Performance Management

Performance Management is a daily feedback process supervisors use to provide positive reinforcement, encourage efficient and productive fulfillment of job duties, and offer feedback when performance expectations are not met. An important part of performance management is thinking about supervision as an ongoing process, in which you:

  • Clearly communicate daily performance expectations regarding job duties, productivity and attendance, including:
    • Acknowledging positive performance, motivate staff, and focus on employee strengths to enhance performance and productivity.
    • Providing timely course correction when performance does not meet expectations.
  • Complete annual evaluations and professional development plans for all direct reporting staff members.
  • Encourage your employees to regularly communicate with you regarding challenges/roadblocks to completing job duties, individual performance feedback, and appropriate professional development opportunities.

To support the performance management structure at Miami, Staff Development offers the Performance Management Series for Supervisors.

You may contact Employee and Labor Relations (513-529-0432) for assistance with managing performance.

Online Performance Evaluations

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Setting and Maintaining Performance Expectations

It is important that all employees maintain a high level of work performance and productivity, even if the employee has received an approved ADA accommodation and accessibility requirement, is on the transitional work program, or on intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The university expects every employee (including supervisors) to do the following:

As supervisor, you can establish and help maintain these expectation in several ways:

  • Clearly communicate these expectations to employees.
  • Take time to acknowledge positive performance and good work. This can be done informally (e.g., in discussion with the employee) or formally (e.g., annual evaluations). Timely feedback is critical in helping employees understand their value and contribution to the university and their department.
  • Solicit feedback from employees regarding challenges/roadblocks to completing their job duties.

Addressing Unsatisfactory Performance

If you observe patterns of employee behavior that hinder functioning on the job (e.g., poor attendance, incomplete assignments, unsatisfactory job performance), you should take action on these issues and not wait until the annual performance evaluation.

While maintaining employee privacy and respect, you can provide course-correcting feedback, addressing issues as they occur to potentially avoid creating a situation that requires progressive discipline.

Examples of actions you might take include:

  • Developing performance improvement plans
  • Giving verbal reprimands
  • Beginning the discipline process, following guidelines for progressive discipline in partnership with Employee and Labor Relations
  • Providing training and documentation on skill gap, process, or violation of work rules
  • For classified employees, ensure that you understand and follow all applicable work rules and principles (e.g., MUPIM, union agreements).

Discipline Letter Templates

Reporting Harassment and Discrimination

Keep in mind that you have a duty as a supervisor to report of harassment and discrimination within 24 hours. Issues of harassment and discrimination should not be investigated by the supervisor. Instead, please immediately consult the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity.

Performance Evaluations and Professional Development Plans

Performance evaluations are an institutional requirement (as stated in MUPIM 13.4) and an important element of performance management. All classified and unclassified staff must have a performance evaluation annually on file in the Department of Human Resources. For all employees, an evaluation is required to participate in incentive programs (e.g., Job Enrichment Program for classified staff, university P.R.I.D.E. Awards for all staff).

A Professional Development Plan (PDP), which you complete for all classified and unclassified staff during the process of annual evaluations, provides employees with ongoing professional development opportunities. Examples of such opportunities include:

  • Developing/enhancing new skills
  • Expanding a body of knowledge in areas related to a position
  • Participating in activities that would offer career growth
  • Providing opportunity to correct performance deficits


To prepare for employee evaluations, review prior year evaluations and PDPs, and job duties/positions for each employee. Ask your employees to prepare (or maintain throughout the year) a list of accomplishments they have achieved. Encourage them to actively participate in the evaluation process. Consider the employee's performance for the entire year and while you complete their performance report.

Next, schedule a meeting with each employee, allowing appropriate time to discuss their performance evaluation, and to receive employee feedback regarding their experience over the past year. Giving employees one on one time to discuss performance (positive or negative) will allow the employee to see their value to the organization.

Considerations When Selecting Evaluation Ratings

Carefully consider the rating you give on employees on their evaluation reports. For unclassified staff, the evaluation can have an impact on salary increases. Although classified staff evaluations may not influence salary increases, they do affect the employee's ability to obtain employment throughout the university.

Evaluation categories receiving "exceeds standards" or "needs improvement" should accompany comments explaining specific achievements or challenges. Categories on both the classified and unclassified performance reports may overlap. Be cautious about marking aspects of work "needs improvement" or "need for development" to ensure that you are not penalizing the employee in more than one category.

For any performance that you note requires improvement, it is your responsibility (as the supervisor) to provide guidance and expectations regarding how to improve performance issues. You may choose to include employee input to discover challenges or simply outline steps required (especially in situations of compliance or safety).

Meeting to Discuss the Evaluation

When you meet with employees to discuss your evaluations, discuss your ratings on the report and provide comments on their performance. Bear in mind that your ratings and comments should never be a surprise to employees. Ongoing discussions about performance should occur throughout the year, prior to the evaluation.

During this meeting, always use the employee's formal name as you are completing formal documentation that will be placed in the employees personnel file (e.g., "Elizabeth" rather than "Liz"). Avoid referring to work accommodations such as ADA, FMLA, or Job Coaches. You are evaluating an employee's performance. Accommodations are made due to verifiable documentation through the Department of Human Resources and do not interfere with required job duties.

For more challenging performance discussions, it is acceptable to provide the employee with a copy of the unsigned evaluation so that they can process the information.

(You will need to remember to schedule a follow up meeting to complete the performance evaluation discussion.)

Creating a Professional Development Plan (PDP)

In conjunction with the evaluation, review the employee's job duties/position and work with the employee to develop relevant professional development goals that:

  • Enhance the employee's ability to assist the department in meeting its goals
  • Connect to the goals of the University's 2020 Plan

PDPs should not be viewed as a punitive process but rather as an opportunity to grow, develop in job competence and skill, and address skill deficits.

One model we recommend for structuring professional development on a PDP is the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development. Individuals obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others and 10 percent from formal educational events. This guide may assist the supervisor in formulating professional development around the job function, creating a deeper or broader approach into internal department processes.

Try to balance internal learning (e.g., shadowing co-workers, special projects) with external learning (e.g., conferences, workshops). There is no requirement/expectation that a PDP should involve all external training, which can be very costly to the department but can also provide employees with fresh perspectives that they can employ within their work environment.

Examples of PDP activities include any measurable result, such as:

  • Courses
  • Conferences
  • Shadowing
  • Training
  • Coaching or mentoring
  • Special projects or stretch assignments
  • Research activities
  • Broad participation in relevant activities available on- or off-campus

The PDP should also track and certifications and licensures the employee has accomplished. These may be national certifications with professional organizations or licensure by the state or other entities (e.g., Physician, Nursing, Project Management, Chemical/Materials Management, CPR, Forklift, CDL, Blood Borne Pathogens, ServSafe, and Senior Lean Leader).

Completing the Performance Evaluation

When you have finished completing the report and PDP, you and the employee should sign each original document and send to them to the department reviewer.

  • Please note: Employees are not required to sign if they do not agree with the ratings and comments they have received.

Once everyone has signed the documentation (including the departmental reviewer), provide a signed copy to the employee. Submit the original copy to either the Department of Human Resources or Academic Personnel Services.

New Employee Probation Evaluations

Although performance evaluations should be completed for all employees at least annually, you should complete a mid-probationary evaluation and an end-of-probation evaluation for a new classified employee. Performance issues should be addressed immediately especially with probationary employees.

There are different probation periods for different types of classified employees, as described in MUPIM 20.6 (see Probationary Periods and Probation for Part-Time Workers).