Performance Management

GW staff will now complete annual performance reviews using the online [email protected] - Performance system and not the previous performance management paper forms. Training and resources to support you are available below. (Pilot participants: see training and resources specific to the pilot.)

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 you to 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
Thursday, September 6, 2018 Foggy Bottom Marvin Center 401 2:15 PM - 3:15 PM
Friday, September 7, 2018 VSTC Research 160-A 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Thursday, September 13, 2018 Foggy Bottom Marvin Center 307 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Monday, September 17, 2018 Foggy Bottom Marvin Center 307 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Monday, September 24, 2018 VSTC Research 160-A 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 Foggy Bottom Marvin Center 311 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 Foggy Bottom Marvin Center 307 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Changes to the Performance Management process

  • Performance Management will be completed online in Talent @GW - Performance.

  • The annual performance review will be replaced with two streamlined check-ins in January and July between you and your manager. At the final check-in of each annual cycle, you will receive an overall rating and comments on your performance. You can read more about these check-ins below.

  • All areas of the university will move to the same performance management cycle, which will run from July 1 - June 30.

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.


Managing your performance is a continuous and collaborative process. You and your manager should discuss your performance regularly, not just at the conclusion of the performance period.

Employees will have two check-ins with their managers during the performance period:

  1. A midpoint check-in to discuss progress and make adjustments
  2. A final check-in to provide a final review and performance rating for the employee

Check-in discussions are important because they encourage ongoing communication between employee and manager about employee performance and development. Regular check-ins provide you with a way to clarify what is expected of you and where to focus your efforts. They also give your manager an opportunity to provide coaching and recognize your contributions. Managers will be automatically prompted by Talent @GW - Performance to schedule check-in discussions twice during the performance cycle.

Overview of the Performance Cycle

January: Midpoint check-in

  • You will be prompted to update your goal progress in Talent @GW - Performance
  • Your manager will provide feedback on your goal progress and answer two questions about your performance:
    1. What is the employee doing well that they should continue to do?
    2. What can the employee change or start doing that would make them more effective?
  • You and your manager will meet to discuss your review and sign off on the midpoint check-in.

July: Final check-in and goal setting

Final check-in

  • You will be prompted to update your goal progress in Talent @GW - Performance.
  • Your manager will provide feedback on your goal progress and answer two questions about your performance:
    1. What is the employee doing well that they should continue to do?
    2. What can the employee change or start doing that would make them more effective?
  • Your manager will provide a performance rating for your work over the course of the performance year
  • The check-in will be submitted to your manager’s manager, known as your “Next Level Approver.” 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.
  • You and your manager will meet to discuss your check-in and rating, and will sign off.

Set goals

  • Work with your manager to set goals in Talent @GW based on your school or division’s priorities.
  • Once you submit goals in Talent @GW, your manager will be prompted to approve them.
  • Goals can be edited, added, and/or cancelled at any point in Talent @GW. Any change will prompt manager approval.
  • See the "Goal Setting" tab on this page for in-depth help with setting your goals.

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 in Talent @GW - Performance 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 the review cycle.

Tools for Setting Goals in Talent @GW

How-to guides

For employees:

For managers:

How-to videos

For employees:

For managers:

Setting SMART goals

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


Be specific in the goal description so the deliverable is clear. Avoid generalizing. Use action verbs as much as possible.


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?


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.


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 @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, as you or your team’s 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.

The midpoint check-in can be used to manage and update your goals. In addition, you can schedule an informal goal checkpoint to review and discuss changes to 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 Introductory Employment Period (IEP) is the first six 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 sixth 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

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 six 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].