Instructions for completing employee performance review

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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Performance Management
Factor Links

A Guide for Employee

Performance Reviews

(Revised May 2011)


(Also refer to Management Directive 540.7A)

General Information
This section, if the form is sent from the Commonwealth Technology Center, will be completed with the required employee/supervisor identification information. If it is completed, verify that all information is accurate and the section is complete. If the form is to be completed on-line, fill-in the required data, ensuring that all information is accurate.
General Instructions
This section guides a supervisor through the sequential procedural process for assessing an employee’s performance and completing the form. It includes updating an employee’s job description; rating an employee based upon job responsibilities and performance expectations; providing comments; preparing an overall rating; assessing employee strengths and opportunities for development; coordinating with the reviewing officer; discussion with the employee, and preparation for the next rating cycle. Check each block as you proceed through the process. Agency Human Resource Offices also will provide specific processing instructions such as due dates and other agency-specific requirements.
Performance Standards
This section requires the supervisor to indicate the date or dates when job standards were conveyed to the employee. Standards must be conveyed in writing near the start of the rating cycle and when changes occur that add, modify, or delete standards. Supervisors should maintain a record when standards were conveyed/changed so that accurate dates can be placed on the form. Job standards may be in any format, such as objectives, expectations, job duties correlated to expected results, and job factors correlated with job standards. They must be conveyed in writing to ensure mutual understanding of assigned work and expectations for the work products.
Since agencies may require a specific format or method for conveying standards, supervisors should be aware of internal agency policy for the EPR process. Communication should occur with the reviewing officer to ensure consistency with organizational expectations and similar job functions. Where large groups of employees perform similar duties, managers may develop organizational standards for aspects of employee job duties.
Sample standards or areas to be considered in developing standards are contained within following sections. The number and type of performance standards should be as inclusive as necessary to adequately measure the behaviors and activities identified in the definitions of the job factors. The sample standards are examples of how standards can be written but are not intended to be Commonwealth standards since organizations should establish specific standards/expectations consistent with operational needs, agency strategic plan and priorities, agency business processes, and Commonwealth policy. In addition, not all employees or supervisors will have responsibility for elements contained within some of the sample standards and therefore those standards would not be appropriate for their positions.
This section also requires the date or dates when a progress review was conducted with the employee. Maintain a record of when the progress review(s) occurred. One minimum progress review is required during probationary, annual, or non-civil service/non-union interim rating cycles. Agencies may require additional reviews. Progress reviews are not ratings. They should be designed to discuss with the employee the status of assignments, problems or issues relating to the successful achievement of standards, need for additional training or guidance, and modification of assignments or standards due to factors beyond the control of the employee. If the employee is not meeting expectations, the supervisor and employee should develop an action plan to address issues.
Job Factors
All employees are to be rated on six performance factors—job knowledge/skills; work results; communications; initiative/problem solving; interpersonal relations/equal employment opportunity; and work habits. Supervisors and managers are to be rated on a seventh factor, supervision/management.

A brief definition of each job factor is provided on the form. For expanded explanation of the various issues and behaviors that are included in assessing and measuring each job factor, refer to the Job Factor Links. If the form is completed on-line, hyperlinks exist between job factors on the form and the corresponding job factor link.

Rating Scale
Each factor is to be rated on a five point rating scale—Outstanding, Commendable, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory. Examples of the relative level of performance are provided for each rating. The rating scale is progressive with each higher level containing the essentials of the previous rating (satisfactory to outstanding). Since a broad range of positions, duties, and responsibilities are rated using this form, the examples are not all-inclusive and should be used only as a guide in relating the job specific standards to the five point rating scale. Written comments are required for all ratings. Comments are to be specific to work products and behavior and be consistent with the rating. Supervisors should comment on specific examples of work products/behavior in relation to the standards to justify the rating. If completing the form on-line, hyperlinks exist to the last page of the form where comments can be written. The space will open to meet the need.
An Overall Rating should be based on an assessment of the total work products and job factors contributing to their accomplishment. When one or more factors are considered significantly more important, their relative weight should be indicated. If completing the on-line form, hyperlink to the overall comment space on the last page of the form.
Employees are rated in relation to established performance standards/ expectations and any mitigating circumstances. The current 363L employee performance review form is designed to more clearly communicate standards and expectations of the job and facilitate more accurate assessment of employee performance.

Employee Strengths
This section should identify strong attributes or abilities of an employee, such as specific knowledge or skills. The purpose is three fold: first, to recognize and give credit to the employee’s performance and proficiency in that area; second, to maximize the employee’s contribution to the organization by involving that employee in additional assignments requiring specific abilities; and third, to identify the employee as a potential mentor who could assist in cross-training or in the development of another employee. Supervisors should assess employee strengths and give appropriate feedback throughout the rating period. Although skilled employees may assist in the development of another employee, supervisors are not to abdicate primary responsibility for the supervision and development of employees under their supervision.
Examples of employee strengths would include:

  • If an employee enjoys and performs well conducting a training activity even though conducting training is not a regular part of the job, additional assignments of that nature could be considered.

  • If the employee has demonstrated proficiency in a specific software program, such as Microsoft Access, consideration could be given to encouraging that employee to share that knowledge with co-workers.

  • The employee may have a preference for working with groups of people or organizing team projects and recognition of those strengths not only gives credit to the employee, it also serves to assist a supervisor in selecting staff for specific assignments.

Opportunities for Development
This section affords the supervisor the opportunity to identify with the employee what knowledge, skills, and abilities need improvement. It also is used to identify developmental and or training activities to assist the employee in addressing either areas of concern or opportunities for professional growth. For more information on completing this section, refer to pages 34-35.
Comments and Signatures
This section contains space for comments/signatures from the rater, reviewing officer, and employee. If completing the form on-line, hyperlinks exist between individual factors and the comments section on the last page of the form to provide adequate space for substantive comments. All comments are to be relevant and job related. If any comments do not appear to meet those criteria, discussion should occur with the agency HR Office for a determination.
Rater: The rater generally is the employee’s immediate supervisor. Additional comments can be provided for aspects of the employee’s performance that have not been addressed elsewhere on the form. Where certain factors are weighted, information is to be provided to explain the overall rating.
Reviewing Officer: Generally, the reviewing officer is the supervisor’s supervisor. Comments from the reviewing officer should reinforce the rating since the supervisor and reviewing officer should have discussed the rating and generally agree on the employee’s standards and their achievement. Where disagreement occurs, discussion should include documentation to support individual assessments. If disagreement remains, the next level in the supervisory chain and/or the HR Director should be consulted to resolve the issues. Unless it can be documented that the supervisor has violated agency policy, or disregarded organizational standards, or evidence of discrimination exists, the reviewing officer cannot require the rating to be changed but can add comments to address areas of concern.
Employee: The employee should check a block that reflects their agreement, disagreement, or acknowledgement that they have received the rating. They also may check a block indicating that they wish to discuss their evaluation with the reviewing officer. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure the employee has the opportunity to meet with the reviewing officer, and the date that occurs should be listed on the form before it is sent to the agency HR Office. If the employee requests union representation for the discussion with the reviewing officer and for any subsequent discussions of the evaluation, arrangements should be coordinated to ensure union representation is provided. If the employee refuses to sign the rating, the supervisor should make a comment on the signature line to that effect. The employee may also make additional written comments that are relevant and job related, including information that disputes dates when expectations were provided.
Form Processing
The original completed EPR form should be sent to the HR Office and placed in the employee’s Official Personnel File consistent with agency policy and procedures. The supervisor and employee should maintain copies of the completed form. Electronic processing of the form from the rater to the reviewer for comments and then back to the rater should be encouraged. Although raters may send an electronic copy of the completed form to the employee in preparation for a discussion of the rating, raters should arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss the employee’s performance, providing positive reinforcement, recognition, and constructive criticism. Employee strengths should be discussed as well as opportunities for development, allowing employee perception and input into action plans.
Following the completion of the rating process, supervisors should arrange to discuss standards and expectations for the next rating period, including the review and update of the employee’s job description where necessary.

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