Performance Management for Managers and Supervisors

Performance management policy for managers and supervisors.
Functional Owner

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

Executive Sponsor

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

Policy Contact

Director, Talent Recruitment and Engagement

Policy Summary

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is committed to supporting all employees to meet their career and professional goals, as well as supporting the university’s need to maintain a high-performing workforce. Performance management is comprised of frequent informal conversations consisting of coaching, feedback and support to employees about their work, needs, and accomplishments related to the duties and expectations of their positions. These activities will result in supervisors conducting annual performance evaluations documenting those conversations. Effective performance management strategies position the university to provide employees with developmental opportunities, better recognize performance that exceeds expectations, and support employees who need to improve performance. Documenting outstanding performance will support employee recognition.

The Office of Human Resources (OHR) supports the campus in the implementation of this policy through a variety of approaches, including providing professional development and supporting tools and resources.

The performance management policy is closely linked to the following UW–Madison policies: Recruitment, Assessment, and Selection of Academic, Faculty, Limited, and University Staff Employees and New Employee Onboarding

Who This Policy Applies To

This policy applies to full- or part-time Academic and University Staff employees with a defined or anticipated appointment greater than one year, Limited Appointees, and Faculty members who supervise other employees.

This policy will be followed by managers and supervisors of these employment groups. It is the responsibility of the dean’s or director’s office of each division (including schools and colleges) to ensure that this policy is followed. Although the performance management policy is not required for all employee categories, these activities are best practices and are therefore encouraged for every employee, regardless of category.

Note: This policy does not govern probationary employment or the terms of an initial evaluation period at the university. Probationary and initial evaluation periods are governed by ASPP 2.04 (“Periods of Evaluation”) and ASPP 2.08 (“Probationary Appointments”). This policy does not cover the evaluation of Faculty. The processes for reviews of probationary Faculty and for post-tenure reviews are addressed by FPP 7.32 and II-106 (Policy on Review of Tenured Faculty).


Research has shown that effective performance management drives employee behaviors that align with organizational goals and objectives. By clarifying expectations, recognizing high performers, addressing performance issues, and identifying developmental needs, performance management systems can drive improved employee performance.1 The university is best served when it supports employees to meet their career and professional goals while at the same time maintaining a high-performing workforce. Employees are best served when they receive ongoing feedback on their performance and career growth.

Policy Detail

  1. Performance Management Programs

    Each division is required to develop, implement, monitor, and maintain a performance management program for the employee groups listed above (“Who This Policy Applies To”). Subject to OHR approval, each division has the flexibility to develop a program or multiple programs that best meet the needs of its particular environment, within the parameters of this policy. At a minimum, each program needs to include the following:

    1. Expectations and Goal-setting. Managers/supervisors should have initial expectation and goal-setting conversations with each employee who reports directly to them within 30 days of when a new employee begins work, and annually thereafter, at the beginning of the performance period. These discussions should cover the major duties of each position, work priorities, how successful performance will be evaluated, developmental needs, and strategies to meet these needs. The date of the conversation and the goals and expectations identified in this meeting must be documented and the goals/expectations provided to the employee.
    2. Informal Conversations. Managers/supervisors should conduct regular informal conversations with all employees who report directly to them. These meetings should consist of coaching, feedback, and support to employees about their work, needs, and accomplishments related to the duties and expectations of their positions. Informal conversations do not need to be documented.
    3. Mid-point Conversation. Approximately midway through each performance year, mid-point feedback must be documented and identify whether the employee’s performance is meeting expectations. (e.g., a check box indicating that performance is meeting expectations).
    4. Summary Evaluation. All managers/supervisors should conduct summary performance evaluation conversations with each employee who reports directly to them at the conclusion of each new employee’s probationary/initial evaluation period and the conclusion of each performance year thereafter. This conversation should, at a minimum, include a discussion of the following:
      1. Whether the employee’s performance met expectations
      2. Whether the employee achieved annual goals
      3. Professional development needs and opportunities
      4. Options to develop additional skills and knowledge to foster career growth.
    5. The expectations and goal-setting, mid-point, and summary conversations must be documented. However, there is no prescribed format for this documentation. The documentation can range from a simple checklist, signed by the supervisor and employee that ensures the discussion covers all of the necessary elements of a performance evaluation, to a comprehensive written evaluation.
    6. The summary performance evaluation should address the performance/development topics covered in the earlier discussions. It is important to emphasize that supervisors should provide regular feedback throughout the performance period, not just at the designated mid-year and year-end discussions. This will ensure that there are no surprises in the summary evaluation.
  2. Performance Management Workflow

    1. Each division will develop workflows and approval requirements for the performance management process and documentation. At minimum, divisions must meet the following standards and document retention procedures:
      1. After the supervisor discusses performance with the employee, the evaluation should be signed and dated by both the supervisor and employee. Electronic signatures are acceptable. An employee’s signature confirms that the document has been reviewed and discussed with him or her. The signature does not imply agreement with the document.
      2. Within 30 days of receiving a performance evaluation, an employee may submit a written response to the division human resources office, to be attached to the annual performance evaluation. The division HR office is responsible for ensuring that a copy of an employee’s response is placed in the employee’s personnel file.
      3. The supervisor shall provide each employee with a copy of the performance evaluation after the evaluation has been reviewed with, and signed by, the employee.
    2. The original performance management documents shall be retained in the employee’s personnel file.
    3. Divisions must retain all performance management documents in accordance with state law and university record-retention policies.
    4. All performance management documents should be treated as confidential and shared only if required by policy, law, or business need.

Consequences for Non-Compliance

Supervisors and managers must complete all required performance management activities in accordance with this policy in order to be eligible for certain pay adjustments.

Supporting Tools

OHR maintains online resources to support the campus community in developing, implementing and continuing to support the performance management process.

College/School/Division HR maintain documentation and templates that are specific to their program design and processes.

Policy Assessment

OHR will evaluate the effectiveness of the policy, training, and support tools after each of the first two years the policy is in effect.


Office of Human Resources (OHR)
  • Maintains this policy and collaborates with deans and directors to ensure this policy is complied with across campus
  • Serves as campus expert on performance management program design and implementation, consulting with divisions as needed
  • Develops best-practice performance-management tools and support for the campus
  • Ensures that divisions comply with this policy by approving performance-management programs
  • Develops and delivers professional development on best-practice performance-management techniques to division HR practitioners and other employees with supervisory responsibilities
Deans and Directors
  • Ensures policy is followed
College/School/Division HR
  • Develops, implements, monitors, and maintains a performance management system that complies with this policy and supports employee and organizational needs
  • Oversees performance management document workflow and retention programs in its division
  • Consults with OHR as needed
  • Ensures that division supervisors and employees are trained in the performance management program
  • Completes all elements of the performance management program in compliance with this and any applicable division policies in a timely manner
  • Conducts frequent meaningful conversations with employees on their performance, goals, and growth
  • Seeks assistance from division HR when necessary
  • Understands the performance management program and process
  • Fully participates in the performance management program in a timely and constructive manner

Link to Current Policy

Link to Related Policy

Academic Staff Policies and Procedures (ASPP) Chapter 10


  • 1 Martinez, Veronica. "What Is the Value of Using Performance Management Systems?" Cranfield University, 8 Nov. 2005.

Keywordsperformance, management, manager, supervisor, pm, goals, goal-setting, expectations, mid-point, conversations, evaluation   Doc ID49583
OwnerJonathan D.GroupHR Policies
Created2015-03-25 15:57:04Updated2020-03-02 14:29:57
SitesHR Policies
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