Aug. 10-23, 2001
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Evaluations begin despite lack of state funds for raises

By Rebecca Arrington

After several years of planning, a new classified/staff employee performance management process is being rolled out statewide. At U.Va., information sessions for supervisors and employees are being held to assure that everyone understands the new plan, which features employee self-assessments and a three-category rating system.

Employees will be evaluated by managers between Aug. 10 and Oct. 9. They will be rated as either a contributor, an extraordinary contributor, or below contributor.

The majority of U.Va.’s workforce will fall into the contributor category, which means they are meeting or surpassing their job requirements, said Debbie Gausvik, assistant director of Employee Relations.

Due to the state’s budget impasse, however, no funds are available for raises. Gov. Jim Gilmore could introduce a caboose bill on Dec. 18 that, if approved, would ensure employees’ raises. But that outcome won’t be known until the General Assembly session ends in mid-March 2002.

When asked why employees should go beyond the call of duty if they won’t be rewarded monetarily, Gausvik said individual departments now have more flexibility in distributing funds. Departments can’t use money in their budgets to give annual raises through the Employee Performance Plan. They can, however, use funds to make in-band adjustments and reallocations, give bonuses, and grant days off as part of a new rewards program. Management determines in-band adjustments, she said, usually for pay equity issues. But employees can also go to managers to state their case. “If they have another job offer or have acquired new skills,” they might be eligible for an in-band adjustment, she said.

An “extraordinary contributor” rating is for work consistently above performance measures. For instance, employees might receive this rating if they’ve had to fill in for a manager or other staff members during the performance cycle, or have had dual duties, such as being an ISP contributor, Gausvik said.

To be eligible for an extraordinary contributor rating, an employee needs to receive at least one documented Acknowledgement of Extraordinary Contribution form during the rating cycle. Receipt of this form, however, does not guarantee the higher rating overall. For this year only, the form must be submitted with the performance evaluation form. In the future, the form must be sent to HR at the time the form is issued.

Employees with at least one Notice of Improvement Needed/Substandard Performance form may receive a “below contributor” rating on their annual evaluation, but can not be rated as such without a performance improvement plan implemented for a minimum period of 30 calendar days.

Employees are encouraged to provide supervisors with self-assessments of their job performance at least two weeks prior to a scheduled evaluation meeting. Self-assessments can include employees’ accomplishments during the performance cycle, acknowledgements recognizing their work, the status of tasks, and notes from conversations with supervisors. These assessments can also include difficulties and challenges during the rating period. Employees can use either the new performance evaluation form, a form developed by their department, or a written narrative. New evaluation forms, as well as the new policy guidelines, are available online at HR’s Web site:

Following the evaluations, supervisors should discuss performance plans with their employees in a timely manner, within 30 days of the beginning of the performance cycle. Feedback about the plan is encouraged during the performance cycle. Non-probationary employees should receive interim evaluations near the middle of the cycle, while new employees must be reviewed after six months. The probationary period for new hires can be extended from 12 to 18 months with approval from Human Resources.

If performance for a probationary employee is below contributor at the six-month mark, a reevaluation will be required at nine months, at which point if performance is not satisfactory supervisors must contact Human Resources. Options include reducing the employee’s duties (requires a 5 percent salary reduction), demoting or reassigning the employee (with a 5 percent pay reduction), or terminating him or her at that time.

If an employee disagrees with an evaluation and cannot resolve the disagreement with the supervisor, he or she may appeal to the reviewer for another evaluation review.

Letters regarding changes to the Performance Management Process will be mailed to employees soon, Gausvik said.

More facts about the new system:

• There is no mandate limiting the number of extraordinary contributors that can be recognized per state agency.

• If Medical Center employees transfer to the University (agency 207), regardless of their years of service at the Medical Center, they are considered probationary U.Va. employees.

• Medical Center (agency 209) employees are not effected by the new performance management process.

• If an employee transfers, is promoted or demoted to another position on or after Aug. 10, the former department is responsible for completing the annual evaluation. If the movement takes place before Aug. 10, the receiving department is responsible for the evaluation.

• Employees always have access to their personnel records either at their supervisor’s office or at HR.

• For employees, such as police officers, who work various shifts, supervisors on all of these shifts would have input into evaluations.

• Next year, U.Va. will be piloting “upward feedback,” where employees can evaluate managers’ performance.


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