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Performance Reviews

SMU HR Resources

Performance Reviews

Timely and specific performance feedback, coupled with a coaching relationship will build the confidence, skill, and experience of your team members. The University uses two formal feedback points with benefit-eligible staff members: the 90-day Probationary 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.

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 spring semester, from mid-January to mid-April.

Click on the Annual Performance Review tab above to learn more about the process, access the review forms, and understand who should receive an annual review.


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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 Access.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 Access.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 quickly 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 spring semester, between January and April. Completed original forms are due to the Department of Human Resources by close of business on Friday, April 22, 2016.

Please Note: If a new employee began work prior to January 1 of the current review period (Jan-April), an Annual Review will need to completed for this employee during the the review period. The online 90 Day Performance Review will not substitute for an annual review. If the employee was hired after January 1,  an Annual Review will not be required for him/her until the following year.

Reviews should be completed and forwarded to HR/Employee Relations, PO Box 750232, Department of Human Resources by the due date. A number of divisions and schools require reviews be submitted internally before they are sent to Human Resources. Please inquire with your internal administration about earlier deadlines.

Performance Review and Goal Setting Forms

HR rolled out new performance review forms for the 2016 annual review period (Jan-April 2016).  

The process includes two new forms:  one focused on the Year in Review and the second on The Year Ahead.   The Year in Review form should be submitted to HR for the Annual Performance Review documentation by the published due date.  The Year Ahead conversation should be initiated at the same time as the Year in Review conversation and should focus on the development of goals for the upcoming year.

Year in Review:  Regular coaching and feedback should have occurred through the year, therefore the year in review form provides the opportunity to summarize the highlights of the past year's goals and accomplishments.  Managers and employees should individually complete the form before meeting for the review session.  After the review session, the manager should summarize the conversations and finalize the Year in Review form.  The year in review form is the required form to be forwarded to HR by the published due date and a copy should be provided to the employee.

The Year Ahead:  The main focus of this conversation between the manager and employee is on developing goals for the upcoming year.  Several goals should be identified and should align the employee's efforts with departmental and team initiatives which are known at the time.  The employee and the manager should complete the form individually before meeting and then come to agreement on future goals during the session.  A final copy should be generated and the manager and employee should have the final copy for future reference.   Goals may be adjusted throughout the year based on new initiatives, changing priorities, or shifts in employee/team responsibilities.  The Year Ahead form for FY 16-17 is designed to be a living document where coaching conversations and regular check-ins can be documented, culminating in a Year in Review conversation for the next Review Period starting in January 2017.

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

Thurs    Feb. 11    9-10:30 am   HTSC, Portico Rooms BCD
Tues    Feb 23    2-3:30 pm   Huitt-Zollar Pav, Embrey Bldg 115
Mon    Mar 7    2-3:30 pm    HTSC,  Forum

Enroll in a scheduled session via my.SMU.  Search by course title of "Performance Review Workshop".

If you are interested in hosting a session for your internal group, email  

Performance Review Forms

Resources for Goal Setting Conversations

Additional Resources