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Performance Management

SMU HR Resources

Performance Management

Timely and specific performance feedback, coupled with a coaching relationship will build the confidence, skill, and experience of your team members. For benefits-eligible employees, the University uses separate processes to manage the 90 day Probationary Review and on-going performance management (including goal setting, mid-yer review and the annual review).

90 Day Probationary Review for New Employees

New employees should receive regular feedback throughout the 90-day probationary period. The probationary period should include a 90-day review with the employee.  Managers will be asked to provide Human Resources with feedback on the new employee via an automated process generated by my.SMU.  

Click on the 90 Day tab above to learn more about the process.

Ongoing Performance Management, Mid-Year Review and Annual Performance Review
Employees should be given feedback throughout the year culminating in an annual performance review, which summarizes the year. The Annual Review process takes place in the fall semester, from mid-September to mid-December.

Click on the Annual Performance Review tab above to learn more about the process.


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90 Day Probationary Review for New Employees

Online Review Process

All employees benefit from regular and timely feedback. New employees are in need of clear expectations and regular feedback throughout their first 90 days on the job. Managers should be scheduling frequent one-on-one meetings and taking opportunities to provide feedback on a more informal basis during this time.

90 Day Review Process 
The new employee's manager will be prompted via automated emails to submit the review within my.SMU. Automated emails to the manager will begin on day 60 of the new employee's probationary period and continue on a regular basis until the online review form is completed or until the employee reaches his or her 86th day of employment, which is the last day a performance review will be accepted in my.SMU.  Please note these emails will come from - check your junk mail account if you think you are not receiving these emails.

Human Resources Support
The manager will receive an automated confirmation email after completing the online review form . A member of the Employee Relations team will review the document and contact the manager to help address any identified performance issues. If performance issues arise early in the probationary period, managers are encouraged to contact Human Resources immediately for support.

Probationary Review Due Date
The probationary review is due by the employee's 86th day of employment. This enables Human Resources to provide any needed assistance prior to the conclusion of the probationary period. Unless action is taken, such as an extension to probation, an employee who passes the 90th day on the job is considered a regular employee. Subsequent performance issues are typically handled through coaching and the progressive discipline process.

Additional information may be accessed using the links below including: instructions on accessing and completing the online form, review questions regarding employees who are not meeting expectations and the types of options managers may request, holding a review discussion and retaining probationary period documents.

SMU Strategic Plan for 2016-2025


Managerial Options During Probation:


Annual performance reviews are to be conducted for all regular (benefits-eligible) staff members in the fall semester, between September and December of each year. Reviews should be completed in my.SMU>Performance Management no later than December 15, 2017.

Please Note: All benefits-eligible staff employees will complete an annual performance review regardless of their date of employment.  Employees whose start date falls within the annual review timeframe (September-December of each year) will complete both their 90 day Probationary Review and the Annual Review.  

HR Announces a New System for On-Going Performance Management to include Goal Setting, a Mid-Year Review and the Annual Performance Review

In January 2017, SMU implemented the my.SMU performance module to support employees and managers with the process of on-going performance management. Annual Reviews are the culmination of the process.  Goal setting, tracking, feedback, a mid-year review and the annual review are facilitated within the my.SMU system.  

Employees will find their Performance Management document via Self Service>Performance Management>My Performance Documents. 

Managers will find a Performance Document for each person who reports directly to them within Manager Self Service>Performance Management>Performance Documents.

Managers should check with their internal administration about earlier deadlines or processes.

What's New or Different with the my.SMU System:

  • The process of performance management is no longer paper based!  All information and tracking is done entirely within the my.SMU system.  
  • Performance documents are created within the system and employees are notified via email from my.SMU that the document is available.
  • Once available, employees and managers may define and enter goals on an on-going basis.  Goals should align the employee's efforts with departmental and team initiatives which are known at the time and may be adjusted throughout the year based on new initiatives, changing priorities, or shifts in employee/team responsibilities.
  • The system is is designed to be a living document where coaching conversations and regular check-ins are documented and accessible to both the employee and the manager.  
  • A Mid-Year checkpoint  is scheduled within the system to support the process of on-going performance management.
  • The Annual Review provides the opportunity to summarize the highlights of the past year's goals and accomplishments. 

Understanding the New System and Process

HR will be offering several sessions highlighting the new process and goal setting strategies on the following dates and times.  Employees and Managers are encouraged to attend a session to learn more about the new process and strategies for effective goal setting. 

Manager Sessions:

Thurs    Feb.2  9-11:00 am  HR Training Room, Expressway Tower #208
Mon    Feb 27  3-5:00 pm  HR Training Room, Expressway Tower #208
Wed    Mar 22  1-3:00 pm  HR Training Room, Expressway Tower #208
Tues   Apr 18  9-11:00 am  HR Training Room, Expressway Tower #208
 Fri   May 19  1-3:00 pm  HR Training Room, Expressway Tower #208

Enroll in a scheduled session via my.SMU.  Search by course title of "Performance Management - Goal Setting".   Additional sessions will be added as necessary or if you are interested in hosting a session for your internal group, email  

Employee Sessions:

Informational sessions to review the new system and processes in my.SMU will be hosted on the following dates and times.  Please encourage your team to attend one of these sessions or to host a session for your division, please email

Resources for Goal Setting Conversations

SMU has identified the following core competencies and behaviors which lead to success at the University.  These are included in the Performance Management process via my.SMU.

In addition to the core, other competencies and behaviors may apply to certain job responsibilities or projects.  Access a list of the most common as a reference.  These may be added in the Performance Management process in my.SMU.

                                    Competency  Behaviors
  Building Trust  This competency reflects the ability to be honest and committed and to value other’s positions equally as own:
  • Communicates an understanding of the other person's interests, needs and concerns.
  • Remains open to others' ideas and opinions even when they conflict with their own.
  • Identifies and communicates shared interests and goals.
  • Identifies and communicates differences as appropriate.
  • Makes and meets commitments that contribute to addressing the other person's interests, needs, and concerns.
  • Addresses perceived harm to the other person by fully acknowledging any harm done, clarifying intentions, and finding a suitable remedy that affirms the value of the relationship.
  • Uses an approach to resolving conflicts or conducting negotiations which lead to positive outcomes success for all involved.
  • Shares thoughts, feelings, and rationale so that others understand personal positions.
  • Develops, maintains, and strengthens partnerships with others inside or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.
  Communication  This competency reflects the ability to give and gather information and to actively manage the communication process:
  • Listens to and considers other’s views
  • States own views clearly and concisely
  • Asks questions to find out other’s real views and check understanding
  • Tackles disagreement constructively
  • Conveys complex information in plain language
  • Has a manner, style and presence in written and oral communication that makes a positive impression
  • Ensures that information is passed on to others who should be kept
  Conflict Management  This competency reflects the ability to manage interpersonal relationships, both between self/other and other/other:
  • Recognizes differences of opinion, brings them out into the open for discussion, and looks for win-win solutions
  • Establishes a clear and compelling rationale for resolving the conflict
  • Uses appropriate interpersonal styles and methods to reduce tension or conflict between two or more people
  • Finds agreement on issues and follows through on implementation
  • Deals effectively with others in an antagonistic situation
  • Manages relationships and builds trust in the process
  Development Oriented   This competency reflects the ability to focus on own development and to take action to learn:
  • Understands self-development if important to organizational success
  • Is able to accurately identify own development needs
  • Takes responsibility for setting up their own learning opportunities
  • Reflects and consciously learns from experience
  • Evaluates own performance
  • Actively seeks feedback to assist with continuous self-improvement
  • Open to learning

   Initiative  This competency reflects the ability to:
  • Responds appropriately on own to improve outcomes, processes or measurements, including anticipating student/customer reactions and gathering information or planning accordingly
  • Assumes responsibility and leadership when asked
  • Accomplishes goals independently, with little need for supervision
  • Takes ownership and accountability for own performance
  • Seeks out and/or accepts additional responsibilities in the context of the job.
  Problem Solving - Decision Making  This competency reflects the ability to evaluate or judge the best course of action and to make decisions at the appropriate speed:
  • Can make considered decisions quickly when necessary
  • Develops solutions that are considerate for all involved
  • Applies common sense when making decisions
  • Seeks expert advice or objective opinions before making decisions
  • Is prepared to be influenced by sound arguments and new information or evidence
  • Is prepared to make tough decisions and is prepared to see them through
  Relationship Management This competency reflects the ability to get on well with a wide range of people and build long term trusting relationships:
  • Is good at resolving people issues before they get out of hand
  • Builds rapport with people
  • Notices when others need help and support
  • Goes out of way to develop trust in relationships
  • Is sensitive to the unspoken feelings of others
  • Brings tensions to the surface, helps to resolve conflicts and produces a positive outcome
  • Looks for common ground and builds co-operation even in difficult circumstances
   Resource Management This competency reflects the ability to identify, prioritize, and manage resources (physical, financial and human) to foster productivity and achieve organizational goals:
  • Identifies resources available to the organization
  • Effectively and efficiently manages the use of existing resources
  • Ensures the appropriate amount of resources are available at the appropriate time in order to accomplish the business goals (not too much and not too few)
  • Assigns the appropriate people to tasks that will keep them busy without overworking them or providing too much downtime
  • Cooperatively work with others to share resources
  • Follows all policies and procedures for tracking, submitting, and accounting for resource utilization
  Student/Customer Focus This competency reflects the pursuit of the highest level of customer service:
  • Shows respect and friendliness to customers
  • Develops and maintains effective student/customer relationships
  • Anticipates future customer needs and trends
  • Focuses on identifying opportunities to benefit customers
  • Talks and listens to customers to clarify their real needs and expectations
  • Strives to resolve customer concerns
  • Offers advice and guidance in responding to customer inquiries
  Teamwork This competency reflects the ability to contribute to teams and to improve their effectiveness through personal commitment:
  • Supports less experienced colleagues
  • Encourages a strong sense of team spirit
  • Focuses the team on what will contribute to success in the long term
  • Develops ideas and solutions jointly with others
  • Gives fair and constructive feedback to team members
  • Takes responsibility for team's actions
  • Develops a wide network of productive relationships around the business