The emphasis in LSA is NOT on the completion of forms but instead we ask employees and supervisors to learn, understand and adopt the set of principles underlying successful performance management. Our goal is to provide employees with a work culture where success is nurtured, valued and acknowledged.
A core concept of LSA Performance Management guidelines is a 180-degree shift away from emphasizing yearly “evaluations” of work. LSA’s guidelines put the emphasis on work planning and goal setting discussions between employees and supervisors, and regular and frequent two-way feedback. We expect supervisors in LSA to incorporate these concepts into their management style and we provide training in those concepts. This emphasis on proactive work planning and regular two-way feedback creates a culture where work is thoughtfully planned, regularly discussed and employees understand how their work will contribute to the success of the unit.
To support the emphases on this year-round process, supervisors and employees are asked once each year to complete and return to the College a checklist to indicate that a work plan with goals was developed and that regular communication about the work plan, including a formal end of year discussion, took place. This checklist should be collected by the unit Key Administrator and returned to the College with salary program materials.
What about appraisals? All supervisors are asked to schedule an appraisal meeting of at least one hour with each employee to listen to the employee’s reflections about his or her work over the past year, reflect on the outcomes of that work, and discuss suggestions for improving the work of the unit through the work of this employee. This is an opportunity for the employee to provide the supervisor with a formal year-end self-appraisal. Guidelines to assist with such discussions are available on the NT public space*. This formal wrap-up discussion leads into developing the work plan for the coming year.
While a written appraisal is not a requirement in this process, College policy doesn’t preclude written self-appraisals and appraisals for those supervisors and employees who find the process helpful. Employees can, if they wish, request that a written appraisal be provided. Unit managers and/or Chairs and Directors can also choose to ask for written documentation of the appraisal discussion. If written appraisals are used, they must be based on the work-planning concept. The College provides a format that relates directly to the work plan.
When the work plan is used as a reference tool for feedback discussions, and when two-way feedback about work goals is a regular and frequent part of conversations between employee and supervisor, the end of year formal appraisal discussion is a natural wrap-up of those discussions.
The goal of work planning is for supervisors and staff members to achieve a common understanding of the staff member's work goals and expected results. A work plan is also the basis for two-way feedback and coaching through the year. Used effectively, a work plan can achieve clarity and understanding between the supervisor and the staff member.
All non-instructional staff in LSA are expected to develop a work plan in discussion with the supervisor. The work plan outlines key areas of responsibility for the position held by the employee and sets out specific goals for that work for the coming year. Employees can use whatever format they prefer for the work plan; a template is provided to show the essential content of a work plan. Once created, the work plan should be reviewed and updated at least twice a year. Hands-on training is provided by the College to assist employees in understanding the concept of such a work plan. The goal of work planning is for supervisors and staff members to achieve a common understanding of the staff member’s work goals and expected results. A work plan is also the basis for two-way feedback and coaching through the year. Used effectively, a work plan can achieve clarity and understanding between the supervisor and the staff member on three things:
- What are the core elements of my job?
- What work goals should have priority for the coming year?
- What progress am I making in accomplishing these goals?
Underlying these is also the most important question of “…and why am I doing it?” Supervisors can help answer this, by clarifying the purpose, direction, and goals of your unit, as well as the larger organization to which you may belong. This is particularly important during organizational changes and changes in the way in which tasks are accomplished.
In developing a work plan, follow the following process:
- Consider the purpose, vision, and business goals (including core work) of your organization and your unit.
- Discuss how these integrate with the overall job goal of your position. The overall job goal formula is: The (job title) is responsible for (what) (why).
Planning and managing work is through developing prioritized or weighted key areas of responsibility (KAR’s). Between 5 and 7 KARs is a good number to avoid too much or too little detail. KARs are brief phrases to describe major categories of work in a job. These core responsibilities are likely to remain fairly constant from year to year in many positions but can be easily updated if responsibilities change. A mandatory KAR for every LSA staff member is “Perform as an effective member of the work group, assuming an appropriate role and level of responsibility.”
Developing job goals is the third element of a work plan. A goal is a written statement of what you expect to accomplish within a specific period of time. Several goals can be listed under a key area of responsibility, if appropriate. A simple goal formula is (verb) (what). Example: Decrease response time for service requests. It helps to consider different types of goals: maintenance goals are work outcomes that continue from one year to the next; developmental goals signal that you (or your supervisor) have identified an area improvement is needed; innovative goals are new challenges and expansions of your work that you want to take on for the coming year.
(Optional) In some cases it may be helpful to expand the goal by noting a measurable objective for the goal. Simply put, this is specific criteria to measure success in meeting the goal at the end of the year. Example: By May 1st, decrease response time for service requests from 72 hours to 24 hours for urgent requests and from 2 weeks to 1 week for non-urgent requests.
(Optional) For particularly difficult goals it may be helpful to develop an action plan, which is a list of tasks or activities that will be undertaken to achieve the goal. A formula for developing an action plan is: who will do what, when, with what resources.
It is important to have regular two-way feedback between employee and supervisor. We suggest at least two formal discussions to update the work plan, in addition to ongoing coaching from the supervisor in order to support employee performance.
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