Performance evaluation forms at Towson University have been evolving for years. In their current iteration, there have been separate forms for exempt and non-exempt staff. Exempt staff were rated on a 3-point scale, whereas non-exempt evaluations used a 5-point scale. Once thought to offer supervisors more options for reflecting employee efforts, the scales have recently been a source of misunderstanding as ratings became inflated and employees began expecting the highest rating. HR is now hoping to clear up that confusion by implementing a new and simplified evaluation form which will be used for all regular exempt, non-exempt and contingent II staff employees. According to Associate Vice President for Human Resources Phil Ross, the form’s straightforward approach will be more intuitive for supervisors and employees alike.
“I think the new forms will make it easier for supervisors to do evaluations,” Phil said. “They will be easier for employees and supervisors to understand, so we expect to have more consistency in the ratings across the board.”
The new forms were approved by President’s Council earlier this year and will be used for the current performance evaluation period ending this February. Over the past month, Employee/Employer Relations Manager JoAnn Joseph has met with university leadership and several departments to review the form and provide training onthe use of performance evaluations. She says feedback to the form has been mostly positive.
According to JoAnn, the change to the evaluation forms will not affect the way that merit is distributed to employees because merit allotment and performance evaluations are separate processes. However, JoAnn does believe that the new forms will change the way employees look at their performance.
“It’s nice because it takes away the anxiety of employees looking at it as a report card of sorts, with the ‘outstanding’ rating being an A” JoAnn says. “That was a misnomer—a grade isn’t given for the work we do as employees. Both exempt and non-exempt employees will be evaluated based on whether or not they are still the outstanding employee TU originally hired. Employees are either meeting the expectations of the department or not.”
The new performance evaluation forms will be available on the forms repository in January. JoAnn is available to review the forms at departmental meetings; an online training video for supervisors has also been developed. This February, JoAnn will conduct a workshop on “Performance Management: the Supervisor’s Role.” Registration for the workshop is available on HR’s Training and Development site.