Skip navigation

Human Resources & Inclusive Community

Performance Management

People Development

Performance Management


*SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT* Changes to 19-20 performance review

As a result of the unprecedented changes resulting from COVID-19, we are all being called to adapt quickly and often as our work environments have changed. The rhythm of our work and daily lives has shifted to address the ever-changing priorities and realities of our students, our communities, our families, and the world. This applies to our regularly scheduled professional development and performance planning activities for the year.

As you know, HRIC launched a new Performance Management system, Pioneer@Work, in January 2020 as part of a larger Talent Management philosophy and approach at the University of Denver. Our Talent Management ethos rests on the belief that we aim to attract and hire, develop, and retain the very best talent for the job and needs of the university to further our mission and strategic plan, IMPACT 2025.

Our Performance Management at DU program aims to accomplish 4 objectives:

  • Set and track performance expectations
  • Set and track goals
  • Reward high performance
  • Facilitate professional and career growth

We care about our employees' wellbeing and know how much has been disrupted in our lives – our work environments, the nature of our work, our family lives, our finances, and the larger economy. We acknowledge that people might be stressed and scared — nervous about others' and their own health and the state of the world. Now is the time to slow down, check-in with one another, create intentional connection around these changes, and start making new plans for this new world.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on our DU staff community, we are responding in kind and adapting performance management to better address the current realities and needs of our employees. We have decided to put a hold on the rated, standard appraisal and instead require all managers to hold a formal, non-rated check-in meeting in its place. As an alternative to a standard review, we ask all managers to hold a formal check-in with a goal of expressing genuine care and compassion and to acknowledge this time of crisis/change and how it has impacted our employees' lives – both professionally and personally. As such, now is the time to update performance plans to reflect the changing job goals and objectives and reconsider how we can grow and develop to meet the needs of our evolving jobs and outcomes of our work.

Managers will be asked to complete a simple 2 item form upon completion of the formal, non-rated check-in meeting with each of their direct reports in Pioneer@Work. Employees will not have to complete a form, only participate in the check-in meeting.

As stated by the author in the Harvard Business Review article, Coaching Your Team Through Uncertain Times, "leaders of organizations can help their people get through these trying times by coaching them as they reevaluate their lives and rethink what they add to the world." In another article, the author offers specific tips for conducting these check-ins remotely, How to Do Performance Reviews Remotely.

Some coaching style questions to consider using in this check-in, as an alternative to a formal review, are:

  • How are you doing? What's on your mind?
  • What is going well? What is not going well?
  • How have things changed for you?
  • What priorities have changed, what projects have been delayed/postponed, what new projects and work has started, what needs to be put on hold?
  • What have you found/learned from current working environment processes we could implement moving forward?
  • During this time, is there anyone that has stood out as especially helpful and supportive to you that you want to recognize?
  • What support do you need? How can I help you?
  • Do you have the resources and tools (hardware, software, access, etc...) you need to be successful?
  • Is there anything else you would like to discuss?

To summarize, to complete the 19-20 performance cycle year instead of a standard rated review, managers are required to hold a check-in meeting for each direct report and complete the task found in Pioneer@Work, titled "2019-2020 Year-End Check-in for [employees name]". This check-in, hosted by the manager, is an opportunity to update one another, express care and concern, and begin discussing performance expectations and job goals related to the new 2020-2021 performance year.

Reminder emails will be sent for each direct report. 

Upcoming Timelines

  • July 27th - Academic Cycle (July 1 through June 30) will receive the 2019-2020 Year End Check-in form on July 27th for 3 weeks, until August 14th
  • September 10th - Merit Cycle (October 1 through September 30th) will receive the 2019-2020 Year End Check-in form on September 10th for 3 weeks, until September 30th.
  • October 1st - Performance Planning (including Goal Setting) for the 2020-2021 year will launch and be available to all benefitted staff members on October 1, 2020, for all units – both Academic and Merit cycles. Employees will receive an email from Pioneer@Work alerting them to the availability of the task, "2020-2021 Performance Planning" located in Pioneer@Work in the "Your Action Items" dashboard.

If you have any questions or need any support please feel free to reach out to Mia Elizardi, who leads the Performance Management at DU program or your division's HR Partner.

Introduction to Performance Management

Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC) is thrilled to announce the new Performance Management at DU program. Utilizing software by Cornerstone, the new system, Pioneer@Work will allow benefited employees to create goals, document check-ins and more.

If you are interested in getting Performance Reviews prior to 2019, please reach out to your HR Partner or email

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:

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. 

Performance Cycle Timelines

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

Performance Cycle Timelines

Divisions on the
Merit Cycle Year 

Divisions on the
Academic Cycle Year

  • Office of Graduate Education
  • Arts & Humanities/Social Sciences
  • Ritchie School of Eng & Comp Sci
  • Natural Sciences and Math
  • Daniels College Of Business
  • Sturm College of Law
  • Morgridge College Of Education
  • Fisher Early Learning Center
  • Graduate School Of Prof. Psychology
  • Josef Korbel School Int'l Studies
  • Graduate School Of Social Work
  • University College
  • Colorado Women's College
  • Office of Resrch & Sponsored Progs
  • University Libraries
  • Provost
  • University Academic Programs
  • Registrar
  • Centers & Institutes
  • Internationalization
  • English Language Center
  • Institutional Priorities
  • Financial Affairs
  • Student Financial Services
  • Shared Services
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Conferencing and Event Services
  • Facilities Planning & Management
  • Internal Audit
  • Information Technology
  • General Counsel
  • Chancellor
  • Admission
  • Newman Center
  • Advancement
  • Marketing & Communications
  • DU Agency Organizations
  • Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence
  • Ricks Center
  • Campus Safety
  • University Health & Counseling Serv
  • Residence
  • Athletics & Recreation
  • HR and Inclusive Community
  • Financial Services-Controller