Managing Performance

Managing your team's performance is critical to team, department, division, and the University's success.  It starts with aligning an employee's efforts with organizational needs and strategies. Creating goals that clearly communicate these needs/strategies and defining the metrics of success will ensure an employee understands what is expected of them and how to get there.  This includes clear definition of the work to be done (the "what") and the behaviors (the "how") that will support their success in getting there   On-going feedback provides recognition and course correction when necessary.  

At SMU, performance management is formally facilitated via the my.SMU system.  

Employees will find their documents under Self Service>Performance Management>Performance Documents.

Managers will find the documents of those who report to them under Manager Self Service>Performance Management>Performance Documents.

Note:  Employees who start employment after the initial document creation in August of each year will have their documents created within 48 hours of their date of employment, assuming complete data is provided and entered in the my.SMU system.  

If you are not able to view documents for yourself or an employee who directly reports to you, notify HR.

The Annual Performance Management Cycle 

Once performance documents are created in August of each year, the employee and manager work in the same document within my.SMU to create and define goals, track progress, and host a mid-year check-in session.  In preparation for the annual review, in August of the following year,  the performance document is split into two separate documents:  an employee self-evaluation and a manager evaluation.  Employee and manager complete their individual evaluations and meet to discuss their individual perspectives.  The manager then shares the final review document with the employee to acknowledge the review. Once accepted by the employee, the current annual process is complete and the documents move to  "Historical" vs. "Current" status. 

The annual review step of the cycle occurs from mid-September through mid-December of each year.

Concurrent with the annual review in August of each year, performance documents for the upcoming performance year are created for each employee.  As the annual review step begins, employees should copy any unfinished goals to the next year's documents and continue to track progress in the new documents.

Resources for Performance Management

Managers have many resources available to help them develop the skills needed to successfully manage a team.

Manager Orientation

Newly hired or promoted managers are asked to complete the Manager Orientation program. These workshops are designed to provide information about the resources available to managers from HR, IAE, Legal and Risk Management and to identify ways to grow their managerial skills.

Professional Development

Continuous learning is a core value of the University.  Learning new concepts, skills, and networking with other managers builds a manager's repertoire of tools and resources for leading outstanding teams.  Professional development is a strategy to ensure managers are performing at levels that support those on their team.

Providing and Seeking Feedback

Supervisors should be giving their team members regular and timely feedback as well as seeking feedback about how they can become better managers for the team. A good way to do this is to have regular 1-1 meetings with team members. This gives managers an opportunity to give and receive feedback on a consistent basis.

Great managers consistently seek feedback for themselves from their supervisors, colleagues, and team members. This type of information can enable managers to work more effectively with everyone, even team members under their supervision. Successful managers recognize that flexing their managerial styles to promote the best performance from individual team members may be necessary as a "one-size-fits-all" mentality typically produces average results at best.

In addition, the University requires managers to provide formal feedback via the performance management system in my.SMU.  Managers with new employees should complete a probationary review within the first 90 days of employment. Check the links to the right for additional information about performance reviews.

Tools for Providing Recognition

Managers seeking to retain their high performers and motivate others need to understand the tools available at SMU. Managers who consider recognition only in terms of budget dollars may be missing a critical aspect of recognition.  Recognition may be as simple as a quick conversation in which the manager identifies the specific accomplishment or behavior and its impact, followed by a sincere expression of thanks.

According to the Gallup organization, the #1 reason employees leave the organization is because of a lack of relationship with their manager. Getting to know your employees, understanding what motivates (or de-motivates) them, knowing how they want to develop, and providing opportunities for them to engage with their passion are all recognition strategies. 

Managers with consistently high performing team members may wish to nominate them for one of the various staff recognition awards or structure their merit allocation so that they can more effectively recognize outstanding performance with a higher merit raise. Supervisors also have a great opportunity to recognize extended years of service through the Service Awards program.

When An Employee Has Performance Issues

Managers who need to address a performance issue should seek to understand the common types of performance problems and then investigate the situation before problem-solving with the employee. Human Resources offers two Manager Orientation classes, "Managing and Coaching fo High Performance," and "Employee Relations Essentials," at various times during the year. These two classes help managers practice important coaching skills and develop an understanding of the University's formal progressive discpline process. Managers must first complete the class on coaching as most performance issues are best handled through effective coaching.

We offer a variety of links to the right with more information about these tools and additional information our supervisors often find helpful in managing their teams.

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