The purpose of the work planning meeting is for the supervisor and the staff member to reach common ground on what is expected of the staff member, and what support and resources she can expect from the supervisor and others. This meeting is the opportunity for both of you to discuss perceptions of the staff member’s specific job now and to clarify expectations for the upcoming year.


"…Appraisal just looks in the rearview mirror. Planning looks to the future to maximize performance to come, not to analyze performance that is past and unchangeable. The real increases in productivity come from aiming the employee at the bull’s-eye and then getting out of the way."

—Robert Bacal, Performance Management

Before the Meeting:

  1. Staff members should prepare a draft work plan with areas of responsibilities and possible goals.
  2. Supervisors should prepare for the meeting by considering their priorities and goals for the position for the coming year.
  3. Arrange a time and place to meet privately, without interruption.
  4. Before the meeting, review the draft work plan. Copies should be available for both supervisor and staff member.

During the Work Planning Meeting:

  1. Work to establish rapport between staff member and supervisor and to maintain an atmosphere of mutual communication. Remember to ask questions based on the goal setting nature of the meeting, and to listen carefully to the answers. Observe body language as an essential part of listening.
  2. If each of you have prepared material in advance, take time to compare your lists of job responsibilities and goals and to note any significant differences.
  3. Work toward settling the differences. It is not useful to spend time selling your exact wording or format. It is essential for your job, however, that agreement is reached on accomplishing your department’s goals through the clear, agreed-upon overall job goals and key responsibilities of the staff members.
  4. When you have arrived at a common understanding of the job responsibilities, agree on a process to prepare an updated copy of the work plan within a week of this meeting.
  5. Establish intervals at which supervisor and staff member will meet during the year to discuss details of progress toward the goals listed.
  6. Agree that if, at any time during the year, either of you find the work plan in need of revision, irrelevant to actual work demands, or unreasonable in any way, you will meet to revise the plan.

After the Work Planning Meeting:

  1. Schedule some additional time to complete your notes immediately following your meeting.
  2. The supervisor and the staff member should initial and date the revised work plan within one week of the meeting. Keep a paper and electronic copy with both the supervisor and the staff member.
  3. Confirm the schedule of time to check in see what resources and support are needed for success.

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