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Human Resources & Inclusive Community

Performance Management

People Development

Performance Management


The 18-19 performance appraisal is now complete and was the last process conducted in SilkRoad before we implement Cornerstone for the 2019-2020 year.

Cornerstone will go live campus-wide starting in January 2020 at which point all employees can enter the system to set goals and go through the performance planning process.

To be clear, you will not be setting goals in SilkRoad for the 2019-2020 cycle year.

Until the new system goes live in January, please continue to meet with your supervisor to plan your goals for the 2019-20 year. To support you in this process, please use the SMART Goals Worksheet.

Performance Management at DU

Benefitted staff participates in the Performance Management at DU program, designed to encourage regular conversations with a focus on employee development. The system currently being used for this program is Cornerstone, one of CUPA-HR's preferred providers.

Performance Management at DU program includes:

Process steps

Step 1: Performance Planning

Performance Planning includes three parts: setting job goals and objectives, reviewing the 5 competencies, and creating a professional development plan. Performance Planning is done at the beginning of the fiscal year or merit performance cycle (depending on your division). Goals help make sure that what you're doing aligns with the organization's mission and priorities.

Steps 2 and 3: Quarterly Check-Ins

Quarterly Check-Ins give employees and supervisors an opportunity to discuss goal accomplishments thus far; explore and understand priorities for the remainder of the year; and discuss progress against the development plan. It allows supervisors 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.

Step 4: Performance Review

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. 


There are two Performance Cycle timelines a the University of Denver, as follows: 

Merit Appraisal Process | October 1 — September 30

The appraisal year for all divisions (except Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence, University Health and Counseling Services, Residence, Athletics & Recreation, Campus Safety, and Ricks Center)

Academic Appraisal Process | July 1 — June 30

The appraisal year for:

  • Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
  • University Health and Counseling Services
  • Residence
  • Athletics & Recreation
  • Campus Safety
  • Ricks Center


Work Quality


Demonstrates a commitment to quality by taking pride in one's work, striving for excellence and delivering the best possible results. Completes work assignments thoroughly and in an accurate, prompt, and organized manner. Identifies and corrects errors. Pays attention to detail. Looks for opportunities to improve outcomes and generate ideas for building process efficiencies. Utilizes feedback to improve work and builds on previous learnings. Welcomes constructive feedback and monitors own work to ensure quality.

Examples of how an employee might demonstrate this competency:
  • Actively seeks new ways of working to improve productivity and efficiency.
  • Sets and maintains exceptional work standards and expectations.
  • Fact-checks work and seeks input for best possible impact.
  • Develops and shares best practices.
  • Designs processes to anticipate problems and develop contingency plans.
  • Develops and maintains systems for monitoring work quality.
  • Generates and tracks performance measures.



Contributes fresh ideas that provide solutions to the work in one's role or beyond, where relevant. Identifies ways to stay current in one's role and to meet organizational needs. Uses sound judgment to develop new insights into situations and applies different and novel solutions to make improvements. Utilizes analytical and conceptual abilities to formulate a practical plan with positive impact. This competency is focused on turning ideas into action. Thinks beyond the immediate imperative to the future. Challenges norms with innovative thinking and approaches.

Examples of how an employee might demonstrate this competency:
  • Seeks out and is proactive in assuming additional responsibilities.
  • Has visionary ideas and turns ideas into action.
  • Generates suggestions for improving work.
  • Shares unique and creative ideas that improve products, services, or processes.
  • Contributes to creating an environment that fosters creativity.
  • Takes intelligent risk to promote progress.



Demonstrates clear, timely, and consistent speaking, listening and written communications. Listens and seeks clarification and responds clearly to questions. Listens actively and communicates to others to build trusting relationships. Written communication is clear, grammatically correct, effective and relative to the needs and scope for one's role. Relates effectively to all levels of the institution. Fosters connections and a collaborative approach.

Examples of how an employee might demonstrate this competency:
  • Data are presented accurately and presentations are clear and informative.
  • Effectively and consistently communicates the organization's strategy and operational goals.
  • Helps develop and translate strategy into operational goals and priorities.
  • Create reports, memorandums, emails, and other required paperwork efficiently, error-free and in a timely manner.
  • Tailors message and tone to be understood by the receiving audience.
  • Communicates with credibility and confidence.
  • Speaks directly, promptly and tactfully to address concerns.
  • Asks questions to seek clarity.



Reports to work regularly, on time and is accountable during the workday. Cooperates and interacts with employees inside and outside of the work unit contributing to improved operations. Aligns individual efforts with university and unit goals. Takes ownership of work and is accountable for outcomes. Is aware of and follows University policies and procedures. Establishes trust and respect by following through on commitments. Completes tasks and assignments with minimal supervision. Committed to meeting deadlines.

Examples of how an employee might demonstrate this competency:
  • Demonstrates consistency in the approach and delivery of work.
  • Builds relationships across organizational and functional boundaries.
  • Handles sensitive information and issues with discretion and tact.
  • Takes personal responsibility for outcomes.
  • Makes decisions based on sound judgment.
  • Models the behavior that you expect of yourself and others.
  • Follows through on commitments and agreements.



Actively creates and supports an inclusive and equitable workplace by embedding diversity into all aspects of the workplace. This may include policies, procedures, training, mission, values, goals, office climate and culture, interactions with colleagues and co-workers, leadership practices, programming, hiring, marketing, evaluation, promotion, and other workplace dimensions.

Examples of how an employee might demonstrate this competency:
  • Builds knowledge of and seeks improvement in areas of cultural awareness.
  • Seeks out opportunities to attend and join the diversity and inclusion efforts on campus, such as events, training, workshops, classes, and committees.
  • Demonstrates skills and behaviors on the job related to competencies learned in diversity and inclusion training.
  • Seeks and considers perspectives from people different than oneself.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to improving the climate for historically underrepresented constituencies; e.g., people of color; those with disabilities; those of different sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity, religion, and new immigrant populations, etc.
  • Strives to manage differences with skill and sensitivity, accepting diverse ideas and differing points of view.
  • Creates a brave space for others to be themselves.
  • Identifies ways to recruit and retain underrepresented employees.

Rating Scale

Exceptional (4.5 - 5)

Employee exceeds expectations by stepping well beyond the scope of his or her position description to deliver real change to the department, unit, or organization. The individual is an exceptional employee who achieves an unusually high level of performance relative to all assignments and objectives. The expectation is that this rating should reflect performance in the top 5% of all performers.

Advanced (3.5 – 4.49)

The employee is a critical member of the team with performance that is consistently above established expectations. The employee seeks improvement of self, office practices, team, and/or department. The individual goes above and beyond what is expected to contribute to the success of the department or unit.

Solid (2.5 - 3.49)

The employee fully meets the established job expectations and is a reliable and solid performer. The employee generally performs well and requires little guidance. The individual demonstrates initiative to meet the goals and objectives of the position.

Developing (1.5 – 2.49)

The employee meets some of the job expectations, but not all. The individual requires support and direction to complete assignments. The employee generally performs at a minimum level of effort and improvement is needed to fully meet expectations. This rating may be given to a new employee who has yet to learn or master a specific skill. In this latter case, the rating reflects the employee's time in the position.

Unsatisfactory (1 – 1.49)

The employee's performance generally fails to meet the established expectations or requires frequent supervision and/or the redoing of work. The individual is not performing that the level expected. Unacceptable job performance is due to the employee's lack of knowledge, skill or effort.