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Alan Chesney

Alan Chesney recently sat down with Tennessee Today to discuss the importance of performance reviews.

As a UT employee, you hear a lot about Annual Performance Reviews (APRs). This year’s APR deadline—March 31—is fast approaching, so this is the perfect time to tackle this important subject. The APR covers the 2007 calendar year.

Although a performance review may sound intimidating, an APR is simply an opportunity for a dialog between an employee and a supervisor about job performance and expectations. A poor review is cause for concern and should be used to identify strategies for improvement. A great review does not directly result in a raise or promotion.

Both supervisors and employees have responsibilities in the APR process. Essentially, the supervisor’s job is to plan the performance review, document specifics, obtain and fill out the necessary paperwork (a detailed performance review form and a summary form), schedule a meeting with the employee and submit a signed summary form to HR. The employee is expected to attend the meeting, discuss performance and expectations, make written comments and, ultimately, sign the form indicating participation in the process. A signature does not mean the employee agrees with the review.

The review is intended to be two-way communication. Employees are wise to prepare their own evaluation of their accomplishments, goals and issues they want to discuss. In this way, they can take an active role in the review. One excellent way to prepare is to fill out your own copy of either the detailed form or the summary form—the same documents your supervisor will use. All forms are at or available by calling 974-6018 and asking for a copy by campus mail.

Employees may wonder what effect reviews can have on their jobs. If performance is rated as poor, the employee and supervisor can decide upon steps for making improvements and fine-tuning performance expectations. High ratings, on the other hand, can lead to a discussion about expanding an employee’s responsibilities.

The review considers each employee’s accomplishments, service and relationships, accountability and dependability, adaptability and flexibility as well as decision-making and problem solving abilities.

Based upon the performance review and input from the employee during the meeting, a supervisor may choose to change ratings. In such a case, a modified form is resubmitted to the director or department head for approval, after which the employee receives and signs the updated form. The supervisor should submit the summary form and any other requested supporting documentation to Human Resources shortly after the review.

Again, this year’s deadline is March 31, 2008. Supervisors cannot fill out the summary form electronically; however, once printed and completed, any method—fax, mail or hand delivery—can be used to send it to Human Resources. Employees should also receive copies for their records.