Performance Management

Beginning June 18, 2018, staff annual performance reviews will be completed using the online [email protected] - Performance system and not the previous performance management paper forms. Training and resources to support you will be available starting in mid-June.

performance management online process

Resources for completing your review in Talent @GW:

Built-in resources

  • The below step-by-step guides, as well as brief videos, are available throughout the performance review sections in Talent @GW for reference as you complete the process.

Step-by-step guides

How-to videos

Office hours

  • In-person sessions that are open to all. We will be available to answer any questions and demo system processes in Talent @GW - Performance
Date Campus Location Time
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 VSTC Enterprise 311 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Foggy Bottom Marvin Center 301 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Foggy Bottom Marvin Center 301 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Key dates and timeframes

Managers and employees should meet throughout the year as well as at performance checkpoints not only for ongoing coaching and feedback but also to review goals and expectations. In addition, the annual performance review process enables employees and managers to discuss performance, clarify expectations, and agree on priorities and development opportunities for the upcoming year.

Most areas of the university fall into two performance year cycles:

  • July 1 – June 30 (Fiscal) or
  • September 1 – August 31 (Fall)

Contact your HR representative to determine your cycle.

Who to contact with questions

Please contact the HR representative for your division or school with any questions related to the Performance Management process or the Introductory Employment Period (IEP). Your HR representative can provide guidance, timelines, and collect any paperwork related to the IEP. 


The Introductory Employment Period (IEP) is the first 6 months of employment following your hire, transfer, or promotion into a GW benefited staff position (including research staff). During this period, your performance will be evaluated and your manager will conduct an Introductory Performance Review (DOC) prior to your 6th month in your new position. Follow the guidance below to optimize your performance during your IEP.

Performance Management during the Introductory Employment Period

First 30 days

  • Carefully review your job description with your manager to clarify roles and responsibilities. Discuss what your priorities will be during the IEP.
  • Engage your manager in regular communication to clarify the performance expectations of your position. Use the Clarifying Expectations tool (DOC) to align expectations.
  • Review GW’s key performance factors to understand the competencies critical to your success.
  • Follow the guidance in the “Learn” section of the “Preparing for Your First Day” and “In Your First 30 Days” webpages.

First 90 days

  • Schedule an informal discussion with your manager around day 90 (halfway through the Introductory Employment Period) to discuss your progress toward meeting performance expectations.

First 6 months

  • Continue to engage your manager in regular communication about your performance as well as their expectations. Solicit coaching, feedback, and recognition to establish a culture of continuous development.
  • At the end of the 6-month period, your manager will complete an Introductory Performance Review and discuss your performance with you. Prior to the discussion your manager may ask you to complete a self-assessment as part of the review. After meeting with you, your manager will formally communicate whether or not you have successfully completed the introductory employment period.

After successful completion of the IEP

  • Initiate the annual performance management process by collaborating with your manager to determine your goals and development for the upcoming performance cycle.

If you need additional guidance, please contact your HR representative or Workplace Learning & Development at [email protected].

Ongoing coaching is at the core of determining and maintaining successful performance. Use the following strategies to facilitate a culture of continuous development:

  • Partner with your manager and/or staff to clarify and manage expectations, in addition to communicating what tasks must get done.
  • Set appropriate goals and manage them throughout the year using performance checkpoints.
  • Provide and solicit feedback on a regular basis. Commit to taking action on feedback you receive.
  • Recognize individual and team successes. Take advantage of opportunities to provide both formal and informal recognition using the recognition toolkit.

Who is responsible for coaching?

Everyone. Make sure you are giving and receiving the coaching needed for you and for others to be successful at GW.

Setting goals and priorities at the beginning of each performance cycle builds the foundation for successful performance. It is a collaborative process between you and your manager. You initiate the process by drafting goals for your manager for review. Ideally, your goals connect in some way to the Strategic Plan, GW's Strategic Initiatives, your school or division’s goals, and/or your department or team priorities.

Working through this process helps you clarify what is most important and positions you for an objective review at the end of your cycle.


Draft goals related to your top priorities such as new initiatives, projects for the coming year, or aspects of your job description where you will enhance your performance. Goals can target specific service expectations (e.g. returning all customer phone calls within a specified time period) and/or processes that you can improve (e.g. taking responsibility for monthly reporting requirements using newly acquired Excel skills).

Your goals should be SMART
Specific Be specific in the goal description so the deliverable is clear. Avoid generalizing. Use action verbs as much as possible.
Measurable Identify how success will be measured. Common measures include quantity, quality, timeliness, accuracy, etc.

Questions to ask to determine if a goal is attainable:

  • Can I influence the outcome?
  • Are there contingencies outside my control that need to be considered? If yes, what is the strategy to deal with those?
  • Do I have the resources and the time to complete this goal in the context of my other goals and work priorities?
Relevant Goals should be linked to the higher-level team, department, Division/School goals, and/or the GW Strategic Plan and Strategic Initiatives. This provides context and ensures that goals and actions contribute to the bigger picture.
Time-bound Each goal needs to have due dates. For more complex deliverables, set milestones. Milestones are particularly effective when they are measurable.


How many goals should each person set?

We suggest no more than five active goals. The exact number should be linked to the number of key priorities that need to be accomplished during the performance period. This does not mean there will not be other important work to accomplish during the year, but the goals outlined and maintained in Talent @GW - Performance need to represent your overall top priorities.

Differentiate goals, job responsibilities, and professional development

Job responsibilities and goals

Job responsibilities are the established, recurring duties and job requirements for your position. Goals are set annually and describe your top priorities, such as new initiatives and projects for the coming year. Goals may also be related to enhancing your performance in key areas of your job.

Common types of goals are:

  • To increase something (satisfaction, retention, effectiveness)
  • To make something (documents, reports, presentations)
  • To improve something (processes, results, relationships)
  • To reduce something (risk, expenses, waste)
  • To save something (time, money, space, energy)

Goals and professional development

Your goals are work-related priorities. They define what must get done. Your Professional Development Plan (PDP) includes your developmental priorities and how you will grow within your job.

  • If the feedback is related to what will be done over the next year, it should be noted in your goals.
  • If the feedback is regarding how you need to do your job, the actions related to this feedback should be recorded in the PDP.
  • For example, learning something new provides for how the work gets done, so it would be included in a PDP. Taking a class or maintaining a certification falls in this category. The application of a new skill to achieve an end result, however, describes what work is being done, and it should therefore be included as a goal.


  • "Take an Excel class to learn advanced skills." This would be included in a PDP because the objective is to develop a new skill but not to apply it to a specific task. The outcome is not measurable.
  • “Develop and implement a new format for monthly reporting by March 30." This could be included as a goal because the outcome is specific and measurable. If the employee needs to learn advanced Excel skills to accomplish this goal, learning those Excel skills should appear in their PDP.

Manage your goals

Review your goals and development throughout the year. It is a living document because your priorities may change.

To update your goals, document what you think needs to change and have a discussion with your manager. Ensure that you and your manager are aligned on changes and that you both agree to any modifications.

Use performance checkpoint discussions with your manager as a means to manage your goals. These discussions should summarize accomplishments to date, identify any goals that were added, eliminated, or changed, review priorities, and clarify performance expectations going forward.

The Professional Development Plan (PDP) is your guide for job and career growth at GW. You collaborate with your supervisor to create and manage your PDP in [email protected] - Performance.

Tips for providing input to your PDP

  • Describe what you need for your professional development in the next performance period. Highlight areas where you want to improve and strengths that you want to build on.
  • Tie learning opportunities to goal completion for the upcoming year to support your suggestions.
  • Be sure to focus on what you need to perform your job effectively, but don’t forget to think about your career development.
  • Remember less is more. Make sure you development goals are achievable. 

The most important part of this is execution. You benefit most from implementing your PDP. It’s your guide for job growth and a career path. Use performance checkpoints to hold yourself accountable for progress and share successes and to obtain your managers feedback and support for your development.

Your self assessment is an important source of input that you provide to the annual performance review. You will craft your self assessment in [email protected] - Performance.

Completing your self assessment gives you the opportunity to advocate for your performance and actively participate in the review process by:

  • Giving you time to reflect on your accomplishments, strengths, challenges, and opportunities for growth and development
  • Allowing you to comment on your performance within the Key Performance Factor areas that are relevant to your position and development
  • Increasing your self-knowledge and preparing you to have an effective performance discussion with your manager
  • Enabling you to formally capture a snapshot of your performance, clarify expectations, and agree on priorities for the upcoming year.

Getting Started in [email protected] - Performance (PDF)

Completing Your Self Assessment in [email protected] - Performance (PDF)

Your annual review is an opportunity for you to receive recognition for and feedback on the work you have done over the past performance cycle. It enables you to formally capture a snapshot of your performance, clarify expectations, and agree on priorities for the upcoming year.  It is an excellent opportunity for both you and your manager to have an open and productive conversation solely focused on your career at GW. The steps in the Annual Performance Review process in [email protected]  are as follows:

Step 1 - Employee completes self assessment 

You will comment on goal progress and significant accomplishments, relevant Key Performance Factors and professional development (PDF) and then submit your comments to your manager (PDF).

  • Tips
    • Be succinct. Remember that you will have a follow up conversation with your manager where you can give details of your goal progress and development.
    • Choose the two or three Key Performance Factors that are most relevant to your role or in which you have had major accomplishments (e.g. a commendation for outstanding customer service).
    • Remember to list any professional development you completed in the past year (e.g. taking an online course or attending a conference).
    • Consider writing your assessment in a Word or Google document and then copying and pasting it into the online form.

Step 2 – Manager review

Managers will provide comments to the employee regarding their goal progress, significant accomplishments and development. Managers will also comment on and rate team members’ performance on all GW Key Performance Factors. Finally, managers will provide an overall rating and supporting statement for the employee review. Once complete, the manager will submit the review to the Next Level Approver.

  • Tips
    • Be succinct and make sure that comments relate to previously discussed performance expectations.
    • Recognize employees for any development, progress, and accomplishments they have made in the past performance year.
    • Areas for future development can be determined outside the review using the Professional Development Plan in [email protected] - Performance.

Step 3 – Next Level Approver Review

Next Level Approvers will review entire evaluation for accuracy and consistency. Then they will either provide an electronic signature to indicate approval, or will send the review back to the manager for changes.

  • Tips
    • Next Level Approvers do not enter any comments in the system. Their role is to ensure that manager reviews are complete and consistent across manager teams.

Step 4 – Manager schedules review discussion with employee

Your manager will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your review. Once the meeting is scheduled, you will be able to see your review in the system.

  • Tips
    • Both manager and employee should make adequate time for the review conversation.
    • Both parties should bring any relevant information not already included in the system such as commendations, recognition, etc.
    • Both parties should regard the meeting as an opportunity to confirm expectations, discuss development and recognize progress and accomplishments.

Step 5 - Employee Review and Sign Off 

  • You will read the review, meet with your manager to discuss, and provide electronic signature.

Step 6 - Manager Sign Off 

  • Your manager will also provide electronic signature after the review has been discussed with you.


Once all parties’ electronic signatures have been provided, the review process is complete.

Next level approval

For quality assurance, managers submit completed performance reviews to their Next Level Approver for review and signoff prior to performance review discussions with employees. The Next Level Approver ensures accurate and consistent assessment of employee performance for their area of responsibility. Next Level Approvers should use the Next Level Approver checklist (DOC) to assist in reviewing performance reviews.

Managing your performance is a continuous and collaborative process. You and your manager should discuss your performance on a regular basis, not just during the annual review process.

To learn more about performance checkpoints and why they are so important to successful performance management, watch this performance checkpoint overview webinar.

Checkpoint discussions are important because priorities, initiatives, and personnel can change. Regular "check-ins" are critical to your success and provide your manager an opportunity to recognize your contributions. Schedule formal checkpoint discussions throughout the performance cycle.

During these checkpoints:

Ensure that you and your manager are aligned on changes and that you both sign off on edits.

Successful discussions about performance are thoughtfully planned, highly interactive, and focus on the future in a way that motivates. Managers should schedule these discussions when performance reviews are complete and signed by Next Level Approvers. After discussions, managers should submit signed reviews to their HR representative.

The annual performance review discussion must include a focus on the year ahead. In fact, we recommend that 65-75% of the time be allocated to looking to the future, discussing goals for the next period, expectations for critical performance factors, and professional development plans.

To make the most of the performance review discussion, you need to prepare. Employees should use the employee checklist (PDF) and managers should use this reviewer checklist (PDF) to help prepare for this important discussion.

Helpful tools for discussions