Full Cycle

Frequently Asked Questions

Part I: 2017-2018 Appraisal Deadlines and Requirements

Part II: Talent Conversations

Part III: Annual Appraisal

Supervisor Questions

  • What if an individual goal changes due to circumstances outside of my employee’s control?
    Your employee should not be punished for external circumstances that prevented them from completing an individual goal. You can address this in one of three ways:
    1. Assess the employee only on the parts of the goal that were in his/her control. Did he/she meet or exceed those expectations?
    2. Modify the goal according to the situation. If you choose this option, be sure to check the “Revised Version of Performance Plan” box on page 3 of the appraisal tool. Additionally, make note of the changes in either the Individual Goal itself or in the comments section.
    3. Remove the impacted individual goal. If after removing this goal, your employee still has at least three individual goals, then all you need to do is assign new weights to the remaining individual goals. If this leaves your employee with only two goals, you’ll need to replace the old individual goal with a new one.
  • How do I make sure that I am not biased when appraising my employees?
    The first step to avoid biases is to recognize them. CLICK HERE for a list of common rater biases that may affect your appraisal process. For more useful guidance, check out THIS ARTICLE for ideas on how to overcome your potential biases.
  • How do I assign a score (1-3) for each of my employee’s goals (Institutional & Individual)?
    There are three rating options in the Full Cycle Performance Program: Meeting Expectations (2), Exceeding Expectations (3), and Not Meeting Expectations (1).

    PLEASE NOTE: When entering the ratings into the appraisal tool (SHRA only), you MUST use whole numbers. For example, You CANNOT give a rating of 2.5; instead, choose either a 2 or 3.

    For more details on differentiating between the three options, CLICK HERE. For expanded versions of the Institutional Goals, which explore the ratings in more detail, please click here for SHRA and here for EHRA non-faculty.
  • What should I write in the Supervisor Comments section?
    The narrative method of documenting and reviewing performance involves “writing a story” to describe the performance of an employee, including feedback on institutional and individual goals, as well as the talent development plan. Narratives need not be limited to descriptions of job behavior or abilities, but can also include plans for training and development and results of problem diagnostics and performance problem solving. For more details on what to write in the Supervisor Comments section, CLICK HERE.
  • What happens if my employee changed jobs during the cycle?
    When an employee changes job positions, the former supervisor should complete an off-cycle review and forwards it along with all current performance management documents to the new supervisor. The new supervisor can factor in the current progress of the employee during the performance cycle into the final overall rating. Individual goals should be adjusted based on the employee's new position.

Employee Questions

  • I’ve done everything as required on my performance plan, so why am I not getting “Exceeding Expectations”?
    Individual goals and institutional goals are written at the “Meeting Expectations” level of performance. If employees perform their work most consistently at that level, then their ratings would be “Meeting Expectations.”

    Employees should discuss with their supervisors what level of performance would result in ratings of Exceeding Expectations (or Not Meeting Expectations) so that the employee has some markers for achievement.

    The Office of Human Resources can offer further guidance on distinguishing between Meeting, Exceeding, and Not Meeting Expectations.
  • My supervisor said that they are not allowed to give out "Exceeding Expectations", or at least, not as many anymore. Is that true?
    No. Supervisors are charged with providing accurate and honest assessments of employee performance. The University does not have a quota system for the number of ratings allowed at each level.

    Performance expectations may “get out of whack” over time due to changes in the job (budget, systems, technology, procedures, staffing levels, etc.) that in turn may change the level of performance required to meet the business need.

    At the beginning of each performance cycle, supervisory teams are expected to meet to discuss performance expectations based on current business needs to see if performance expectations have shifted over time. If so, supervisors should discuss with their employees early in the cycle what level of performance would result in meeting, exceeding or not meeting expectations so that employees have time during the rest of the cycle to adjust to any new expectations.

    At the end of each performance cycle, supervisory teams are expected to meet to discuss performance ratings to make sure that they are making consistent decisions on ratings.

    An overall rating of Exceeding Expectations means that the employee is most consistently exceeding performance expectations in most every aspect of their work.

    Ratings for employees may change from previous evaluations due to many factors, such as:
    • The new individual goals and institutional goals may change how the supervisor views the employee performance or change how the supervisor is able to describe performance.
    • The new individual goals and institutional goals may include aspects of employee work that had not been rated or emphasized previously.
    • The supervisor may reassess the current business needs, which could result in shifts in performance expectations and possibly ratings.
  • If it isn’t in my performance plan, can my supervisor require me to do it?
    Yes.The “Team-Oriented” institutional goal on the performance plan sets a standard expectation that all employees perform “additional duties when team members are absent, during times of increased workload, or as otherwise requested by management to meet business needs.”

    The performance plan has never been expected to include every possible performance expectation for employees. It would be impossible to spell out every aspect of performance (quality, quantity, timeliness, delivery, compliance, etc.) for each task performed by the employee.

    The individual goals section of the performance plan defines only the most significant job expectations for the current performance cycle. The institutional goals section provides performance expectations required campus-wide for all aspects of an employee’s work.

    Most position descriptions include language that other duties may be assigned as needed, and supervisors are encouraged to include that language in each position description.
  • Do I have to sign the performance appraisal?
    Yes. Employees are required to sign the performance appraisal at the completion of the performance review session with their supervisor. If changes were agreed to during the review session, then employees are required to sign the revised performance appraisal once it is provided to them.

    The employee signature line on the performance appraisal includes a statement indicating: “I acknowledge that I have received this performance appraisal. I understand that my signature below does not necessarily imply agreement with the ratings given or the comments included, and that if I choose, I may write a response to include with this appraisal document.”
  • What are my options if I don’t agree with the ratings I received on my evaluation?
    Employees are encouraged to discuss the ratings and comments with their supervisor either during the performance review session or shortly thereafter. The employee can make suggestions for changes and provide additional information that may be useful to the supervisor in deciding if any changes should be made.

    Employees can attach a response to the appraisal document providing additional information that they believe is important to include with the appraisal in their personnel file. There is a box on the tool to show that the employee is adding comments. There is no deadline for attaching a response, but normally this should be completed within two weeks of the review session.

    Employees can also request a facilitated conversation through Human Resources to address concerns. In a facilitated conversation, a Human Resources Representative meets with the employee and the supervisor to discuss what changes or clarifications might be agreeable regarding the appraisal. Both parties must be willing to participate in the conversation.

    The performance plan, off-cycle reviews, individual goal ratings, and written comments on the appraisal are not grievable.

    SHRA Employees can file a grievance for a final overall rating of “Not Meeting Expectations” on the annual performance appraisal. See the University System SHRA Employee Grievance Policy for more information.

Part IV: Electronic upload

  • How do I submit the completed performance appraisals to HR?
    Completed performance appraisals must be submitted electronically. For instructions on how to upload, CLICK HERE. The electronic submission page will go live on March 1, 2018.

    Remember, additional files can be uploaded for one employee, such as employee comments or an individual goal addendum.
  • Who should submit the completed performance appraisals?
    No. Supervisors* are responsible for uploading the completed performance appraisals for their direct reports. If you are a supervisor with a team of 15 or more direct reports, please contact Olivia Cunningham for bulk upload instructions.

    *Why are supervisors responsible for uploading? Only the person who uploads the appraisals to the system will have access to review or edit them. Therefore, because supervisors are the ones responsible for both completing and editing the annual appraisals, they should also be the ones who have access to them once they have been uploaded to Human Resources.
  • When should I submit the completed performance appraisals?
    Yes. Completed performance appraisals for SHRA and EHRA non-faculty employees are due to HR no later than April 30, 2018. You should not submit your employees’ appraisals until they are complete.

    NOTE: After April 30, 2018 you will no longer be able to upload or add attachments to the system; you will still be able to see your submitted appraisals.
  • What if I’m having trouble with digital signatures?
    No. For basic guidance on completing digital signatures, please CLICK HERE. If you continue to have troubles with digital signatures, here are three potential solutions:
    • Download and save a new Appraisal Tool and copy and paste the information from your old form. This should reset any potential digital signature issues.
    • Reach out to ITS for assistance; they may be able to solve the issue.
    • Print the completed Appraisal Tool and get handwritten signatures. Once signed, scan this copy and submit online. If this causes some of your content (i.e. individual goals) to be cut off, please see the next question.
  • What if I had to print out my copy of the performance appraisal for signatures and it cuts off some of the important text?
    If you had to print your completed appraisal tool and it cut off some of the content (such as individual goals), please use the forms below to document that content. Simply copy and paste from your original form into the forms below. Then, attach it to your electronic submission along with the signed appraisal tool at the end of the cycle.
  • What if my employee wants to add comments?
    If your employee would like to attach his or her comments to the completed appraisal tool, please have them use this form: Full Cycle Employee Comments. Then, attach the comments with the completed appraisal tool on the online submission form.

Part V: Other General Questions

  • Will there be a merit bonus/increase associated with the scores?
    At this point, Human Resources does not know if there will be a merit bonus or increase associated with this year’s appraisal ratings. This is determined by the North Carolina State Legislature, which has not yet communicated whether there will be a merit bonus or increase this year.
  • What will HR be looking for/at when they review the appraisals?
    In addition to reporting the overall scores for SHRA and EHRA non-faculty employees to the state and Chancellor, our team will be:
    • Looking for best practices to share with other departments or areas;
    • Determining what additional resources, workshops and development are needed to help campus be successful in future cycles;
    • Looking for opportunities for campus calibration.
    Our review of the appraisals is NOT punitive; instead, we are focused on finding areas of success and improvement so that we can continue to offer helpful information and support throughout the Full Cycle Performance process.
  • Who is responsible for retaining the final record and in what format?
    As in the past, each office is responsible for retaining completed Full Cycle Performance Appraisals for its area. You may choose to keep these files either electronically or in hard copy. NOTE: This will change in the 2018-19 cycle upon the launch of the online platform for Full Cycle Performance.
  • What if my employee wants to add comments?
    Please contact any member of the Full Cycle Performance team for assistance throughout this process:

Part VI: Terms & Definitions

  • What are institutional goals?
    For SHRA Employees:
    UNC General Administration has established five institutional goals that appear in the performance plans of every SHRA employee. There is an additional institutional goal for supervisors regarding their supervisory responsibilities.

    For EHRA Non-Faculty Employees:
    UNCW administration has established six institutional goals that appear in the plans of every EHRA non-faculty employee. There are an additional two institutional goals for supervisors regarding their supervisory responsibilities.
  • How do institutional goals relate to job duties?
    Each job duty in the position description comes with performance expectations that are described in the institutional goals (for example, level of accuracy, quality of analysis, efficiency of process management, the impact of absenteeism, how interactions with others affect the work produced, adherence to policy and procedure, etc.). However, instead of ratings being given for each job duty, the ratings are given for each institutional goal across all job duties.

    So, instead of receiving one rating for all aspects of Job Duty #1 (accuracy, efficiency, compliance and customer service), employees are rated on their expertise (quality of work) for all duties, then rated for their accountability (meeting deadlines, etc.) for all job duties, and so on.
  • What are Individual Goals?
    The supervisor works with employees to set 3 to 5 individual goals for the performance cycle. These goals are not meant to address every aspect of the employee’s work. Instead, these goals are meant to focus on 3 to 5 work assignments that are particularly important this performance cycle.

    Individual goals may be critical-function goals that highlight some of the most critical work needs in the employee’s position. These are usually compliance-related (for example, annual research or budget reports).

    Individual goals may also be project-oriented goals that may be regular work that is particularly significant during the time of this performance cycle (for example, implementing new software, completing a phase of a research project, reaching a fundraising goal, etc.).

    Most individual goals should be forward-focused. That means that they should align with both the work unit’s and the University’s strategic goals and mission, if possible. For example, if the Chancellor sets an initiative for increased policy compliance on campus, then supervisors might develop individual goals toward increasing policy knowledge and awareness in the work unit or goals to ensure that the work unit is in compliance, such as revising procedure guides or audits of files. If the individual goal is accomplished, then it should help the organization move forward in some way to make things more efficient, less hectic, more understandable, etc. to help make the work unit work better for employees, supervisors, and customers.

    At the beginning of the performance cycle, supervisory teams will meet to discuss goal-setting for the new cycle. In some cases, all employees in a work unit or all employees in a particular position type may have the same individual goals.
  • Is the talent development plan required?
    Yes. Each employee must have at least one development goal each performance cycle. The supervisor determines with each employee the appropriate development goal(s) for the cycle. The supervisors are expected to set development goals to address performance deficiencies for employees who received any rating of Not Meeting Expectations on their last performance appraisal.
  • What are off-cycle reviews?
    Off-cycle reviews are formal check-ins between supervisors and employees that happen during the performance cycle. Supervisors also can conduct off-cycle reviews as often as they find necessary. There are several types of off-cycle reviews.

    Interim reviews are completed near the middle of the cycle (October).

    Probationary reviews are completed quarterly (July, October, January, and March)

    Transfer reviews are completed at the time a supervisor or employee transfers to another position.

    Employee-requested reviews can be completed anytime during the cycle.

    The supervisor is expected to meet with the employee, review the employee’s progress on the individual goals on the performance plan, and discuss how well the employee is meeting the expectations in the institutional goals. The supervisor documents the conversation (at least a paragraph summarizing the employee’s performance so far in the cycle) on the appraisal tool, and both the supervisor and employee initial the review
  • What is the difference am, job aids, institutional goals, individual goals, and the talent development plan?
    The position description defines what tasks (job duties) are included in the position. The supervisor writes the position description.

    Job aids are policies, procedures and other resources that give guidance to employees on how to perform their assigned duties.

    The performance plan defines how well the employee needs to perform job duties on the position description in order to meet performance expectations. It also includes targeted individual goals for the employee.

    • The institutional goals define campus-wide performance expectations for all employees. These goals address a wide range of performance expectations found in all aspects of the employee’s work product (quality, accuracy, timeliness, manner of delivery, policy compliance, etc.) as well as standard expectations for employee behavior and conduct. UNC General Administration sets the institutional goals for all SHRA employees. UNCW administration sets the institutional goals for all EHRA non-faculty employees.
    • The individual goals define the level of performance required for three to five critical job duties for the performance cycle. These goals may be specific to an individual employee or may be shared across employees in the work unit or broader organization. Goals may be based on recurring job duties or may be assignments unique to the current performance cycle. Individual goals should align with the overall mission and goals of the University and work unit. The supervisor works with the employees to set the individual goals for each of their employees.
    • The talent development plan defines activities for employee growth and/or corrective actions for performance deficiencies. Development goals include training programs, committee work, conference presentations or attendance, or related activities that maintain, develop or broaden employee skills relevant to their current position and/or their career path or to their role in service to the work unit or the broader University community. The supervisor works with the employee to set the development goals.