Performance Cycle

What is the performance cycle?

Phase 1 - Planning:  Creating goals and expectations between the employee and manager for the current year.

Phase 2 - Check-Ins:  Giving ongoing feedback throughout the year; identifying acomplishments, areas for improvement and adjusting the goals/expectations as necessary.

Phase 3 - Review:  Reviewing the year at the end of the performance period.

The intent of this process is to identify the key parts of each employee’s job, identify what it looks like when that is done well (meets your expectations as a manager), and how both you as manager and your employee will know when that is achieved (measurements).

Phase 2 – Check-in

What happens when goals change?

It is quite likely that the goals/outcomes will change during the year. When they do, the manager and employee would discuss the new goals, and both agree to the expectations going forward. They would document the changes by updating the PPR document, and initial and date the new form to indicate understanding and alignment.

Phase 3 - Review

How does an employee provide feedback on their review?

An employee is welcome to add comments as a separate attachment. If they prefer to write a self-review, the employee is always welcome to request that their self-review, or other comments, be attached to the performance review form.

What do I do with the comment section?

Comments under each of the goals will be added when the goal is reached, or when the review period is completed. Overall comments are included towards the end of the document, covering those areas not addressed in the comments from the goals.

Is there a correlation between “meeting goals” and a “meets expectations” overall rating?

Not necessarily.  Clearly, one aspect of performance is whether the goals were met or not -- but which goals were met and how they were achieved matters as well.  Here are two examples.

  • Two employees each met their goals.  However, one employee performed in ways that exemplified one or more of the Operating Principles, while the second performed in ways that undermined one or more.  Depending on the circumstances, a manager might determine that a higher rating is appropriate for the first employee and a lower rating appropriate for the second.
  • Two employees each met some but not all of their goals.  However, one employee focused on the most critical or demanding goal, while the second focused on the least critical or demanding.  Depending on the circumstances, a manager may determine that a higher rating is appropriate for the first employee and a lower rating appropriate for the second.

How do I quantify the overall performance if there is no number system (similar to previous reviews)?

The review discussion and overall rating is not intended to be a numerical scoring system, but rather an overall assessment on the manager’s part of the performance of the individual over the past review period.

What if employees meet goals, but don't do well in other responsibilities?

The 3-5 goals should cover 80% or more of the job responsibilities. For the performance of other job duties, they can be identified and covered in the overall comments section. This section completes the narrative if the year.

How do I get others’ feedback in creating a performance review document?

This has not changed. You may continue to use feedback from others just as you have in the past.

How do I review performance if goals weren’t established for the year?

The process requires that you set goals at the beginning of the year. Since we have simplified the form to focus entirely on goals, if you do not get goals established, you will want to sit down right away with your employee and get agreement on outcomes expected for the year. Without goals established, there will be nothing to discuss during the review phase.

Why is there a limit on individuals who can be rated Exceptional performances by unit?

Exceptional performance is intended to acknowledge the accomplishments and delivery of results that are well beyond expectations. As such, at the unit level, monitoring the frequency of those ratings helps insure that we are being accurate and rating the overall performance. Each unit has established calibration requirements regarding the exceptional ratings. By achieving an exceptional rating in a given year, individuals are being recognized for that ‘over and above’ performance for that particular year, and not in comparison to other years or other contributor’s in their unit.

Phase 1 – Planning

How do I set goals?

  • Meet with your employee.
  • Identify and agree on major pieces of the job.
  • Use that list to determine performance for the year.
  • Start the next period by identifying the major pieces of the job, what success looks like, and how that might be measured.

What are the components of a goal?

Each goal will represent a major portion of the job, with a statement of what success looks like (meeting the manager’s expectations). Ideally, goals would include specific, measurable, realistic and time bound elements (SMART). Visit the HR tips on SMART goal writing.

What happened to the competencies?

We heard from many of you that the requirement to assess all staff along each individual competency was burdensome and not always useful.  Based on your feedback, we have shifted the focus of the PPR process to goal setting. By aligning individual performance goals with your organization’s strategic priorities, you are helping your staff actively engage in moving your unit toward its operational objectives.

The competencies are still important to managing your employees, because they support how the goal was accomplished. You will likely still use them in coaching your staff toward improved performance.  In doing so, you may find The Behavioral Anchors to be a useful resource.

Will there be training on goal setting for Managers and Supervisors?

Yes! Our KEYS class, ‘Communicating Goals and Expectations,’ provides detailed support on how to set goals. This program is offered twice a year based on the timing of the performance cycle (sign-up on blu). There is a online course (sign-up on blu) titled "UC Setting Expectations and Individual Performance Goals." Additionally, Staff Learning and Development offers training for work teams upon request. Check out our Training resources for more information.

What happened to the development planning?

It’s still part of the process. When you discuss goals with your staff at the beginning of the cycle, it will be particularly important to include a discussion of success measures - i.e., how you will both know that the goal has been met.  As part of that conversation, together you should identify needed knowledge, skills, or abilities that will enable the employee to achieve the goal.  The discussion may result in an agreed upon Individual Development Plan, which you can complete as you have in the past (though it is no longer linked to the PPR form).

Alternatively, for some employees you may want to include a professional development goal as one of the 3-5 annual goals you establish at the beginning of the PPR cycle.

What do I do if I’ve supervised someone for less than a year?

You would review their performance for that period of time that you supervised them. The goals will be those you established for the employee during her/his onboarding process.

How do I use this form for very transactional jobs?

Goals can be either transaction based (e.g., produce 8 widgets each week) or strategic (e.g., redesign the production process so that the team can increase widget production by 10%)

Do we use this form to evaluate staff during their probation period?

Yes, the same form should be used for both career and contract employees during the annual review, and for probationary employees at any point in their probation cycle, as well as the end of the probationary period.

Why is there no section for evaluating responsibilities?

Goals should cover the broad areas of responsibility for a particular role, written as outcomes or results.

Performance Review Form

My employee can't see the form online - what can I do?

This is usually caused by the 1st level supervisor not releasing the form to the employee after the 2nd level supervisor has signed off. 1st level supervisor will need to open the form and click the green 'Final; discuss with employee' button at the bottom of the form.

I need to make changes to the form, but I've already released it to the employee for signing OR my employee has signed it already - what do I do?

If this happens you will need to contact Paul Carroll at to have the System Administrator re-open the form. Please note that this will automatically re-set the signatures and you will need to go through the signature approval process again (1st level approver, 2nd level approver, employee).

My employee has completed a self-assessment - how do I attach it to the form?

Attachments are not supported in this pilot year of the online form. Instead you can either send the self-assessment directly to HR, or you can print out the form and submit both in paper format at the same time.

Is it just me or is the form printing blank?

If you simply type information into the form and click 'print,' the form will print blank. Make sure you click either of the two Save buttons (yellow or green) beforehand, then print.

What exactly is the “web form”?

It’s a document, like a Google Doc, that you can go in and out of to update as needed during the year, share online with the second level reviewer at the end of the year before finalizing an annual review, and ultimately send to the employee being reviewed. When it is final, it is signed electronically by all parties and archived.

Who’s in charge?

You are! Managers & Supervisors drive this process, from starting a new form and filling in the details, to releasing it to 2nd level approvers (if needed), and final delivery to the employee.

But I was comfortable with MS Word…

The advantages of an online form over paper are significant. Firstly, you get a cloud-based version that you can save, update, edit, and ultimately archive. Secondly - it’s shareable, just like Google Docs, so there’s no need to print or email multiple versions that you and the second level reviewer may want to discuss. It’s also secure, protected by your Cal ID, giving you ultimate control over the form. And, there’s a personalized dashboard where both supervisor and 2nd level approver can see all their reviews in one place and start to calibrate ratings.

How can I share my draft review ahead of time with my employee as I’ve done in the past?

You have a couple of options. As you’ve done in the past, you can print your draft and give it to the employee, or save it as a Word document and send it to them.

Can we use the form for self-evaluations?

Not this year. But you can still ask employees to prepare their self reviews in alternate programs like Word or Google Docs and share with you. The online form allows for direct copy & pasting into it.

Wait - I don’t have a 2nd level approver! - What do I do?

In cases where a 2nd level approver is not needed you can simply enter your own name as both supervisor and 2nd level approver.

Alternatively, an HR Partner (or unit designee who requires global access to your unit) can act as 2nd level approver to track progress toward completing the reviews throughout the process and follow-up with you on missing sign-offs.

I have more than 5 goals for my employee but the online form maxes out - what do I do?

The option to include more than 5 goals does exist, but you will have to move back to a paper form. Ideally, the review should highlight the top 3-4 for the year. If you would like more information about goal setting, check out this Wisdom Cafe article on 3 simple questions that help guide your thinking.

Unusual situations - I have 2 supervisors, or 2 2nd level approvers or a 3rd level approver - what do I do?

These situations are uncommon and have a couple of options. You can revert to the old process to share drafts and final reviews with multiple supervisors and approvers, either by sharing paper copies or Word documents.

If the supervisors can agree on one of them being the “driver” of the form, that person can coordinate and add input from the others. Same if there are multiple 2nd level approvers. In the end there needs to be agreement on a single rating so coordinating from the beginning may prove helpful.

​How can I share the form with my HR Business Partner?

​​If your HR Business Partner is part of your review process and needs to review the form, you can designate the HR Partner as a 2nd level approver. If that is not an option, you will need to print a hard copy or save as a pdf to send to your HR Business Partner for their review.  This functionality is something we are working on for next year, as the current version of the online form does not have a delegate or administrator function.

Performance Review Contingency - At what managerial level will the merit increase be affected?

Full Question: The ​​program guidelines​ for non-represented staff​ state that merit increases for PPSM Supervisors/Managers are contingent on completion of written performance reviews for all subordinate non-represented staff in their unit​, as​ confirmed by their manager. At what managerial level will the merit increase be affected?

​​If you are a supervisor/manager, you must complete performance reviews for each of your non-represented direct reports to be eligible for a merit increase. If any of these required performance reviews are incomplete as of 8/31/16, your merit increase will be delayed until the 1st of the month following completion of the missing review(s). 

This delay affects only your merit. Merits for your own manager and for your subordinate managers are not affected (assuming they have each completed all of their own required reviews).

How does this work in my department if some of us use the paper form and some of us use the online form?

Ideally, all the supervisors and approvers in the department are using the same forms. The dashboard information that tracks completions is most effective if everyone is using the new electronic version.

In some cases, this won’t be possible. For example, you may have already started your annual reviews and are too far down the road to change now. Someone in the unit needs to track completion of the reviews for the purpose of processing merit increases this year. And, the paper forms need to be submitted to CSS following the normal process.

What will happen if I use the paper form?

You will follow the same procedures as years past. And trees will cry.

If I use the online form, do I need to print a copy to send to CSS?

No, if the review was done and signed online, it will be sent to CSS by the system administrator once the process closes (August 31st, 2016). Reviews will not be visible in the system once it closes. If you need a copy beyond that date, you will either need to save a pdf to your own files, or request a hardcopy from CSS.

If an employee asks me why a dialogue box appears, after they click to sign, that reads: “My signatures indicates I have received a copy of this review.” How should I explain this?

If you decided to share the form as a draft with the employee, tell them not to sign it yet. You plan on discussing it with them first.

If it is final and they now need to sign-off on the form, remind them that they are simply acknowledging receipt (there is even a message box that will alert, “My signature indicates I have received a copy of this review”), not signing their tacit approval of the form’s content.

What do I do if the employee refuses to sign, will not acknowledge receipt, or cannot sign (out on leave etc)?

You click the “employee is unavailable or refused to sign” green button at the bottom of the form.

Make sure you consult with your HR partner who can help communicating the evaluation through the normal process.

Where can an employee include comments?

This year employee comments can either get included in the overall comments box where you can specify they are employee comments. Alternatively, you can follow the same procedure as with a paper form and append a separate document with employee comments.

How do I attach a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to the Performance Evaluation?

At this time, a paper attachment of the PIP should be printed and manually submitted.

Are Performance Reviews required for rehire retirees?

No performance reviews are not mandated for rehire retirees, although it would be a good practice to do a review with them. They will not be included on the merit roster, and are not eligible for a merit increase - so if a manager does not do a review, it would not impact the manager's eligibility for merit increase.

Will the completed electronic form be available for reference next year?

Reviews will not be visible in the system once it closes. If you need a copy beyond that date, you will either need to save a pdf to your own files, or request a hardcopy from CSS.

Can ratings from the online form load directly to the merit roster?

This year the online form does not link directly to the merit roster.

Are you working on any feature enhancements?

Absolutely! For FY17 we are working on the following additions:

  • The ability for Goals to auto-populate next year’s form
  • Creating space for employee comments
  • A live link to HCM that will auto-populate:
    • Merit roster
    • Employee information

In addition, we want your feedback. This is a new venture that can benefit from user comments. Although it was tested with multiple groups before releasing, it can always be improved. Our goal is to create a satisfactory experience for our staff and an efficient process for collecting the results.

Operating Principles

How can I get a poster of our Operating Principles?

You can download an 8.5 x 11 poster for your workspace here. If you would like to order 11 x 17 posters, or multiple copies for bulletin boards on campus, please contact the project team at

How was the final decision on Berkeley Operating Principles made?

Our Berkeley Operating Principles project collectively gathered input from a broad representation of the UC Berkeley campus community.  Over the course of two years, thousands of campus voices contributed to defining a set of operating principles.  Our final Operating Principles were approved on December 6, 2012 by the OE Executive Committee (Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer, OE Program Faculty Head Andrew Szeri, and John Wilton, Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance).  The Methodology Report provides an overview on how the campus arrived at the final set of Operating Principles. 

What was CultureCal?

CultureCal was an unprecedented brainstorming event held from Oct. 1-12, 2012, in which all faculty, staff, and student employees were invited to help define the campus’ operating principles.  Innovative brainstorming software allowed employees to rate proposed principles, create new ones, and promote their favorites.  The site logged over 39,000 hits with over 2,300 employees participating in CultureCal via the website, kiosks, and in-person outreach events. 358 principles were submitted, 401 comments posted, and 22,853 ratings on principles were made.  The project team also conducted in-person outreach, through kiosks as well as special sessions to reach staff less likely to use computers, or who required translation services. The Methodology Report provides more details on how the campus arrived at the final set of Operating Principles. 

How can operating principles be useful?

By guiding both the highest level strategic decisions and our day-to-day activities, Operating Principles help us, as UC Berkeley employees, to look for opportunities to improve operations and our own performance so that we can better serve the University’s mission of teaching, research, and public service. The Berkeley Operating Principles are being infused into our campus operations in both formal and informal ways --- they can be brought up in meetings when things get stuck, and will be part of hiring, staff recognition, and training. Learn more about the research behind organizational culture and operating principles here.

How does this project relate to UC Berkeley's Principles of Community?

Our Berkeley Operating Principles do not amend or change the Principles of Community, which relate to personal and collective behavior as part of a community. Our Berkeley Operating Principles provide guidance in the way we, as employees, do our administrative work; they are not intended to guide the University’s teaching/research mission.

What is the impetus for this project?

Despite the outstanding efforts of UC Berkeley’s dedicated employees, many staff, faculty and students report that it’s often just too hard to get things done here.  Effective and efficient operations, powered by engaged staff, are crucial to maintaining UC Berkeley’s preeminence in teaching, research and public service.  Our Operating Principles describe a working environment that will help us meet campus goals and make UC Berkeley a place where we can all do our best work.

What are operating principles?

Operating principles are short phrases that describe shared values and inspire a common belief system within a community. At UC Berkeley, operating principles provide guidance in the way we, as employees, do our administrative work, and are not intended to guide the University’s teaching/research mission.

What is our Berkeley Operating Principles project?

Our Berkeley Operating Principles project was an Operational Excellence initiative that engaged the campus community to collaboratively develop a set of operating principles that are now being embedded into campus operations in both formal and informal ways. Our Operating Principles describe a working environment that will help us meet campus goals and make UC Berkeley a place where we can all do our best work.  The project team worked closely with departments, schools and campus organizations to offer workshops, tools and resources that help make the principles useful and inspiring to our campus employees, managers and leaders.

What are UC Berkeley's Operating Principles?

The five principles are:

  1. We include and excel, together
  2. We imagine and innovate
  3. We simplify
  4. We are accountable to each other
  5. We focus on service