2022 Merit Update: Newly Aligned Performance Review Cycle
To ensure we are equitably evaluating and rewarding outstanding work among our faculty and staff, we are modifying our performance review process. The new performance review cycle will result in an aligned and equitable procedure for both faculty and staff, ensuring sustained achievements across all of DU.
For several years, the University has operated with two separate performance cycles: the academic cycle (July 1 – June 30), and the merit cycle (October 1 – September 30). Using two cycles has created confusion, misalignment, inconsistencies, and disconnect between feedback and merit. Moving forward, we have decided to condense these cycles into one performance timeline aligned with our fiscal year. Having one performance cycle across the University will create better efficiencies, budget alignment, and recognition.
What should you be doing right now?
- Complete your self-review
- Your supervisor will complete your review
- Meet with your supervisor to discuss
Be thinking about your goals for the next cycle, April 1 - March 31, 2023. You will be entering those goals in July.
Further information and training sessions will be provided in The Bridge throughout this process.
Performance Management at DU
All benefited staff members participate in the Performance Management at DU program, designed to encourage regular conversations with a focus on employee development. The Performance Management at DU program includes:
Performance Planning – First Quarter of the Year
Performance planning includes three parts: setting job goals and objectives, reviewing the five competencies, and creating a professional development plan. Performance planning is done at the beginning of the fiscal year. Goals help make sure that what you're doing aligns with the organization's mission and priorities.
Quarterly check-ins give employees and managers an opportunity to discuss the status of goals and accomplishments thus far, explore and understand priorities for the remainder of the year, and discuss progress of the development plan. It allows managers to give specific feedback and coaching, as well as provide a general sense of how performance is being measured without assigning ratings. An important part of the quarterly conversations is to recognize an employee's contributions.
Performance Review – Fourth Quarter of the Year
The year-end performance review is the formal performance assessment for the year. The purpose of a year-end assessment is to review achievements against goals and competencies, celebrate your successes, and document the progress you have made on your development plan. It also helps to ensure that all employees are fairly assessed, have a sense of accomplishment, and clearly understand how their accomplishments have helped drive DU's strategic plan, IMPACT 2025.
The Performance Management at DU program is housed on our talent management platform, Pioneer@Work. Each of the yearly tasks listed above will be communicated to all employees and managers through system-generated reminders when:
- A task has been launched
- A task is due in five days
- A task is one day past due
- A task is 30 days past due
- A task is 60 past due
- A task is 90 days past due
- A task is 120 days past due
Performance Cycle Q&A
When Will I Be Expected to Complete a Performance Review?
To transition to one unified cycle, all benefited staff will conduct performance reviews between April 1 and May 18, 2022. Faculty reviews will be due by April 18 or later. Check with your individual department and unit for details.
A slight shortening of the cycle is needed to facilitate administrative compensation and budget processes. Because of this shortened cycle, you may have goals that will not be complete by April 1. Please take time to revisit your goals before April 1 and adjust if needed. Adjustments could include changing the language of a written goal to make it reflect what you can accomplish this year. If you want to roll your goal over until next year, you do not need to adjust it in the system.
You will have until May 13 to complete your self-review and until May 18 to meet with your manager to discuss your evaluation. You should also be thinking about your goals for the next evaluation cycle, which will run from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023.
Who Is Eligible for Merit?
Appointed faculty and staff are eligible for merit based on their performance reviews. For an employee to be eligible for merit, they must have a hire date prior to or on April 1, 2022. Merit awards are based on employees’ time in the position, performance ratings, and current placement within their respective salary range. Eligibility does not guarantee a merit award. Merit increases for individuals hired between January 1, 2021, and April 1, 2022, will be prorated for months employed. More details on proration process will be shared soon.
What Information Will Be Considered for Faculty Evaluations?
Due to COVID-19, merit increases were last provided in January of 2020 based on performance data in the faculty annual reviews from the 2018–2019 academic year. Consequently, in considering merit recommendations for summer of 2022, academic leaders should consider faculty annual reports and performance reviews from the academic years 2019–2020, 2020–2021 and 2021–2022, if available.
What Information Will Be Considered for Staff Evaluations?
In considering merit recommendations, supervisors of staff should consider performance reviews from the years 2019–2020, 2020–2021 and 2021–2022, if available. The inclusion of these years will help ensure equity among faculty and staff merit recommendations.
I Completed an Evaluation Last Fall. Must I Complete Another This Spring?
An evaluation must be completed in spring 2022. The merit recommendations should consider reviews from 2019–2020, 2020–2021, and 2021–April 1, 2022. To align both performance cycles and maintain equitable merit determinations, all units must have a consistent review period. The intent is to eliminate potential disparate impacts due to inconsistent review periods.
Will the October–September Merit Cycle Still Exist?
The former October 1 – September 30 merit cycle is being discontinued entirely and replaced by the newly aligned cycle. This marks a consolidation for DU which will provide more equitable evaluation experiences for all employees.
Will Training Be Provided?
Yes, to ensure the success of this procedural change, HRIC will be holding staff performance review training around best practices and utilizing Pioneer@Work. Training dates will be announced soon.
How Should I Prepare for My Performance Evaluation?
Staff members, please take time to revisit your Performance Plan goals in Pioneer@Work before April 1 and adjust if needed. Adjustments could include changing the language of a written goal to make it reflect what you can accomplish this year. If you want to roll your goal over until next year, you do not need to adjust it in the system.
What Is the Minimum Number of Goals Required for Evaluation?
Staff and supervisors should strive to set between three and five goals total. Goals should be tied to one or more of the strategic imperatives as much as possible. Goals should be specific, realistic, measurable, time-bound, and related to the employee's role and responsibilities. Fewer well written goals are preferable to numerous goals that simply restate existing job duties and responsibilities.
What if I Cannot Modify My Goals to Be Completed by April 1?
It is not uncommon that some goals, especially considering the modified timeframes for this transition year, may remain incomplete. Both the supervisor and employee should discuss these goals to understand why they were not completed, if they are still relevant, and whether their time frames should be adjusted to carry them into the next plan year. This does not necessarily reflect a performance deficiency. Both the supervisor and employee should document the status of these goals in the performance review meeting.
What Is the Due Date for Performance Evaluations?
- Staff – Performance scores must be submitted by May 18th, 2022, in order to be uploaded into the merit system to inform merit recommendations.
- Faculty – Reviews will be due by April 18th or May 1 for law faculty. Check with your individual department and unit for details. Because faculty do not receive a numeric rating to load, deans have until May 31st, 2022, to complete their reviews in Activity Insight.
Why Does the Merit Recommendation Consider This Longer Period of July 2019 – June, 2020?
There has not been an adjustment to employee pay based on performance since January, 2020. That merit increase was based on performance in the 2018–2019 academic year. To provide an equitable review cycle for all employees, supervisors of staff and faculty are asked to consider the same time period.
As a Manager of Staff, How Can I Reflect on My Employees' Accomplishments Dating All the Way Back to 2019 in Creating a Merit Recommendation?
If the employee has reported to you for the entire review period, start by accessing past performance reviews for your employee in Pioneer@Work by following the directions here. Also, review notes from previous quarterly check-in meetings you may have had with your employees during this period.
If you are a new manager or the employee did not report to you for the entire review period, you can access their reviews that were completed by the previous manager by following these instructions. You can also meet with the previous manager, if applicable/appropriate, to gain any additional insight or information that can help in the review process.
If there are no reviews or missing reviews, reviewing any documentation in your supervisor file relating to the employee may assist your recollection of past accomplishments. The employee's self-assessment may assist you as well. In addition, reviewing the plan of work or unit strategic plans for the respective period may also be helpful.
If you need assistance accessing previous reviews, please contact email@example.com.
When Will I See My Merit Increase Reflected in My Paycheck?
The increase affects payroll periods that begin on or after July 1, 2022.
Effective Date of New Salary
First Paycheck with New Salary
9-month Law Faculty
12-month Law Faculty
Will Staff Need to Identify New Goals Prior to the Spring Evaluation?
Yes, staff employees will need to add goals to the Goals section in Pioneer@Work. If no goals are entered, the first section, "Job Goals and Objectives," will be blank and there will be nothing to review or rate. Former "Academic Cycle" units will not need to be changed or updated as the performance plans were completed at the beginning of fiscal year 2022.
What Further Communications Will Be Shared Regarding This Change?
HRIC will share upcoming training communications and additional updates in an ongoing way. Institutional Research will work with academic unit leaders on the faculty annual report forms process in parallel.
What if I Am a Staff Member Who Disagrees with a Previous Evaluation that Will Now Be Used to Help Inform a Merit Recommendation in 2022?
Disagreement regarding a final performance evaluation may be disputed via the Employee Grievance Process (Policy 3.10.060) solely if the grievance is based on an incorrect material fact in the performance evaluation. If the disagreement of a performance evaluation or rating is based on subjective factors, the employee may submit a rebuttal and have it attached to the overall performance rating. Supervisors and employees may also contact their HR Partners to discuss the situation and determine the best approach to resolve it.
What Will the New Performance Review Period Be for All Employees?
The new annual review period will be July 1 through June 30.