How to Prepare for the Expectation Setting Meeting
- Verify when and where the Expectation-Setting meeting is to be held: Date: Time: Place:
- 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: 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.
- 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.
- Write down any question about any part of the process.
How to Participate in the Expectation Setting Meeting
To actively participate in the Expectation-Setting meeting, the employee should observe the following suggestions:
- Bring your own copy of draft expectations
- Listen Listen to the supervisor’s descriptions. The employee should listen carefully as the supervisor reviews each performance area on the review form and describes the kinds of tasks and duties that must be completed and the way they should be done in order to perform at a “Meets Expectations” level on the job.
- Ask for Examples Ask for examples in performance areas that are unclear. If the supervisor’s explanation of a performance area is unclear for any reason, ask the supervisor to give examples of competent performance.
- Discuss Priorities Discuss each task and duty and the level of importance of each and which should be given priority during busy times. Most jobs have peak periods that prevent the employee from accomplishing every task in a timely fashion. The employee should ask the supervisor what tasks should take priority during busy times, and to provide examples of those peak times. The supervisor and employee must each understand that other tasks will not be ignored, only that the employee must know priorities.
- Examine Disagreement The supervisor and employee should collaboratively examine areas of disagreement, not disregard or ignore them. During the supervisor’s discussion of expectations for employee performance, the employee may disagree with some of those expectations. If a situation arises where the appropriateness of an expectation is questioned, the supervisor and employee should discuss issues related to the appropriateness of the expectation. Workload, qualifications, distribution of work, importance or relevance of the task, and ability to perform to the expectation are a few issues that may need to be explored.
- It may be uncomfortable for the employee to express disagreement with the supervisor’s performance expectations. However, it is important to try to resolve any differences in expectations before the performance period begins because employee performance will be measured by the set expectations. If there is disagreement, the employee should inform the supervisor of questions he or she has about the appropriateness of the expectation for the job. Most importantly, the employee should explain the reasons clearly and try to offer an alternative way the expectation might be met.
- For example: “I have a question about one of the expectations under Customer Service. It will be hard for me to interview my customers effectively if I also have to watch the front desk and answer questions. Instead, could employees be assigned to watch the front desk on a rotating basis in a way that works around their schedules?”
- In the final analysis, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to decide whether the expectation is reasonable, and the supervisor may determine it is not appropriate to change it even after discussion. In this case, the supervisor and employee should agree to monitor the expectation closely for appropriateness. After a period of experimentation, the expectation may be found to be appropriate, or need some review or revision.
- Ensure that Expectations are clear The supervisor and employee should make sure performance expectations are clear before concluding the meeting. It is very important that there is a clear understanding of what is expected during the upcoming performance period. If there is a need to clarify any of the supervisor’s comments, the employee should take the time during the meeting to politely explain areas that need more clarification.
- The supervisor should be open to meeting with the employee during the performance period to discuss any ambiguities or changes that arise after the review period has started. If the employee finds that an expectation is not clear once the performance period has begun, the supervisor and employee should meet, either formally or informally, to talk about it as soon as possible.Expectations are evaluation standards.
- Expectations set at the beginning of the period will serve as the standard for evaluating employee performance at the end of the period. It is important that they be as clear as possible.
- Complete a Final Version of Expectations Once agreement has been reached on the expectations, a final version of the expectations on the review form should be prepared. The employee may request a copy of this form from the supervisor since it will be needed for the Midway Feedback session, the Self-Assessment, and the End-of-Cycle Performance Review.
How to Prepare for the Midway Feedback Session
The Midway Feedback Session provides the supervisor and employee an opportunity to formally discuss employee performance for the initial half of the review period. This discussion is more organized and comprehensive than is possible with ongoing informal feedback. Together, the supervisor and employee may review the performance expectations established at the beginning of the period, or any revised in the meantime, and discuss the way the supervisor would rate employee performance if a rating were to be assigned at that time. A formal evaluation on the performance expectations is not required during the Midway Feedback session.
- Remember the Purpose of the MeetingRemember that the main purpose of this meeting is not to assign performance ratings, but to review expectations and current performance, and to discover any changes that may be needed to achieve a competent or higher performance evaluation at the end of the review period.
- Review PRD ExpectationsLook over the PRD paperwork (form, paper and/or electronic version of expectations). Review the expectations that were established at the Expectation-Setting meeting, or any that have been revised or upgraded since then.
- Gather DocumentationGather any documentation of job performance during the review period. This is an opportunity to discuss both positive and negative performance incidents, as well as any circumstances that may have affected performance or the evaluation.
- Conduct a Self-AssessmentUsing a copy of the PRD expectations, the employee should conduct a Self-Assessment on each of the performance expectations. He or she should assign a rating to each expectation and provide comments on performance to support the rating.
- Identify Needed ImprovementIdentify areas of performance that may need to improve. Think about ways performance could be improved and an action plan or steps that can be taken to begin improving those areas. These suggestions should be offered as part of the Midway Feedback session.
How to Prepare for an End-of-Cycle Performance Review
- Verify when and where the Performance Review is to be held:Date: Time: Place:
- Review the current PRD Expectations (relevant definitions, factors and/or other written documentation). Also review any expectations that have been amended or revised throughout the review period.
- Review the results of the last Review/Feedback Session conducted.
- Gather documentation to support or define both positive and negative performance incidents.
- Conduct a Self-Assessment. Make a copy of the performance expectations, and assign a rating to each area of expectations. Also, include any additional written comments on performance and documentation.RULE OF THUMB: If you are evaluating yourself as “Exceeds Expectations” or “Outstanding,” it is important to present your “case.” Explain and document the reason for exceptional performance.
- Identify areas of strengths and areas in need of improvement or enhancement. Record them on the last page of the Self-Assessment performance review.
- 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 Participate in an End of Cycle Performance Review
The supervisor and employee need to communicate effectively, not defensively, during the Performance Review. Remember that the goal of the session is to help the employee enhance performance strengths, improve weaknesses, and develop untapped potential.
- Relax The review is not a disciplinary session. The employee should come to the review session with a positive attitude and expectations. The Performance Review is an opportunity for the supervisor and employee to clarify misunderstandings about performance expectations, note strengths and identify weaknesses, establish goals for improvement, and develop action plans.
- Listen As the supervisor reviews his or her ratings, the employee should consider the examples offered in support of the evaluation, giving special attention to the examples given of good and poor performance. The employee should understand the reasons the supervisor has for making decisions and conclusions about his or her performance. The employee should realize that a natural response is to become defensive about weaknesses and stop listening to any explanation. The employee should try to focus on the reasons supporting the evaluation rather than the results themselves.
- Explain The employee should review the Self-Assessment with the supervisor and provide examples to support the ratings. In addition, the employee should identify any extenuating circumstances which should be taken into account in evaluating performance. The purpose of the Self-Assessment is not to offer excuses but to inform the supervisor of important factors that have affected performance.
- Cooperate Both supervisor and employee should be open to differences of opinion. The employee should try to understand the supervisor’s point of view and strive for agreement on the rating. The employee should also ask what changes the supervisor would like to see in specific performance. If it is not possible for both supervisor and employee to reach agreement on the performance evaluation, both should make certain that they clearly understand the opposing position and the reasons for disagreement.
- Suggest The employee should offer specific action plans that would improve performance weaknesses and help develop skills and abilities important for future career development. Training, job assignments, additional duties, and/or mentoring are a few examples of suggestions the employee can make in identifying opportunities.
- Confirm The employee and the supervisor should review the action steps that have been set. Both supervisor and employee will clarify the actions that each is responsible for in completing plans. In addition, both should verify the time frame or deadlines for completion of those plans. The employee should also be sure to understand how the action steps will strengthen any performance weaknesses. To ensure completion of tasks, a follow-up meeting should be scheduled to stress and maintain high performance standards.