Skip navigation

Human Resources & Inclusive Community

Performance Management

People Development

Performance Management


*Special Announcement*
merit update in 2022; 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 (Oct. 1-Sept. 30). These two cycles have 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.  

Further information and training sessions will be provided as we approach the evaluation timeline itself. 

Performance Cycle Q&A

When will I be expected to complete a performance review?

To transition to one unified cycle, all faculty and staff will conduct performance reviews between April 1 and May 15, 2022. Faculty reviews will be due by May 31st. A slight shortening of the cycle is needed to facilitate administrative compensation and budget processes. We recognize that reviews will begin three (3) months prior to the end of the fiscal year, so submit your best evaluation at the time they are due. 

Who is eligible for merit?

Appointed faculty and staff are eligible for merit based on their performance review. 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 those individuals hired in 2021-2022 will be prorated for months employed. More details on proration process will be shared in the spring.

What information will be considered for faculty evaluations?

Due to COVID-19, merit increases were last provided in January of 2020 based on performance 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 academic years 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, if available. The inclusion of these years will ensure equity among faculty and staff merit recommendations. 

I just completed an evaluation this fall. Do I need to complete another one in the spring, or can I just re-use the fall evaluation? 

An evaluation must be completed in spring 2022. The merit recommendations should consider reviews from 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022. To align both performance cycles and be equitable in how merit will be determined, all units must have a consistent review period. The intent is to eliminate potential disparate impacts by having 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 this new, aligned cycle. This marks a consolidation for DU which will provide more equitable evaluation experiences for all employees.  time they are due. 

Will training be provided?

Yes, to ensure the success of this procedural change, HRIC will also be holding staff performance review training around best practices and utilizing Pioneer@Work. Training dates will be announced soon. 

What do I need to do to prepare for my performance evaluation? 

Every staff member will need to complete their Performance Plan in Pioneer@Work. For former "Merit cycle" units, staff 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 (rate). Former “Academic cycle” units will not need to change or update anything as the performance plans were completed at the beginning of FY22. 

What is the absolute due date that I need to conduct a performance evaluation? 

Staff: Performance scores must be submitted by May 15th, 2022 in order to be uploaded into the merit system to inform merit recommendations.

Faculty: 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 2022?

There has not been an adjustment to employee pay for 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 employee’s 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: A great starting point would be to go to Pioneer@work and access past performance reviews for your employee by following the directions here:

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 a previous manager(s) by following these instructions:

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 accesing previous reviews, please contact

When will I see the merit increase reflected in my paycheck?

The increase is for earnings for payroll periods that begin on or after July 1, 2022.

Employee Group Effective Date of New Salary First Paycheck with New Salary
Exempt Staff 7/1/2022 8/1/2022
Non-Exempt Staff 7/4/2022 7/22/2022
Non-Exempt Union 7/4/2022 7/22/2022
9-month Law Faculty 8/1/2022 9/1/2022
12-month Law Faculty 7/1/2022 8/1/2022
9-month Faculty 9/1/2022 10/1/2022
12-month Faculty 7/1/2022 8/1/2022
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 (rate).  Former “Academic cycle” units will not need to change or update anything as the performance plans were completed at the beginning of FY22.

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.

What will the new performance review period be for all employees? 

The new annual review period will be July 1 to June 30.

For any more questions, please contact HRIC is still finalizing all details, and we will be updating this list based on the questions we receive.  

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. Performance Management at DU program includes:

Yearly Tasks

Performance Planning - First Quarter of the Year

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.

Quarterly Check-Ins: Second and Third Quarter of the Year

Quarterly Check-Ins give employees and managers 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 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. 

System Reminders

Performance Management program lives on the Talent Management platform, Pioneer@Work

Each of the tasks listed above will be communicated to all employees and managers through system-generated reminders when:

  • A task has been launched
  • Task is due in 5 days
  • 1 day past due
  • 30 days past due
  • 60 past due
  • 90 days past due
  • 120 days past due

Performance Cycle Timeline

The performance cycle takes place from July 1 - June 30 each year.

  Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4

Performance Planning

Quarterly Check-In

Quarterly Check-In

Performance Review


Annual Performance Cycle 

Jul 1 - Jun 30 

Jul 1 - Aug 15
(6 weeks)

Oct 1

Jan 1
April 1 - May 15
(6 weeks)