Setting Performance Goals for Non-Represented Staff



The key underpinning to effective performance management is the development of employee performance goals that align with UC Berkeley’s strategic goals and mission. Individual employee performance contributions help accomplish organizational objectives that support the teaching, research and public service mission of the university. It is the responsibility of the manager to translate the organization’s objectives and performance standards in order to collaborate with their staff to create individual employee goals and opportunities. Employee’s should partner with their managers to define, plan, monitor and review their performance goals as well as take active ownership to achieve those goals. In the increasingly complex UC Berkeley work environment, performance goals must be agile and adaptable. Employees and managers should continuously check-in regarding goals and add, update, and modify performance goals as a part of those meetings.  

What’s different?

Unlike the goal-setting of the past, setting goals is intended to be a management tool, not an employee evaluation tool. Goals are no longer the primary merit determinate and employees should feel free to set ambitious goals.   

STEPS 1 - 3

 To develop goals managers will schedule a goal-setting meeting with each employee using the following 4 steps:


STEP 1: Manager prepares to talk to employee

The manager prepares to discuss the following with each employee:

  1. UCB’s strategic plan and how this cascades to their unit’s strategic plan (so the manager can explain how each employee has a line of sight into how they contribute to the organization),

  2. How the employees work impacts both strategic plans,

  3. How current UC systemwide, UC Berkeley, higher education and other relevant issues, events, or initiatives impact the planning of employee goals,

  4. List of potential employee goals to help start the conversation, if needed.


STEP 2: Manager meets with employee

The manager meets with each employee to discuss items identified in step 1.

STEP 3: Manager and employee brainstorm

The manager and employee brainstorm together to identify the employee’s performance goals. Goals are statements of achievements relating to the following categories:

  1. key job responsibilities

  2. special projects or initiatives

  3. stretch assignments

  4. professional development

  5. contribution

The manager should share their potential prepared goals list, as needed.

It is recommended that employees have no more than five goals and have one goal in each of the following categories:

  1. involving a set of key job responsibilities, significant initiative, or special project

  2. stretch assignment (project or task which is beyond the employee’s current knowledge or skills level in order to help them learn and grow)

  3. professional development (skills and knowledge that go beyond the scope of the employee's job description, plans commonly include classes, but can also include elements such as cross-training and special project participation.

  4. contribution (e.g., committee service, mentoring, community of practice, etc.)

Note: Manager/Supervisor goals should take into consideration the management and development of staff.

How to structure goals

OKR image

A goal should describe a) what the employee will achieve (objective) and b) how they are going to measure the achievement (key result).

Objectives are memorable, motivational and qualitative descriptions of what an employee wants to achieve. Objectives should be concise, challenging, inspirational and engaging.

Key Results are a set of metrics that measure progress towards the Objective. For each Objective, you should have a set of one to five Key Results. One of the Key Results should be timebound. 

Orgs have choice in guiding individuals to set goals that support the strategy.

Some units utilize...

•OKR method for structured organizational alignment
•SMART criteria Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) at the individual level and OKRs, KPIs, or other measures at the organizational level
•UC system utilizes the SMART criteria

Critical to any organizational guidance, goals must be...

•Measurable - how will we know when it is accomplished? How it will be measured through qualitative or quantitative indicators?
•Actionable - what are the actions the employee will take to make progress on this goal in the agreed upon time-frame? Does the employee have control over the outcome?
•Tied to organizational priorities

Additional considerations

•You can also use SMART methodology in drafting the O (objective) aspect of OKRs (SMART/OKR hybrid model)
•Out of those surveyed as part of the Achieve Pilot, 64% found the OKR framework useful, compared to 79% finding the SMART method useful. 34% v. 20% were neutral toward OKR or SMART, respectively.

Additional Resources: