Frequently Asked Questions - Performance

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 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 BPM classes provide 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

Starting a new form

My employee's name doesn't come up in the search!

The name used in the search is from the LDAP directory. Also, please do not enter a space after the name (e.g. “John “ provides different results from “John”). If you are having trouble locating a specific person, try searching using a First Name OR Last Name to widen your search.

My employee’s name isn’t on the dashboard!

Confirm the user has access to form. Unfortunately, performance reviews completed by another supervisor will not be visible.

My employee's name has changed and needs to be updated in the tool? How to update?

Please reach out to the First Contact Team by submitting a ticket through ServiceNow.

When I'm creating a new form, find an employee, and click the "Select" button, nothing shows up.

Log out and log back in to the tool and try again. In addition, it is advisable to use Chrome. Chrome is the best browser to use with that tool.

I'm the new supervisor and I didn't write the reviews last year. Can I pull them up or do I need to start new one's?

You will need to start a new review. You can also request a .pdf version of the previous performance review from Berkeley Regional Services.

Does a group or manager need to use the self-evaluation form within the system or can a group use their own?

The self-assessment (review) is an opportunity to create two way communication around performance. This supports a performance based culture, while not required we strongly encourage managers to incorporate the self-assessment in their performance management process. The self-review found in the tool becomes a part of the employee’s record on file.

While it’s technically possible for managers and groups to conduct constructive conversations outside the on-line performance management tool, we strongly encourage incorporating use of the tool as it’s specifically designed to capture and support meaningful two-way conversations around performance management.

 

I do not want to share my email address. Is it necessary for the tool? Who can I speak with?

Having an email address is necessary in order to use the tool.

Editing and submitting the form

What is the purpose of Share/Hide comments mode?

Both the employee and manager/supervisor can enter comments on the form in a private mode, at the same time. No one can read the contents until share mode is selected which makes comments visible to the other. Both can go back and forth between these modes until they come to a final draft of the review. This feature also reduces the number of emails.

How do I share my comments with my supervisor?

There are two ways to do this. Clicking, "Show Comments to Supervisor," will allow your supervisor to view your comments, while you still maintain access to modify and edit your comments. Please note that this does not officially return your review to your supervisor. Clicking, "Save Changes; Show Comments to Supervisor; Return Performance Review to Supervisor," will make your comments visible and submit your review to your supervisor.

Can I save without having to submit?

Yes, you can save a review by clicking “Save Changes” at the bottom of the online form. The system is designed to let you save drafts and changes as needed.

 

Once I submit, can I make changes afterwards?

The document can be reverted to edit state at any time in the process up to the employee signature - it will remove the signatures from the form, and the signature steps will need to be repeated after the changes have been made. After the employee signs, the form can only be opened for editing through a manual process - contact the First Contact Team via ServiceNow to inquire about reopening the form.

I'm not getting all the email notifications that I received last year. How do I know where the PE is?

The number of email notifications were reduced due to the feedback from users throughout campus. Your dashboard will have a section for “Status” and “Action Needed To Advance” to show status and help guide you through the next steps. You may also need to contact your supervisor to confirm the stages of the process.

How do I route the reviews to my HRBP?

This can’t be done within app.

How do I delete a review form?

Supervisors have the ability to delete a review form. Open the form you would like to delete and click the Delete button at the bottom of the form.

I cannot find the Delete button!

The review may have already been forwarded on to the second level approver or the employee. Click the “Open for Editing. Signatures will be removed” or “Save Changes; Close Employee Review” button to close the form, first. Then the Delete button will become available.

I clicked on the 'Save Changes; Return Performance Review To Supervisor' button, but now I can't see my review any more - what happened?

When an employee clicks the 'Save Changes; Return Performance Review To Supervisor' button - that employee loses their view access to the review. Don't worry though, this just means their supervisor is working on the review in draft mode. Please ask the supervisor to re-share the review in order for the employee to view.

Supervisor/Manager review and approvals

How will the employee access their self-evaluation?

The employee will have access after the supervisor finalizes the approvals and sends it to the employee for review and signature.

Will the employee be able to access the completed performance evaluation online and can I view or edit what I wrote last year?

Yes, the employee will have access to the completed review through their dashboard. FY17-18 reviews remain on your dashboard, and can be viewed. If you are new to supervising an individual, their past year’s review can be sourced from Berkeley Regional Services through their records department.

I don't see my 2nd level approver's email address in the drop down menu.

Please use the name provided in the LDAP Directory.

The 2nd level approver has approved the review, but now the supervisor cannot access the review.

The 2nd level approver must press two buttons: the, "Add Signature," and then the, "Approve; Send Back to Supervisor," buttons in order to approve the review and send it back to the supervisor. After this, the supervisor will be able to access the review.

Does my 2nd level approver have to sign the review and hit the Approve/Reject button?

A signature is required to approve the review, while no signature is required to resubmit/review.

My next level manager is a PI/faculty, can I skip having them approve it?

Yes, as a supervisor, you can assign the second level review to yourself. You will have to go through two approval processes, one as a supervisor, the other as a 2nd level approver.

Can the supervisor designate someone else to process a review in the tool?

Since the process is UCPath based, designees are not allowed.

I'd like to reassign performance evaluations to a new supervisor. How do I do this?

Currently the system is unable to reassign performance evaluations. New supervisors must start new evaluation forms for their employees. Copies of previously completed performance reviews for reference may be requested through the department's HR Business partner.

How long am I able to change the rating in the tool?

You may change the rating at any time prior to the cycle ending. However, making changes after the 2nd level approver signs, will require having to go through the process of getting their signature after the change is made.

Will the supervisor and next level manager have access to the completed form even after the employee signs off? What about six months after the process is completed?

Yes, as view only. The form will be available as view only for the rest of the review period up until August 31st.

My department uses a committee review to ensure consistency in ratings. How will the committee access the reviews?

Only the supervisor, employee and second level manager have access to the electronic forms. Reviews can be printed for this purpose.

Policy & Procedure

What do I need to know about how this tool impacts contract employees?

The expectation is that contract employees are included in the performance management process.  They are eligible for salary increases; therefore, they must have an evaluation rating them as “Meets, Exceeds, Significantly Exceeds.”

Do I need to include a union representative in my meeting with my employee if the employee requests it?

Remind the employee that this is not a disciplinary conversation. If they still insist, please contact your HR Business Partner.

How will an employee receive a rating and an increase if my manager doesn’t do a review?

Constructive feedback is increasingly important throughout the year but especially in the performance review. Performance Reviews that are not completed on time default to a satisfactory rating, and an appropriate increase may be inline.

How are HR managers and Business Partners alerted to performance issues? And will they have access to my performance evaluations?

If an employee is rated as “needs improvement” or “unacceptable,” the manager will need to notify the HR Business Partner. The manager will need to provide a copy of the reviews to the HR Business Partner. Currently HR Business Partners do not have access to view performance evaluation.

Some employees are missing from the Performance Review Rating report in HCM, but they have reviews recorded in the online performance management system.

Those employees may have duplicate Performance Review Forms on the manager’s dashboard. Duplicate reviews must be deleted from the online performance management system in order for the report to be accurate. Please note: the Performance Review Ratings in HCM are only accessible to designated Merit Administrators.

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 operatingprinciples@berkeley.edu.

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 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. 

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.

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.

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 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

Achieve Together

About Achieve Together

What is Achieve Together?

Achieve Together is the new UC Berkeley staff performance program for non-represented employees. Achieve Together replaces all current performance evaluation processes and forms. The program emphasizes ongoing performance development, coaching conversations, and clear guidelines for how we do our work through the Achievement Criteria performance indicators. 

When will this start?

Achieve Together will begin in April 2020. During this time, staff and managers will have three formal check-in conversations about performance using six standardized questions. Conversations will be documented using a new online tool.

What is a staff performance program?

Individual employee performance contributions drive the results that accomplish the goals of UC Berkeley. The performance program is the mechanism by which managers/supervisors help translate unit goals, objectives, and performance standards to individual employee goals and expectations through ongoing check-in conversations.

Why are we doing this?

The goal of Achieve Together is to support a workforce that is more agile, performance-driven and engaged. More frequent check-ins between managers and direct reports means greater engagement, fewer surprises, a better understanding of needs and expectations, more learning-in-place, less performance-related paperwork, and a clearer line of sight about how an individual’s performance contributes to the bigger picture. This simplified process should enable everyone to be more agile and help you focus on your work efforts.

What does this mean for me now?

By mid-March, 2020, we ask that all staff work with their manager to determine if 2019-20 performance goals need to be updated or if new goals should be added because of the shortened merit cycle (merit decisions for 2019-20 will be determined in April, 2020). During your last year-end review conversation, goals will be set for the new Achieve Together program.

Starting in August 2020, staff will meet with their managers to have the first of the three per year Achieve Together conversations. In that conversation, managers will ask their staff a standard set of performance questions. Goals will also be discussed. If your goals from the previous period are still valid, they can be kept. If updates are needed, they can be updated. Because Achieve Together enables staff and their managers to have ongoing conversations throughout the year to align your work efforts with current conditions, it will enable you to evolve your goals over time. 

What should staff expect from their manager?

Managers are getting ready for your Achieve Together conversation by learning about the program’s process and tools. They are preparing themselves to have meaningful performance conversations with you and to be active listeners throughout the process. Feel free to ask your manager about how this new approach will work for you and your team.

How should staff prepare?

We ask that all staff talk with your manager about the schedule for your first formal check-in meeting. Then, get ready by familiarizing yourself with the standardized questions so you can organize your part of the conversation. Focus on what you want to share with your manager, what you want to ask them, and what - if any - support you need. These conversations are intended to be two-way, so feel empowered to work with your manager in setting the agenda.

How should managers prepare?

Campus is offering a Growing as a Coach training to all managers. This is designed to enable managers to build essential skills for generating meaningful conversations, including how to ask powerful questions and to listen deeply.

Why was there a pilot?

As you know, our campus is complex, so undertaking any change of this magnitude means there needed to be enough study to make sure things work across the full range of campus business units. The pilot groups helped to identify key areas of concern about how performance is managed today. We also saw  great enthusiasm to help us solve the problems encased in our current performance management approach. Pilot units have expressed excitement to play a part in helping campus meet the needs and expectations of our campus workforce, and today’s workplace.

Who is involved in the pilot?

Some 230 managers and over 800 employees from six areas of campus participated in the pilot over the past two years. They represent Haas School of Business, Central HR, College of Chemistry, IS&T, Law School, and University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR).

What did we learn from the UC Berkeley Achieve pilot?

Here are the top five lessons we've learned from the UC Berkeley Achieve Pilot:

  1. Check-ins need to be modeled from the top
  2. We've incoporated a wide variety of training and resources for employees and managers/supervisors on coaching and performance
  3. We've communicated early and often via regular cascading CalMessages to the HR Network, managers/supervisors, and employees
  4. We engaged the Berkeley units in dialogue, readiness planning, presentations, and a train-the-trainer program to support effective change management and program incorporation.
  5. We've made strides to further enable inclusion and belonging at Berkeley by including behavioal and performance indicators within the Achievement Criteria.

What are the primary challenges of check-in conversations?

Getting started isn't easy. The biggest challenge is creating a new mindset around performance. The Berkeley People & Culture team is focusing heavily in change support to help units take ownership of the new check-in process. Through resources and trainings, everyone can have a better understanding of Achieve Together, in which employees welcome ongoing feedback, act upon it, and offer their own ideas for their growth and development.

We need to to build our managers' skill sets around annual merit rewards process. Without traditional reviews, managers/supervisors need to understand how to use the Achievement Criteria and check-in documentation to differentiate pay based on employee performance.

Another major opportunity for Achieve Together is the incorporation of Inclusion & Belonging as a performance indicator for all employees and managers/supervisors. Upholding inclusive behaviors leads to a workplace in which we can all feel like we belong, and ultimately drive UC Berkeley to greater heights through our support of one anothers' identities and cultures. 

What are the advantages of a check-in performance model?

We’ve seen positive results so far. It’s clear to us that, by having multiple Check-in conversations each year, both managers/supervisors and employees have a greater ability to strengthen relationships and improve results.

We've also redeployed the time managers spent administering the annual review process to more impactful Check-in conversations and keeping up with alignment of unit priorities. In the first year, we estimate that we will save 40,000 total hours on performance evaluations.

This model gives you more on-point and thoughtful feedback for ongoing improvement of work outcomes and relationships. 

What are the benefits of this approach?

The many organizations which have shifted to this performance management approach - including UC Irvine - have had favorable outcomes:

  • More real-time assessment, adjustment, and alignment of work efforts.

  • Greater opportunities for conversations about engagement and professional development.

  • More shared ownership between managers and direct reports about how work is performed.

  • Better matching work efforts with workplace dynamics.

  • Less time needed to prepare, produce, and document performance conversations.

Achievement Criteria

What is the Achievement Criteria?

To increase transparency and help employees understand what leaders and managers/supervisors use to determine performance levels and merit rewards, UC Berkeley has developed consistent, performance-based Achievement Criteria for non-represented staff. The merit criteria guides provide example behaviors for each performance level (Needs Attention, Well Done, Stand Out). All non-represented employees will use the same Achievement Criteria (with additional performance indicators for for people managers). There are five dimensions of the Achievement Criteria which include Collaboration, Goal Accomplishment, Innovation, Inclusion & Belonging, and Job Mastery.

Learn more about the Achievement Criteria for non-represented employees and/or register for Achieve Together training.

How do you determine performance levels for each dimension of the Achievement Criteria?

To determine performance levels per criterion (Collaboration, Goal Accomplishment, Inclusion & Belonging, Innovation, and Job Mastery), the manager/supervisor will refer to the feedback provided per guided check-in question on the Achieve Together Check-in form and compare the performance and behavioral indicators for each cirterion associated with each performance level (needs attention, well done, stand out), and identify which level aligns closest with the employee’s performance for the year.

How do managers/supervisors determine overall performance levels using this information?

The manager then tallies the level attained for each of the five criteria on the Achievement Criteria to determine the overall performance level, taking into account data from three check-in conversations within the merit cycle (April 1-March 31). This is about overall performance, not an average of the three check-in conversations.

Example:
Collaboration = Needs Attention
Goal Accomplishment = Stand Out
Inclusion & Belonging = Stand Out
Innovation = Stand Out
Job Mastery = Well Done

An employee must have met the behaviors and standards in at least three of the five criteria listed in a specific performance level to be recommended for that level. Employees with "Needs Attention" in any criterion are not eligible for the "Stand Out" performance level. Employees with an overall performance level of "Needs Attention" will not be eligible for a merit increase.

Using the above as an example, the employee’s merit level would be “Well Done" because they received a "Needs Attention" in one category, thus making the employee ineligible for a "Stand Out" level.

Check-ins

What are the six guided check-in questions that we use to map to the Achievement Criteria?

  1. What goals did you accomplish this period? In what ways does your work connect to our overall strategy and/or mission? (Goal Accomplishment & Job Mastery)

  2. What do you like best about your work? (Goal Accomplishment)

  3. How have you supported others work and/or collaborated with others on your work this period? (Collaboration)

  4. How have you innovated to seek efficiencies or improve work outcomes? (Innovation)

  5. How have you fostered diversity, equity, inclusion and/or belonging on our team and campus? (Inclusion & Belonging)

  6. What can I do as your supervisor to better support your success? What additional knowledge, resources, or tools are needed to successfully do your job? (Development Planning & Manager Support)

Do we always have to discuss all the guided questions during each check-in?

Yes. Here are a few considerations to better understand the purpose and use of the guided questions:

  • These questions map to each performance indicator in the Achievement Criteria, providing the opportunity to adequately discuss what we do and how we do it
  • They enable managers/supervisors and direct reports to expansively discuss current performance and plan for future job needs
  • Think of the check-in questions as conversation starters, which set up the conversation to use attentive listening and open-ended follow ups to deepen the conversation
  • Managers/supervisors and direct reports are not limited to the guided set of questions. It is encouraged to bring attention to feedback, recognition, questions/concerns about work
  • By the end of the conversation, managers/supervisor and direct reports should have clear expectations on how work will be accomplished over the next four months. 

Where will completed check-ins be stored?

Completed check-ins will be stored online in the Achieve Together Check-in Form dashboard (coming June 2020) and with UC Berkeley records.

What timeframe does a check-in cover?

Check-ins cover the preceding four months. For example, the July/August (Summer) check-in will cover performance between April 1 and July 31.

Check-in timeline

Can I make changes to previous check-in forms?

Once a form is finalized, edits cannot be made. Please make sure that the form is completed before selecting the "Finalize my Notes/Comments" action.

Doing performance evaluations once a year took a lot of time. Won’t doing them three times a year take even longer?

With the previous performance program, non-represented employees spent several hours at the end of each performance year collecting records on accomplishments and completing self evaluations. Managers did the same before completing each employee’s annual performance evaluation. Approximately 60,000 hours were spent each year on annual performance evaluations with little to no added value. Achieve Together check-ins are estimated to take a total of 20,000 hours each year (less than half the time), and will transform our workforce. This is because the check-in should be incorporated into the regular one-on-one meetings that already occur. Additionally, as events occur, they are entered onto the check-in form and then discussed. This real-time, informal feedback will increase agility and employee engagement, and lead to increased levels of performance.

What if I don't agree with my manager/supervisor or my employee’s comments?

It is possible managers/supervisors and direct reports do not agree on individual or overall performance levels, or comments documented in the check-in form. We recommend discussing these disagreements to seek greater understanding, with intent to identify an action plan for prevention of future misaligned perspective on how work is accomplished.

Disagreements between managers/supervisors and direct reports are common and are a major opportunity for constructive, thoughtful, and supportive discussion.

If there is evidence to suggest an inaccurate depiction of performance or conduct, contact your HR Partner to discuss the issue and potential options. The Office of the Ombuds also has conflict resolution and mediation support. 

What if I submit the check-in form late?

Check-in forms should be completed by the last day of the month following the check-in period. We provide a target timeframe of 60 days to complete the form, giving ample flexibility. Additionally, the system will still be open to complete forms thereafter. A disclaimer though the March/April check-in must be in before all merit recommendation deadlines within units which will likely close on or before April 30.

What if my manager/supervisor didn't have a check-in conversation with me?

Managers/supervisors (this includes anyone who is supervising a non-represented employee) are responsible for managing performance and facilitating performance conversations as required by UC Berkeley's performance program for non-represented staff. This information is included in the Achievement Criteria for managers/supervisors. You are entitled to discuss scheduling a check-in conversation. If you are met with resistance, you should contact your HR Partner with questions/concerns.

If it is that check-in conversations do not occur, per UC policy, employees will autmatically receive a "Well Done" performance level. In this case, the supervisor will not be eligible for a merit increase.

Reports will be generated for units for completion data. 

Coaching

Why are continuous coaching and performance conversations important?

Continuous conversations about performance, development, feedback, and the employee experience lead to an overall more engaged workforce. When we lean-in to these discussions, we get more agile, real-time, meaningful input that can help us drive greater results in ways that are more collaborative, innovative, and inclusive. Through ensuring individuals have the chance to check-in more regularly, this creates a stronger environment of belonging for everyone. These conversations create space to solve problems, clarify expectations, and plan for next steps. Elevating the number of times we check-in aboout performance at Berkeley gives us a better chance to address issues as they arise, instead of waiting for a once-per-year retrospective evaluation.

How can I coach my team?

  1. Attend BPM 206 Growing as a Coach training to learn the coaching framework and fundamental skills
  2. Join Community of Practice - Cal Coaching Network to learn additional coaching skills and have an opportunity to practice coaching
  3. Visit the Training & Resources page for self-study resources
  4. Start a Coaching Circle in your area to get feedback and support from your peers. Contact Inette Dishler to launch a Coaching Circle.

How can my employees learn how to be coached?

  1. Visit the Training & Resources page for online/in-person training and self-study resources on coaching.
  2. Join Community of Practice - Cal Coaching Network to learn additional coaching skills and have an opportunity to practice coaching

What do I do about employees who don't want coaching?

Firstly, don't call it coaching. Labeling a conversation "Coaching" can be intimidating to some people unless they have experienced professional coaching. But in any conversation that you may be having with your employee, you can incoporate coaching skills and using the coaching framework learned from the Growing as a Coach class. Secondly, assess if Coaching is the right approach. A simple way to look at HOW you manage is that you may give more direction at times (for example, when an employee is new to a task) in order to increase their ability to do it well. As they have success, and their confidence increases, you will shift to allow them to do it more independently. Coaching is used when an employee has more confidence and has done a task before.

What if my manager is not coaching or developing me?

Managers/supervisors are responsible for coaching employees and managing performance. If coaching or development is not happening, bring this to the attention of the manager/supervisor in a check-in conversation. Let them know how you would like to grow and develop, collaboratively explore professional development goals, and set expectations on how you will touch base on professional development progress between check-in conversations. Ongoing coaching and development are beneficial to both participants in the manager/supervisor and direct report relationship. It is the responsibility of the manager/supervisor to enable teams to grow, leading to greater results. "Coachees" can take ownership over their development through seeking skills, knowledge, and experiences that grow careers.

Employee Types

Are represented staff participating in Achieve Together?

Achieve Together is designed for non-represented staff. The performance management process for represented staff remains the same. However, managers are encouraged to engage in more frequent, informal conversations with direct reports who are represented if both parties find it beneficial.

Can I do Achieve Together check-ins with my represented staff if they want to?

Official check-in conversations and documentation as part of Achieve Together are not permitted for represented employees. Changes to performance programs for represented employees are subject to bargaining. However, 1on1 conversations between managers/supervisors and represented employees are permitted and similar conversation topics can be addressed.

How do we handle an employee who remains non-represented but changes teams during a check-in period?

The check-in process (written feedback and discussion) will be completed by the manager with whom the employee spent the majority of the check-in period. 

How do we handle an employee who moves from a non-represented employee to a represented position?

If the employee is in the non-represented position in the last two months of the check-in period, the employee and manager will complete the check-in process (written feedback and discussion). If not, the check-in will be canceled. 

How do we handle a newly hired non-represented employee or an employee who moves from a represented position to a non-represented position?

If the start date is in the first or second month of the check-in period, the employee will participate in that check-in. If the start date is in the third or fourth month, the employee will wait until the next check-in to start the process. 

Can we use the new check-in process for probationary employees?

Yes, check-ins can be used for probationary employees. 

What about contract employees?

Yes, the check-in can be used for non-represented career, partial-year career or contract employees. 

Goals

What are performance goals?

Performance goals provide a roadmap for the employee on what is expected of them and what they can do to help the organization achieve its unit priorities. Aligning employee performance goals with UC Berkeley's and unit strategic goals is the foundation of Achieve Together. Managers collaborative with their direct reports to define performance goals. In today’s rapidly changing and complex work environment, performance goals must be agile and adaptable. Goals can be set for any length of time (ex: 1mo, 4mos, 1yr, 2yrs) and should be revisited regularly as part of ongoing 1on1 meetings. During check-in conversations every four months, goals will be updated as needed.

All non-represented employees will have 2-5 goals at any time:

  • 1 professional development goal
  • 1-4 goals around these themes: job accountabilities, stretch assignment, special project, and UC contribution (staff organization participation and/or leadership, participation on a unit/university committee, etc.)

For more information about goal setting, visit the Goals page and/or sign up for an in-person or online training.

How are my goals developed?

Managers/supervisors will collaborate with direct reports on the necessary goals for each check-in period. Conversations about refining goals can occur at any time. Progress against goals and documentation will be discussed and documented during the check-in conversation process every four months. 

Since we do multiple check-ins throughout the year, does that mean goals should be accomplished within a single check-in period?

No, it is not required that goals be accomplished within one check-in period. A goal can take three weeks, three months or even multiple years to accomplish. Goals will roll from period to period until the due date is reached. What's most important is that managers/supervisors and direct reports are on the same page on goal expectations.

Should performance goals be every day duties and tasks, long-term special projects, or stretch goals that go above and beyond normal daily routines?

Performance goals are job responsibilities related to key tasks and projects, and may include special projects and stretch goals. Goals should be measurable, actionable, and tied to unit priorities. These can be written using OKRs (Outcomes & Key Results) or SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound), and may be achieved in just one check-in period or may span across several periods. They may be individual goals, team goals or unit goals.

Merit

What is performance-based merit pay?

In a performance-based merit pay program, salary increases are differentiated based on performance rather than distributed equally as an across-the-board increase. An employee’s performance is evaluated over a period of time (typically twelve months) and then a merit award is determined based on the employee’s performance contributions during that period.

Why does UC Berkeley award merit pay based on performance?

In July 2015, President Napolitano announced that all UC campuses and locations will be required to implement a merit-based pay for performance model for non-represented employees beginning in fiscal year 2016-2017. Rewarding high performers improves organizational performance, increases employee engagement, and lays the foundation for effective workforce planning and talent management. In addition, performance-based pay is the most widely used base pay program in organizations today. According to a study conducted by WorldatWork in June 2015, 92% of the 1,421 organizations that participated in the study use performance-based pay increases (merit increases).

Does UC Berkeley use forced distribution to determine merit levels?

No, UC Berkeley does not use the method of forced distribution to determine performance levels or merit rewards. With forced distribution, managers would be required to force a certain percentage of employees into each of the three merit levels rather than determining based on performance contributions. Managers are required only to use the performance-based Achievement Criteria and adhere to their allocated budgets when determining employee performance levels and merit rewards.

How is Achieve Together, the performance program, linked to the merit process?

In years when a merit fund is available, the information discussed and documented in the check-ins, as well as the Achievement Criteria, will be used to determine performance levels and merit awards. Continual dialogue about performance will result in merit decisions that are more closely aligned with performance contributions. 

Will the performance program change for the 2019-2020 merit process?

No, non-represented staff will continue to use year-end appraisals with the 1-5 rating scale for the merit rewards process. In April 2020, Achieve Together will replace all existing non-represented performance evaluation processes and forms at UC Berkeley. With Achieve Together, annual performance evaluations and performance ratings will be eliminated eliminated and replaced with performance check-ins which are completed online using the Achieve Together Check-in Form. During check-ins in July/August, November/December and March/April, employees and managers meet to discuss employee performance and use the Achievement Criteria for determining performance levels. This real-time, informal feedback will increase agility and employee engagement, and lead to increased levels of performance. 

How are performance levels and merit rewards decided and approved?

After the manager has recommended the employee’s performance level, they will share that information with their designated leaders responsible for the merit process. The leaders (or their designees) should meet with their respective management teams to:

  1. Calibrate employee performance levels and merit awards based on the Achievement Criteria guidelines.
  2. The amount of merit increase will vary depending on the employee’s performance level, performance distinguishments in each level, and the available budget.
  3. Every organization will be operating with the same percent merit budget allocation. The total of all employee increases within a department cannot exceed that organization’s allocated budget.
  4. Once determined, the merit increases are submitted to the Berkeley People & Culture Compensation team for additional review and are entered into the payroll system.

How are merit levels and merit rewards determined?

Performance is no longer numerically rated. Instead, performance levels are developed through ongoing check-in conversations and by using the Achievement Criteria. The performance level helps managers determine where within the range of allowable merit increases an employee should be rewarded based on performance contributions. For example, did the employee consistently meet the high standards associated with the “Well Done” performance level, or did they meet the rigorous standards associated with the “Stand Out” performance level? Those who met the “Stand Out” criteria receive a larger merit reward to recognize their exceptional performance contributions. Those who do not meet the standards associated with “Well Done” receive no merit increase. These individuals will have a "Needs Attention" performance level and will begin a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) for 30, 60, or 90 days. 

How will consistency be achieved?

To ensure consistent and fair application of the Achievement Criteria, calibration meetings are recommended. Calibration meetings are one way to ensure an equitable, unbiased, and factual process for merit recommendations. Unit leaders or their designees will meet with their respective management teams to calibrate employee performance levels and merit rewards within their respective organizations. Calibration meetings will ensure consistency in the distribution of merit increases, ensure total distribution equals allocated budget amount, and ensure leadership support. Berkeley People & Culture Compensation team will also review the distribution spreadsheets to ensure compliance with merit guidelines.  

How will the merit increase amount be determined?

After managers and supervisors determine employee performance levels, merit awards will be determined.

  • Those with an overall "Needs Attention" will receive no merit increase, and generally begin a performance improvement plan to support getting things on track quickly.
  • Staff who reach the "Well Done" level generally receive increases between 2.0-4.0%
  • "Stand Out" performers will generally receive 3%+ merit increase


The amount of the merit award will vary according to the employee’s performance contributions and the available budget. The merit program is dependent on available funding. Our program is supported by a limited budget provided by the campus/medical center and individual schools and departments. Every organization will be operating with the same percent merit budget allocation. The fixed budget means that the actual merit increases will also be limited. The total of all employee increases within a department cannot exceed that organization’s allocated budget. These are recommended percentage increases based on the 3% salary program.

Who is eligible for a merit increase?

To be eligible for a 2020/21 merit increase, an employee must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a non-represented career or partial year career appointment as of April 1, 2020
  • Completed the probationary period by April 1, 2021
  • Be on active status (or on approved leave) on April 1, 2021
  • Have an overall performance level of "Well Done" or "Stand Out"
  • Serve as a contract employee whose contract allows for a merit increase
  • Be on active status (or on approved leave) on the applicable payout date

When will the merit increases be effective? When will they be paid out?

These dates are dependent on merit program guidance from UCOP. Generally, increases will be effective in July and entered into the payroll system in August.

After the Berkeley People & Culture Compensation team has reviewed the proposed increases and executive leadership has approved them, managers and supervisors will meet with direct reports individually to discuss performance-based merit increases. Generally, when merit funds are available, this will occur in July/August.

Will there be an appeal process for merit increases?

No, there is no appeal process for merit increases. Determining merit increase amounts is a management responsibility. In addition, the merit increase fund is a limited resource. 

What is the exception approval process if an employee receives a “Needs Attention” rating in a single category, therefore is not eligible to receive a merit increase?

There are no exceptions to overall Performance Levels. If an employee has an overall Performance Level of "Needs Attention," following review of indicators in the Achievement Criteria and documentation from the three conversations that fall within a merit cycle, they are not eligible for a merit increase.

What if my salary is at the pay range maximum?

If an employee with a salary at or near pay range maximum receives a merit increase, their salary will be increased to no higher than the pay range maximum and then the portion of the merit increase that exceeds pay range maximum will be paid out as a one-time lump sum payment.

Will any other factor be considered other than performance?

No, merit increase guidelines will be based on performance only as opposed to performance and/or position in range, seniority, time in classification, etc. The entire fund will be used to reward employee performance rather than attempt to address equity, compression or market lags.

Online Form

How do I access the online check-in form?

The Achieve Together check-in form dashboard will be available in June 2020. Check back in the summer before you hold your first check-in conversation between July-August.

Performance

As a people manager, how do I address performance challenges for those who are needing a great deal of attention?

Those who are performing in the "Needs Attention" level can receive ongoing coaching, development, direction, and support at any time through the year, not just following the merit process. At any time, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) can be utilized after consulting with your HR Partner. You can review this step-by-step guide for managing performance challenges to consider the Performance Improvement Plan options. 

Should the check-in form be used as a performance improvement plan or a professional development plan?

While the check-in addresses performance and opportunities for professional development, it should not serve as the official Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Use this guide for determining whether a performance improvement plan is required, and contact your HR Partner to consider the next steps. 

Do check-ins work for underperforming employees?

We've found that ongoing check-in conversations help our managers quickly address any performance issues with constructive feedback. But if an issue persists, we have a structured, documented process and helpful guide to ensure that we're doing our due diligence in relation to the employee and the company. When a manager tells us that a direct report is underperforming, we first ask whether the manager has been setting clear expectations and giving specific, direct feedback via the Check-in process. If not, we recommend that they start there and document those conversations. If the employee still isn't performing after a reasonable amount of time, then we begin the structured performance improvement process.

What do I do about employees who don't think they have a performance problem?

First, review the Managing Performance Challenges guide and consider if a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is appropriate. It is encouraged to meet with your HR Partner to discuss the challenges and how they might be more effectively addressed. Using the Achievement Criteria is an incrediby helpful guide to demonstrate performance levels and their responding indicators for Collaboration, Goal Accomplishment, Inclusion & Belonging, Innovation, and overall Job Mastery. These are the keys to aligning the conversation with the specific behaviors, standards, and expectations of non-represented employees and managers/supervisiors. 

Program / Process

What makes check-ins more efficient and effective than year-end reviews?

Check-ins should occur during a regularly scheduled one-on-one. The program is aligned with everyday work and contains less overall documentation compared to year-end reviews. Launching Achieve Together documentation forms takes seconds per employee. With the guided check-in questions and Achievement Criteira as helpful tool, the new process is streamlined for facilitation and documentation. 

Who should an employee contact with concerns?

Employees should go to their immediate manager/supervisor with questions or concern. If the manager/supervisor is unable to address the concern, or the concern is about the manager/supervisor, then contact your HR Partner. 

What sort of communications should I expect and how can I share the information with staff?

The Berkeley People & Culture team has scheduled cascading CalMessages (HR Network --> Managers/Supervisors --> Employees) before the program launch that will drive everyone to training, resources, tutorial videos, and our FAQ. The messages we will share after we launch the program will be timed ahead of check-in conversation deadlines every four months. Unit leaders can contact our project team to request internal communication templates for sharing about the new program internally. The Achieve Together project team is also availavble for AMAs and presentations on the program and coaching culture.

Contact the team with any questions about communications.

Will I have an annual review?

While our new approach will eliminate the extensive annual review process, you’ll still need to complete the annual review in the March/April 2020 timeframe.  After that you will engage in your check-in conversations three times per year.

Transition graphic

Where can I access completed check-ins?

Recent check-ins will be available on the conversation tool dashboard (coming soon!). Historical check-ins can be found in the employee's personnel file. 

What happens if my supervisor refuses to participate?

PPSM policy states that a PPSM employee who doesn't receive a rating is therefore deemed to have met expectations (Well Done Performance Level).

I just got a new supervisor and my previous supervisor has left campus and completed no documentation of my performance before they left. How will I be reviewed?

The new manager/supervisor will be required to complete the check-in process. What's great about the new program is that new managers won't be stuck with nearly a year's worth of work without the opportunity to effectively observe, reflect, discuss, and document performance. With the new program, new managers/supervisors are easily able to roll-on to the program during the four-month intervals and can quickly access information, training, and resources to effectively support staff be successful participating in Achieve Together.

Do provide documentation of work by using the Achievement Criteria as a tool for organizing your progress, and how you worked with others. This information will be helpful for new managers/supervisors to grasp the understanding of your scale, scope, results, and ways you work.

Sourcing feedback from collaborators can also be helpful to more accurately assess performance progress. 

Where can I go to if I have questions regarding information contained in the FAQs or for more information on Achieve Together?

Additional information can be found by exploring the Achieve Together site. If you can't find the answers you're looking for, you can contact us.

Training

What training and resources are available to me?

Managers/supervisors and employees have access to Achieve Together online and in-person training, toolkits, self-study resources, and tutorial videos. Managers are eligible for attenting BPM 206 Growing as a Coach to develop their skillset for ongoing workplace coaching.