relationship?
As shown in the career engagement cycle, the annual review is only one component of an ongoing process that should occur throughout the year, starting with development and growth.
The annual performance evaluation process obviously aligns well with the Jesuit imperative for reflection and discernment. While it should be something that occurs informally throughout the year, we set aside this time to make sure that we honor the efforts and commitments that have been made.
While the performance evaluation can serve as springboard for individual growth and development, it is important to devote time to capturing this dialogue in written form as an Individual Development Plan or IDP. The IDP can take the form of skills, capabilities or knowledge that improves the current work experience, as preparation for career advancement, or related to some areas of interest outside of work. Each area identified should be accompanied by an activity that will help promote development and there should be timeframes or outcomes that are agreed upon. IDPs are best implemented as “living” documents that are discussed at regular intervals with the supervisor and employee—hopefully as part of regularly scheduled one-on-ones devoted to this purpose. The best way to construct IDPs is to focus on learning activity followed by an application or deliverable. For example, attending a professional conference could be a valuable learning activity but it could be accompanied by a deliverable of preparing a summary or highlights that are shared with the remainder of the team who were not able to attend.
Seattle University offers many unique opportunities and benefits for development including tuition remission to further one’s education as well as numerous lectures, cultural events and volunteer opportunities. In addition, plans are underway to provide access to a large library of online material that can be utilized for individual or group learning focused on professional development and skill building. This library will be accessed through the engageSU platform that already contains some university-wide resources. The beauty of this format is that the material is always accessible for just-in-time training or refreshers.
One of the most common sources of conflict in any organization is a lack of communication and mutual understanding related to the expectations around an employee’s job duties. While job descriptions are a helpful starting point, they rarely capture all the day-to-day issues that come up in any given role.
In addition, job descriptions do not provide clarity around prioritizing activities when inevitable questions arise over what needs to be done first. Regular dialogue around expectations is therefore critical and should be part of regular one-on-one meetings. This dialogue also forms the basis for why the self-evaluation is such an important part of the evaluation process since it gives the employee an opportunity to outline all of the areas they have worked on during the year, some of which might not be readily apparent to others, including the supervisor.
Along with role clarity, goal setting is another key way for supervisors and employees to establish more transparency and a foundation for success. Taking the time to establish goals, action plans to achieve these goals and timelines for check-ins or completion helps to set priorities and provides a clearer picture of what success looks like. The best goals are aligned with the success of the department or institution and are clear in terms of how success will be measured. Goals should also be reasonable in terms of the number of areas that can be successfully addressed. For example, it is recommended that goals range from three to five in total, and be constructed in a way that provides measures, milestones or observations to facilitate completion. While goals should be formally discussed each year, there should be ongoing dialogue about their feasibility based on new areas of focus that might that might require a goal to be adapted, postponed or dropped.
In order to better facilitate, record and update goals, engageSU has a module that will be activated and can be utilized by supervisors and employees.
Feedback and communication are an ongoing responsibility for both employees and supervisors. Another source of conflict or dissatisfaction occurs when there is a lack of communication. Both employees and supervisors should schedule time for quick, regular check-ins to provide feedback, inform, ask questions or get clarity around the work or environment. Since this is a mutual dialogue, all parties should come prepared to contribute as well as actively listen. Frequent feedback provides an opportunity to celebrate or discuss success or identify opportunities for improvement in a timely manner, before they become much larger issues. It is highly recommended that feedback and communication take place in face-to-face discussions and that the use of e-mail be limited to memorializing or capturing the outcomes of the discussions. This allows for all involved to avoid misinterpretations and bring their “whole self” to the interaction.