The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

3 Tips for Flexible Performance Management

University of Utah recently put in place a requirement for annual performance reviews for all staff. In order to streamline the process and create strategic alignment, human resources designed an online performance management system. Jeff Herring, chief HR officer at University of Utah, and Andrea Brown-Christensen, the university’s director of service delivery, shared with CUPA-HR annual conference attendees how they did it.

1) First and foremost, they put in place a solid change management process. This included identifying stakeholders; involving IT early; communicating, communicating, communicating; using focus groups to learn what stakeholders wanted in a system; starting with a pilot; having a process in place for deciding which requested enhancements to make; and, again, communicating all along the way.

2) They provided central support for local decision making (in other words, they were flexible). There is a wide variety of performance management philosophies and practices across campus at University of Utah. Although the university requires performance reviews, it does not dictate how performance evaluations are to be conducted. Therefore, HR took the approach of providing support and resources, including templates, rating styles, etc. to help staff and managers do performance reviews their way within the online system.

3) They created a system with a variety of features. Says Brown-Christensen, “Whether you build or buy, you need the ability to configure. The one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in performance management. You’ll have more buy-in and success if you ask for input, listen and configure things that make sense for your institution.”

For more resources related to performance management, see the Performance Management toolkit in CUPA-HR’s Knowledge Center.