Supervisor PRD Checklist

How to Prepare for an Expectation-Setting Meeting

  • Contact the employee one to two weeks before the Expectation-Setting meeting to schedule a mutually convenient time:Date:      Time:       Place:
  • Review the job description for the employee’s job. Update the job description if necessary.
  • Think about the duties, tasks, and required functions of the job. What are the important outputs? What is essential for the position, the office, and the department to accomplish their goals? On separate paper, write down the important / priority outputs.
  • Define the duties and tasks that must be completed to achieve the required output. Write down the essential duties that help attain the output. (Hint: If up-to-date, only use job descriptions as a starting point for tasks and duties. Job descriptions tend to be very broad in defining general job performance. Try to identify specific, measurable behaviors.)
  • Think about what should be considered “Meets Expectations” (good performance) for each area of responsibility (duties, tasks, etc.). Write down ideas for specific behaviors and measurements.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: You DO NOT have to use the “form.” You are required, by policy, to complete the PRD process. When conducting the PRD process, it is important to remember that the supervisor and employee are required to conduct the “process,” not necessarily complete the standard PRD form. If the supervisor and employee are using the standard performance factors to evaluate performance, the PRD form is only used as a tool to assist in the PRD process. Supervisors and employees are free to change or amend the PRD form. They may use some, all or none of the PRD factors outlined on the various PRD forms. OR supervisors and employees may choose to use another form of performance expectations (See Models of Expectations) to conduct the PRD process.
  • Review the PRD Performance Review form and factors. Determine if the performance factors (and any supplemental factors or projects) are relevant to the job (best suit the outputs, duties, and tasks). If you choose to use the PRD form, then only select those factors that apply to the job. Use an electronic version of the PRD form to allow for adaptations and modifications. If necessary, develop any additional factors or objectives that best define the duties and expectations for the job.
  • Think about priorities for busy times on the job, relative importance of tasks, and examples for factors or areas that seem unclear. Try to prioritize them.
  • Prepare to give examples for expectations that may seem unclear.
  • Bring the working draft of the expectations to the meeting.

How to Conduct the Expectation-Setting Meeting

  • Describe Expectations
    The supervisor should describe specific tasks and duties that must be completed and the manner in which they must be performed.  Communicate the level of “Meets Expectations” for each of the factors selected, perhaps using the SMART criteria to explain specific behaviors and measurements of performance.  In addition, the supervisor should also outline the outcomes or outputs for each of the job duties and explain to the employee the reasons WHY the particular tasks must be completed in the manner described.  Commitment to overall purpose is an important by-product of communication and trust between the supervisor and employee.  The supervisor should also help employees establish priorities for busy times on the job by communicating the relative importance of tasks.
  • Give Examples
    If the explanation of a performance expectation seems unclear to the employee for any reason, the supervisor should ask whether the employee understands what has been said, e.g., “I realize that I am giving you a lot of information to think about and that some of it may be unclear.  Help me by telling me if what I say is confusing.  Did you understand that part I just went over?”If the employee does not understand, the supervisor should repeat the information and give an example of “Meets Expectations,” or “Exceeds Expectations” in the area.  The supervisor can also confirm understanding by asking the employee to describe the area in his or her own words.
  • Get Employee Input
    The supervisor can stop the discussion periodically to solicit employee input on expectations and determine if there is agreement.  Employees are typically the persons who know their job best because they cope with job demands each day.  Because of their experience employees often have legitimate input into setting expectations.  The supervisor should provide opportunities for employee input throughout the meeting.  Also, employees are likely to feel more motivated to achieve expectations when they have had an opportunity to help shape them.   The supervisor should ask for such help, e.g., “Could you give me your thoughts on these expectations?  Do they seem appropriate?”
  • Examine Disagreement
    The supervisor should be sure to examine areas of disagreement between the employee and supervisor, not ignore or disregard them.  The supervisor can ask the employee to explain why the expectations are seen as inappropriate and listen carefully to what is said, e.g., “Could you explain why you feel it is impossible to achieve a competent level of performance under the expectations I’ve set?”The supervisor should also explain to the employee the reason he or she sees the expectation as appropriate.  This includes a discussion of perceptions about levels of performance, benchmarks of past or present performance and productivity, and goals and objectives of the unit and how performance supports those goals.  All of this should be done in a collaborative manner, using good interpersonal communication skills and minimum use of authority.
  • Supervisor’s Responsibility
    In the final analysis, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to decide whether an expectation is reasonable.  If, after hearing the employee’s explanation, the supervisor remains convinced that the expectation is reasonable, it should not be changed.  However, the supervisor should carefully explain the reasoning to the employee.  The supervisor should agree with the employee that they will work under the expectations for a period of time (which should be specified, e.g., two months).  During that time, the supervisor and employee will continually work on ensuring that the expectation is appropriate, making revisions or amendments as needed.  In addition, the supervisor and employee should be willing to schedule another formal meeting to further discuss the matter.
  • Expectations Are Evaluation Standards
    The supervisor must remember that expectations set at the beginning of the period will serve as the standard for evaluating the employee?s performance at the end of the period.  It is important that they be as clear as possible.
  • Sign the Final Version
    Once understanding has been reached on all of the expectations, the final version of the review form should be prepared.  The supervisor will keep the original copy for use during the Midway Feedback session and the final Performance Review.  The employee shall receive a copy for the employee’s records and for conducting the Self-Assessment.

How to Prepare for the Midway Feedback Session

  • Contact the employee one week before the Midway Feedback session is to be held to schedule the session at a mutually convenient time and location.
  • Date: Time: Place:
  • Ask the employee to complete a Self-Assessment. The employee shall receive a copy of the Performance Review form and the Self-Assessment cover sheet. The employee will then assign a rating to each expectation on the form and include documentation and any additional written comments on performance.
  • Review the PRD form, the factors, and their definitions. Also review the goals of the unit and of UM, and the section on “Identifying Rating Errors” in the PRD Handbook.
  • Review the expectations set at the beginning of the performance review period. Also review any expectations that have been amended or revised throughout the review period.
  • Gather documentation to support or define both positive and negative performance incidents.
  • Determine what rating the employee should receive for each performance area as if this session were an actual Performance Review.
  • Identify areas of strengths and areas in need of improvement or enhancement. Record those areas on the last page of the PRD Performance Review form.
  • Identify an action plan to correct deficiencies or enhance performance in any areas that do not meet desired levels of performance.
  • Identify any training opportunities or assignments for areas that need improvement.

How to Conduct the Midway Feedback Session

  • Create Climate The supervisor should, in beginning the meeting, create a positive and comfortable climate for the employee. There are many ways a supervisor can put an employee at ease before starting the meeting. One way to eliminate tension is to arrange seating without desks or “barriers” between supervisor and employee. The supervisor should also avoid interruptions by not taking phone calls or allowing visitors to interrupt the session.
  • Explain Purpose The supervisor should begin the meeting by explaining the purpose of the Midway Feedback session. The supervisor should remind the employee that performance will not be formally evaluated at this time. This session is for feedback purposes only, and to ensure an amiable and comfortable final review at a later time. The supervisor should also discuss the benefit to both supervisor and employee by refocusing on the performance expectations and accomplishment of goals and objectives in the unit.
  • Review Performance The supervisor should discuss each performance factor and the expectations chosen. The supervisor must discuss the employee’s actual performance in each area and give examples of good and/or poor performance where relevant. The supervisor may wish to devote sufficient time to discussing strengths and weaknesses. Though it is understood that no formal evaluation of performance is given at this time, the supervisor must clearly communicate if performance is not meeting expectations. The supervisor may choose to say something like, “If I were evaluating your performance today, I’d place it at ‘Below Expectations’.” More important, the supervisor must explain the reason for the “mock” rating at that particular time. In addition, the supervisor and employee must then decide upon a development plan for ensuring a higher level of employee performance.
  • Encourage Input (Employee Self-Assessment) The supervisor should encourage the employee to participate as much as possible in reviewing performance. The employee has made an assessment of performance through the formal Self-Assessment. The supervisor should solicit input and information about the employee’s perceptions and evaluation.
  • Listen The supervisor should actively listen to the employee’s response. The supervisor should consider the employee’s input and compare evaluations. If the supervisor continues to feel that performance on a particular factor does not meet expectations, the supervisor should provide the rationale for the evaluation, not argue with the employee. The supervisor and employee must continue to discuss performance expectations and how they can be met.
  • Mutual Understanding The supervisor and employee should come to a mutual understanding about performance levels during the initial part of the review period. By the end of the Performance Review session, the supervisor and the employee should each have a clear understanding of how the other views employee performance.
  • How to Improve At the conclusion of the meeting the supervisor and employee must discuss how to improve performance in any areas that have been identified as a possible problem. The supervisor and employee must discuss a specific action plan to be taken for the remainder of the performance period to ensure that the employee performs at a competent level or higher. If the employee’s performance is high, they should discuss ways to maintain current levels or further enhance skills.
  • Summarize The supervisor, at the conclusion of the meeting, should summarize and give the employee an opportunity to make any additional comments. They must be sure to set follow-up dates when appropriate. The supervisor should express confidence in the employee’s ability to meet expectations and enhance or improve performance.
  • Signatures At the conclusion of the session both the supervisor and the employee should sign and date the appropriate section on the front of the form indicating the meeting was held.

How to Prepare for the End-of-Cycle Performance Review

  • Contact the employee one to two weeks ahead of time and schedule the Performance Review for a mutually convenient time and location.  Date:     Time: Place:
  • Ask the employee to complete a Self-Assessment. The employee shall receive a copy of the Performance Review form and the Self-Assessment cover sheet. The employee will then assign a rating to each expectation on the form and include documentation and any additional written comments on performance.
  • Review the results of the last Performance Review conducted.
  • Review the results of the Midway Feedback session.
  • Review the PRD form, the factors, and their definitions. Also review “Identifying Rating Errors” in the PRD Handbook.
  • Review the expectations set at the beginning of the Performance Review period. Also review any expectations that have been amended or revised throughout the review period.
  • Gather documentation to support or define both positive and negative performance incidents.
  • Determine what rating the employee should receive for each performance area. Write comments under each factor or area to support the assigned rating.
  • RULE OF THUMB: If you are evaluating the employee as anything other than “Meets Expectations” (“Exceeds Expectations,” “Outstanding,” “Below Expectations,” or “Unsatisfactory”) it is important to provide rationale or support for this rating. Explain and document the reason for exceptional performance.
  • Identify areas of strengths and areas in need of improvement or enhancement. Record those areas on the last page of the PRD Performance Review form.
  • Identify an action plan to correct deficiencies or enhance performance in any areas that do not meet desired levels of performance.
  • Identify any training opportunities or assignments for areas that need improvement. List specific OJT and training and development opportunities that may help the employee improve.
  • Set dates by which the action plan and training will be accomplished, and specify follow-up dates to make certain they are completed. Record this information on the review form.
  • Start establishing expectations for the next performance review period.


How to Conduct the Performance Review

The supervisor and employee must communicate effectively, not defensively, during the review session. Both should remember that the goal of the session is to help the employee focus on performance and productivity, and enhance performance strengths and improve weaknesses. The tone of the meeting and the quality of communication is critical for a successful review meeting.

Suggestions for Communication

  • Use “I” Statements
    “I” statements describe the supervisor’s own feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and reactions rather than “you” statements, which are often interpreted as blaming and cause defensiveness.”I sense some uneasiness with some of the ratings,”   NOT   “You act as though you don’t like any of the ratings I gave you.”
  • Avoid Judgmental Language
    Judgmental language will often upset the other person.  Value statements and name-calling are examples of judgmental language.  The supervisor should try not to use extreme language involving words such as “always,” “never,” and “only.”"I have confidence that you can handle this,”   NOT   “It’s simple enough; any child could do this job.”
  • Clarify before Reacting
    Before responding or reacting to any comment or discussion, the supervisor should clarify the information given, especially if the information is upsetting.  Taking the time to clarify can often prevent an angry misunderstanding.”Did I understand you to say that you feel my supervision on the insurance project was inadequate?”
  • Explain
    If there are changes or differences in any procedures or processes, the supervisor should always explain why the change was necessary.  In addition, if there is negligent performance, the supervisor has the responsibility to explain the impact upon the unit or department.”When you submit the work for a big project three days later than the other team members, there are many effects.  They all have to wait before revisions can be made.  The other team members become frustrated and angry.  The report may be late to the council, and I am frustrated as well.  We need to talk about time management.”
  • Actively Listen
    The supervisor must carefully and actively listen to the other’s point of view.  The supervisor may use phrases such as “That’s interesting; tell me more,”  or  “Give me more detail on that idea,” which will encourage the employee to speak openly.
  • Pay Attention
    The supervisor should maintain eye contact when the employee speaks, to show that the employee is receiving undivided attention.  If the supervisor maintains a pleasant expression and a relaxed body posture, the employee will be relaxed as well.
  • Present a Positive Attitude
    The supervisor should be sure to present positive information enthusiastically and negative information as constructively as possible.  For negative information, the goal is to help the employee change his or her behavior by explaining what needs to be changed and how it can be changed.  For positive information, the supervisor should be specific and give examples to show that the comment is sincere.  The measure of good feedback is how motivated the employee is after receiving it.
  • Avoid “Loaded” Questions
    Loaded questions create defensiveness and presume guilt.  (“Why are you always late?”,  “Can’t you organize your time better?”,  “Did you really think that approach would work?”)  Open-ended questions allow for explanation and fact-finding.
  • Solicit Input
    By soliciting employee input the supervisor builds trust and communication into the review process.  Ask open-ended questions.  (“How do you think we can improve things?”,  “How can I help you develop professionally?”, and “What do you think about that idea?”)
  • Empathize
    The supervisor, who also functions as an employee to his or her own supervisor, should be able to empathize with the employee.  Saying “I understand how you feel” does not necessarily mean “I agree with what you did.”  The employee is more likely to attempt to change if he or she perceives that the supervisor understands his or her strengths and weaknesses and is attempting to help.

Performing the Performance Review

  • Create a Comfortable Climate
    Try to put the employee at ease before starting.  Arrange seating without desks or “barriers” between the supervisor and employee.  Avoid interruptions by not taking phone calls or visitors during the session.
  • Explain the Purpose of the Review Session
    Emphasize the benefits of the review to the employee.  Review the topics to be discussed.
  • Review the Evaluation of Each Performance Area
    Discuss the performance areas in order.  Give examples that have been documented of good and poor performance.  Allow equal time to discuss weaknesses and strengths.
  • Encourage the Employee to Participate
    Ask about his or her Self-Assessment.  Ask if there are extenuating circumstances that may not have been taken into account.
  • Listen to Responses
    Consider whether the response justifies changing the evaluation.  Be open to changing the rating if new information suggests a re-evaluation.  If it doesn’t, provide an explanation of the rating without arguing.
  • Come to a Mutual Agreement
    There should be a mutual agreement or at least a shared awareness of the ratings.  If at all possible, by the end of the Performance Review session, the supervisor and employee should agree on the ratings.  If not possible, the final decision is the supervisor’s, but the employee should be given a clear explanation of the rating and the rationale behind it.
  • Assign an Overall Rating
    The supervisor shall assign an overall rating to the employee’s cumulative performance throughout the review cycle.  The determination of the overall rating shall be consistent with the rating scale defined on the PRD form.
  • Discuss How to Improve Performance
    The supervisor and employee shall decide on a course of action for the upcoming review period.  If an employee’s performance is high, they should discuss ways to further develop skills  (see How to Identify Development Needs).
  • Summarize
    The supervisor must give the employee an opportunity to make any additional comments.  Also, he or she should be sure to set dates for follow-up meetings when appropriate.  The supervisor should end by expressing confidence in the employee’s ability to meet objectives.
  • Schedule Another Meeting
    The supervisor must schedule a meeting to set performance expectations for the employee for the upcoming review cycle.

Identifying Employee’s Development Needs