Performance Improvement


Unclassified Administrative Staff


Performance Standards and Performance Improvement

Supervisors and managers are expected to set clear standards of acceptable work performance and use timely verbal and, as necessary, written feedback as an initial way to correct unsatisfactory work performance.  If feedback does not correct a problem, more formal measures should be taken to improve the staff member’s work performance. 

Performance improvement management is designed to address performance issues that may require time, clarification, and in some cases, training to correct. By contrast, disciplinary action is used to address behavior the employee can correct immediately and with little, if any, time, follow-up or training (e.g. tardiness).  In many cases, it may be difficult to discern whether performance improvement or corrective disciplinary action should be used to manage an employee.  In such cases, supervisors are encouraged to consult with Human Resources/Academic Personnel Services.

Improvement Counseling

Supervisors have a responsibility to reinforce and clarify work expectations for staff members. Employees should be given timely, balanced, and constructive feedback identifying areas in which performance meets or exceeds expectations, as well as those issues that require improvement. Supervisors are encouraged to use coaching and counseling because it often corrects unacceptable work performance and avoids the need for more formal measures.

Our goal is to correct unsatisfactory performance with counseling before formal measures are necessary. If improvement counseling fails to resolve unsatisfactory performance or an unacceptable behavior problem, supervisors, in consultation with the Director of Labor and Employee Relations/Academic Personnel Services should initiate formal improvement measures.

Acts of misconduct (e.g. violence or insubordination) or serious violation of policy (e.g., violation of the Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Discrimination) or repeated violations of policy should not be addressed using improvement counseling. Such matters should be immediately addressed with formal disciplinary measures after consulting with the Director of Employee and Labor Relations/ Academic Personnel Services.

Formal Performance Improvement Measures

If improvement counseling fails to resolve the issue(s) supervisors, after consulting with the Director of Employee and Labor Relations/ Academic Personnel Services initiate formal measures to correct the problem.

Written Notice of Performance Expectations 

Written notice of performance expectations is typically the first formal written document/measure in the performance management process.  The Written Notice of Expectations is a document designed to explicitly communicate performance issues and job expectations as well as the consequences of failing to meet expectations.  

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

A PIP is used to clearly and explicitly communicate to staff members when their work performance has not sufficiently improved.  A PIP should provide clear notice to the staff member that his/her employment is in jeopardy and failure to demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement may result in non-renewal or termination from the University.  It also establishes a time line during which the staff member’s performance must improve and be sustained at an acceptable level.  

The PIP duration may vary depending on expectations for improvement. A PIP may be in effect for a minimum of 30 days and up to 90 days. The Director of Employee and Labor Relations/Academic Personnel Services must be consulted and review a PIP before it is issued.

If performance remains below acceptable standards while the PIP is being monitored, the supervisor, in consultation with a Director of Employee and Labor Relations, may decide to extend the time period of the PIP, may reassign the employee to a more suitable internal position, May not renew or may initiate action to terminate the employment relationship. The supervisor will consider the employee’s overall capabilities, length of service, and prior performance history when determining the most appropriate action. The existence of a PIP is not intended to limit the ability of the University to take more significant employment action if performance does not improve, declines further, or other unanticipated circumstances arise.

A copy of the PIP must be shared with the employee and filed with the Department of Human Resources/Academic Personnel Services. 

Disciplinary Action

University staff members are expected to adhere to University policies and rules of conduct. If an employee engages in inappropriate behavior or violates University policies or standards of conduct (i.e., misconduct or cause), the supervisor will consult with the Director of Employee and Labor Relations/Academic Personnel Services to determine the appropriate course of action. Progressive discipline may be used to address misconduct or failure to comply with departmental or University policies.  Corrective action can range from informal feedback for minor infractions to more formal corrective measures, up to and including termination of employment for serious offenses (e.g., assault, theft, confidentiality or privacy violation, discrimination or harassment, physical violence, or threats of violence).

Discipline for unacceptable conduct is issued in accordance to the degree of misconduct.  Steps may be omitted or repeated depending on the frequency, severity, or nature of misconduct. For example, in instances of serious or gross misconduct, immediate termination of employment may be appropriate.

Referral to the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program

If a supervisor believes a staff member's performance or behavior is being adversely impacted by personal matters, the supervisor may refer the staff member to the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program.

Related Form(s)

Not applicable.

Additional Resources and Procedures

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Policy Administration

Next Review Date


Responsible Officers

  • Associate Vice President for Human Resources
  • Director of Academic Personnel Services
  • Assistant Provost for Academic Personnel 
  • Sr. Vice President for Finance and Business Services

Legal Authority


Compliance Policy


Recent Revision History

 New November 2021

Reference ID(s)


Reviewing Bodies

  • Associate Vice President for Human Resources
  • Director of Academic Personnel Services
  • Assistant Provost for Academic Personnel 
  • Sr. Vice President for Finance and Business Services
  • UPAC