Tennessee State University
Performance Evaluation System
Why Have a Performance Evaluation System?
In 2004, Tennessee State University is adopting a system-wide performance evaluation process
to provide a reliable vehicle for employees and supervisors to communicate consistently about
goals, work performance, and outcomes. This system helps supervisors make sound and
equitable decisions regarding performance improvement, job and career development,
recognition, compensation, and corrective action.
A key to this new system is the recognition that ongoing communication not only enhances
relationships among staff and supervisors, it also provides a mechanism for identifying and
clarifying expectations. The performance evaluation process provides all employees with the
opportunity to set clear goals for the next year, to assess the progress made on meeting those
goals and expectations, to hold up contributions to jobs, units, and TSU, and to identify
strengths and areas of development.
The TSU Performance Evaluation Process
The performance evaluation process is ongoing. It begins with goal setting, is carried on
throughout the year through regular supervision meetings and culminates in the annual
performance review, which includes setting the goals for following evaluation period.
The forms used in the process are:
• Annual Goal Setting Form
• Employee Self Evaluation Questionnaire
• Performance Evaluation Form
• Supervisory Competencies Form (for those who provide supervision to other paid
Table of Contents
Instructions for Annual Goal Setting Form………………………………………………… 2
Instructions for Employee Self-Evaluation Questionnaire………….……………………3
Instructions for Performance Evaluation Form…….....………………………………….4-5
Instructions for Supervisory Competencies Form……………………………………….. 6
Performance Evaluation Meeting………………………………………….………………… 6
Mid-Year Review………………………………………………………………………………… 6
Instructions for Annual Goal Setting Form
Goals are set at the start of a new evaluation period. For new employees, goal setting is
completed by the employee and supervisor within one month of hire. For others, goal setting is
completed as part of the annual evaluation process. As you review accomplishments and
performance for the previous period, you also set goals for coming year.
Both the employee and supervisor should agree on the goals. It is the responsibility of the
supervisor to ensure that goals are identified and follow the S M A R T guidelines. SMART
stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, and Time Bound. For most
positions, 4-5 goals are reasonable and achievable.
Goals are to be specific to the person and position. They identify the aspirations of the
individual, the areas in which the employee wants and/or needs to grow, as well as identifies the
role the individual takes in meeting the unit or departmental goals. An individual’s goals connect
to the unit or department goals, which connect to the University goals.
Examples of clear goals:
o Create a new manual on a specific subject by November 1.
o By August 31, update current database to include a certain segment of information.
o Through the year, attend 10 hours on training on customer service and provide a mini-training
session for unit employees.
These goals are specific. This person will create a manual, update a database, attend specific
training and hold a training session for their unit.
These goals are measurable. We will see a manual, a database, and a certificate from the training
and the training session they will deliver.
These goals are achievable. They are feasible and can be achieved within a year.
These goals results oriented. They focus on what will be accomplished, not the process of
accomplishing the goal.
These goals are time bound. The employee knows when they are to be completed.
Examples of unclear goals:
o Continue to work on hiring new people.
o Increase efficiency in my area.
o Serve as many students as possible.
These goals are not specific. How many people? What is efficiency? How many students?
These goals are not measurable. There is no way to know when they’ve been accomplished.
These goals are not achievable. They could go on forever.
These goals are not results oriented. They focus on the process, not on what will be accomplished.
These goals are not time bound. The employee has no understanding as to when they are to be
The goal setting form can be included in the performance evaluation packet along with the
completed section on goal setting on the performance evaluation form.
To support a culture of personal and professional growth, a formal evaluation with written
documentation is completed annually. It is a time to review progress on goals, identify
accomplishments and achievements, areas of growth or non-improvement and to identify goals
and development plans for the coming year. The information presented during the annual
evaluation should never be a surprise to the employee or supervisor.
Both the employee and their supervisor should prepare for the annual evaluation. To prepare
for the annual evaluation, the employee uses the self-evaluation questionnaire, the annual goal
setting form, and evaluates himself or herself with the sections on behavior standards and job
performance of the performance evaluation form. The supervisor completes the performance
evaluation form for each employee. If an employee is also a supervisor of paid employees, the
supervisory competencies form is also completed by the employee and their supervisor.
Instructions for Employee Self Evaluation Questionnaire
Each employee is expected to complete a self evaluation using the employee self evaluation
questionnaire before the performance evaluation meeting with his or her supervisor. This is an
opportunity for the employee to review and reflect on his or her past year at TSU. Each
employee will also begin to draft goals he or she has for the coming year.
Questions asked on the Questionnaire:
What were your most significant work-related accomplishments? (Include projects,
assignments, new skills or knowledge gained.)
How do these accomplishments relate to your key responsibilities and goals for you and
What didn’t you accomplish that you had planned on accomplishing? Why?
What are your goals for the next evaluation period?
How will you accomplish these goals?
What do you need to accomplish these goals?
How can your supervisor help you to work more effectively and support your goals?
How can your team help you to achieve your goals?
What additional training or development would help you improve and/or enhance your
What feedback or suggestions do you have to improve your unit and/or department?
Instructions for Performance Evaluation Form
The performance evaluation form is used by the supervisor to evaluate the employee’s job
performance and adherence to specific behavioral standards. These performance areas and
behavioral standards are consistent across the University. For those who supervise other paid
employees, the supervisory competencies form is also required.
For employees in Athletics where there are additional outputs or expectations on which
employees are evaluated, additional departmental forms are completed and included in the
review process and filed in the employees personnel file.
The Performance Evaluation Form is divided into five sections.
Section One identifies the employee, the rating period and type of evaluation. If the evaluation
will have a special attachment(s), the appropriate category is marked.
Section Two rates the employee on Behavioral Standards and Job Performance. The scale of
1-5 is used with specific definitions for each point on the scale. The scale is designed to help
both the supervisor and employee identify a rating. Though each standard or performance area
has 3-4 aspects, the employee is to be rated on the overall standard or area. Use only whole
numbers when rating a specific behavioral standard or job performance area.
5—Outstanding 4—Superior 3—Average 2—Marginal 1—Unsatisfactory
Performance is Results clearly exceed Competent Shows capability, Major or ongoing
exceptional in all areas, most position performance in but in a variable problems that
including in demanding requirements; most situations manner; negatively impact
situations or consistent competent and improvement unit or university
circumstances; performance, including circumstances needed in key objectives
performance is in demanding areas
recognizable as being situations or
far superior to others circumstances
To rate a 5, one would expect that the employee always exceed the standard or area all the
time. To rate a 1 or a 2, one would expect the employee has severe performance problems or
major difficulty with behavioral standards. In all these instances, the supervisor must
identify why the employee deserved such a rating.
Both the employee and supervisor rate the employee on both behavioral standards and job
performance. Both make comments as to why they chose a specific rating. This information is
used during the evaluation meeting as information for the final evaluation. Any areas with major
differences require a discussion of perspectives. Ultimately, it is the supervisor’s
responsibility to assign the final rating.
In rating employees, there are several pitfalls to avoid:
The Halo Effect: Allowing one good aspect of the employee’s character or performance to
influence the entire evaluation.
The Horns Effect: Allowing one negative aspect of the employee’s character or performance
to influence the entire evaluation.
Partial Rating: Basing the employee’s evaluation on the most recent period of time, not the
total rating period.
Similar to me: Evaluating more favorably those who have similar views and opinions to the
Hierarchy Evaluating the occupant of a higher position more favorably
Tendency: than employees in lower positions.
Favoritism: Evaluating friends higher than other employees.
Under Section II, Behavioral Standard B the term Empowered User is used. It is again used in
Standard C, Professional Attitude, which includes the statement: “Applies an empowered user
approach to all situations.” An Empowered User approach includes respecting the
customer’s knowledge, skills, and situations, helping the customer get the information or
guidance needed, and adopting the attitude “it’s always my job”. Customers include
students, other staff and faculty, community agencies, vendors, and visitors.
An Empowered User approach means that no matter what question or request is made,
attention is given to the individual to resolve their situation. The employee being asked to help
may be able to provide the service or information himself or herself or may need to help connect
the customer to someone else who can provide the needed service or information. This
approach requires that the employee makes sure that the customer gets connected with the
appropriate person, service, and/or information.
Section Three reviews the progress on goals set for the evaluation period and identifies any
areas needing development. A rating of 1 or 2 on any behavioral standard or job performance
area is reflected here with a concrete plan for improvement including needed training or classes.
Any plan for development is also included in the goal section.
Section Four identifies the goals set for the next evaluation period. Individual goals are tied into
the unit and/or departmental goals, and the university goals, including the Enrollment
Section Five includes all needed signatures: the employee’s, the supervisor’s, and the person to
whom the supervisor reports. The employee may make any additional comments and sign
before the other signatures are obtained.
Instructions for Supervisory Competencies Form
For those who provide supervision to others, an additional form is completed and submitted.
The reviewer rates the supervisor on the following areas:
o Employee Development
o Valuing Diversity
o Team Building
o Empowered User Approach
Any competency rated a 1, 2 or 5 requires an explanation. Any competency rated 1 or 2
requires a plan for development.
The Performance Evaluation Meeting
The annual performance evaluation meeting allows the supervisor and employee to reflect and
review the employee’s accomplishments, achievement of goals, and areas of needed
development. It is a time to share each person’s perception of the employee’s work over the
past year and to discuss differences. It is also time to set goals for the next evaluation year or
After the meeting, the supervisor is to write the final evaluation document incorporating useful
information from the employee’s self-evaluation. Both the supervisor and employee must sign
the final document. A copy of the final document is given to the employee and the original copy
goes in the personnel file.
If an employee disagrees with the final document of the evaluation, he or she may indicate so by
attaching an explanation of differing opinion and any documents supporting that opinion.
Any job performance areas that were noted as a 1 or 2 on the annual evaluation must be
reviewed at mid-year. The performance evaluation form is to be completed. Designate the
mid-year review as “other” under type of evaluation on the form. If improvement has occurred,
this is noted. If improvement has not occurred, the plan is reviewed and appropriate steps
taken. The employee’s mid-year review is documented and placed in his or her departmental
For all employees, a mid-year review can be an important component of the evaluation process.
It helps us take the time to reflect on our work and performance. This is an informal process,
which should look at progress on goals, other accomplishments, as well as areas of concern.