HR Operations

Employee work performance

Like most employees, you want to do well in your job. In order to do that, you need a clear understanding of what is expected of you. You may also need support and training to meet those expectations.

Performance management isn’t simply a once-a-year evaluation. Good performance management is a continuous, positive collaboration between you and your supervisor. By staying connected with your supervisor all year round, you can make adjustments to your work performance as needed, and your supervisor can assess and support your performance and ability to meet your annual goals.

Planning for the year ahead

You and your supervisor should have a discussion about your work goals for the upcoming year. You should expect to have this discussion around the time of your annual performance review for the previous year.

The discussion may include:

  • A review of your job description. Is it accurate and complete?
  • A list of goals for the coming year. Your goals should be tied to departmental goals and your job description.
  • An assessment of skills and knowledge you need to develop in order to achieve your goals.
  • A discussion of your long-term professional goals. This is a good time to advocate for your professional growth through training and job opportunities.

You and your supervisor should document your goals and any necessary professional development. Make sure you get a copy of this document so that you can refer to it over the next review period.

If you don’t understand any of your goals or expectations, be sure to clarify them with your supervisor.

New employees

New classified non-union and contract covered staff employees, or current classified non-union and contract covered staff employees moving to a new position, are usually required to serve a probationary or trial service period. The length of this period is determined by the applicable collective bargaining agreement or employment program.

Be sure that you understand the goals and expectations you need to meet in order to successfully complete this period and transition to permanent status.

Professional staff don’t have a probationary or trial service period; instead, they serve on an “at will” basis, which means that their appointment can be modified or ended for any reason that does not unlawfully discriminate against the employee or violate public policy.

Staying connected

Meet with your supervisor throughout the year, formally or informally, so that you can receive timely and regular feedback about your performance. These meetings can also be a great time to discuss any additional support or training you need to accomplish your goals.

If your goals change over the course of the year, ask your supervisor to document the changes.

Keep track of your achievements and professional development during the year, particularly accomplishments related to your annual goals. This information can be helpful when it is time for your annual performance review.

Reviewing the year

Performance reviews typically take place annually.

Your annual review has two parts: a written evaluation and a one-on-one meeting with your supervisor to discuss the evaluation.

For the annual performance review, pull out the notes you have been keeping on your achievements over the review period. These notes can be a useful aid if you are asked to complete a self-evaluation. If no self-evaluation is required, offer to summarize your achievements for your supervisor. Remembering all the accomplishments of multiple employees is challenging. Your supervisor may appreciate a reminder when writing your evaluation.

Written evaluation

Your department may have a standard form for performance evaluations. Ask your supervisor for a blank copy of the form so that you can better understand how you are being assessed.

Evaluation forms typically cover the following topics:

  • Quality of work (accuracy, thoroughness, competence)
  • Quantity of work (productivity level, time management, ability to meet deadlines)
  • Job knowledge (skills and understanding of the work)
  • Working relationships (ability to work with others, communication skills)
  • Achievements
One-on-one meeting

For many employees, the face-to-face performance discussion is the most stressful work conversation they’ll have all year. But remember that your supervisor wants you to succeed at your job. If you and your supervisor have been communicating openly and frequently all year round, nothing in your evaluation should come as a surprise.

Ask your supervisor if you can read the written evaluation prior to the meeting. This gives you time to consider the feedback and gather your thoughts before talking in person with your supervisor. And you should have the opportunity to provide input before the written evaluation is finalized.

After you and your supervisor have discussed your evaluation, both of you need to sign the form. Your evaluation is stored in your departmental personnel file for three years.

What if I don’t agree with my evaluation?

Your signature simply means that you have read the document. Signing your evaluation form does not mean that you agree with what has been written.

If you disagree with any part of your evaluation, you can write a letter of response, detailing your view of your performance and how it differs from the evaluation. Check your employment program or collective bargaining agreement for the appropriate process to express disagreement with your evaluation. Additionally, you can contact the University’s Office of the Ombud if you would like support in presenting your concern.

Make a new plan

Once the annual performance review is completed, you and your supervisor should develop and document goals and expectation for the next 12 months.

Additional resources

Sample performance review forms
Classified non-union staff
Contract classified
Professional staff
UW Medicine (except SOM)
UW policies
  • APS 43.13 Probation and Trial Service Policy for Classified Non-Union Staff
  • APS 43.14 Performance Management Policy for Classified Non-union Staff

UW collective bargaining agreements

Professional Staff Program

Civil service rules (classified non-union staff)

If personal issues are affecting your job performance and you are benefits-eligible, contact the Washington State Employee Assistance Program (WA EAP), which provides confidential counseling.