First, contact Employee & Labor Relations to discuss the case and develop a strategy. Please see Flowchart for Performance Evaluations for the typical process. Each case will have its individual characteristics, but the normal steps to be followed are:
- Formally counsel the employee, giving specific examples of where he/she is not meeting the performance standard(s). Refer to any previous informal counseling sessions that were held and ask the employee if he/she understands the area of concern. It is usually a good idea to have the employee state back to you what the problem is and what you expect so there is no confusion.
- Document the results of the discussion in writing, and share with the employee (Sample Performance Improvement Plan). The document should clearly outline your concerns, the employee’s response (if any), what the employee has to do to improve, and the steps you will take to assist her or him. Meet with the employee on a regularly scheduled basis, giving specific assignments and deadlines and providing feedback on his/her progress. Document these meetings in writing and give the employee a copy.
- If the employee does not improve, complete a formal performance evaluation, in this case checking the option “Special” evaluation.
Note: This step should not be taken without consulting with your manager and Employee & Labor Relations. This evaluation would cover the period of time since the last evaluation, rather than for a full year. The special evaluation will inform the employee that she/he will be placed on a series of Special Reviews.
If the employee has not had an evaluation in several years, consult with Employee & Labor Relations to discuss the option of issuing a Pre-Evaluation Memo (Sample Pre-Evaluation Memo). Although Pre-Evaluation Memos are not the norm, in situations where there has been a significant change in the employee’s performance, a change in supervisor, a lengthy time period since the last evaluation, or a long-term problem that has never been dealt with, a pre-evaluation memo may be appropriate. The Pre-evaluation memo is a tool to advise the employee of an anticipated “Below Standard” (Unsatisfactory or Improvement Needed) evaluation. It should clearly outline the expectations for the period assigned.
Special performance evaluations should contain objectives for the next thirty (or sixty) day period only. If assignments cannot be completed in the next 30-60 days, the Special evaluation can establish target dates for steps or phases of the assignment to be completed within that particular review period. Discussions with the employee must inform her or him that this process is to assist her or him to improve. Your communication with the employee, however, should also inform her or him of the potential of demotion or dismissal if she or he does not improve to a “Meets Expectations” level during the process.
The length and number of special performance evaluations an employee receives is determined by such factors as the employee’s length of service, the severity of the performance deficiencies, the complexity of his/her position, and the level of progress during the review period. Your Employee & Labor Relations representative can assist with this determination. Normally, an employee receives three special evaluations prior to action to demote or dismiss.
If the supervisor/manager is leaving and there are performance concerns regarding a particular employee, he/she may draft a Transition Memo for the new supervisor/manager. It should cite the employee’s strengths and areas where he/she needs to improve.