Performance development system to be introduced
At the time of the year’s (2020) salary development, the management of the University pledged that the reform of the performance assessment system would serve as an opportunity to set up a new financial rewarding scheme in addition to the base salary of every employee. This year has turned out to be different from what we had planned. The interruption caused by the pandemic has delayed the introduction of the performance development system. The relevant decision, however, has now been taken owing to the members of the HR Committee, the heads of the institutes and organizational units. They supported the work with their suggestions made in the wake of studying numerous examples and with an eye on the former good practices of the University. The trade unions are also to be thanked for their contributions. In what follows we are going to outline the key principles and the actions to be taken. As for the details, the policy will cover all aspects of the system to be introduced as of 1 July.
Performance development will be introduced in two major areas. Whereas in the academic area the Senate and the Board of Trustees have adopted transitional rules for 2020, it the service area the final rules may already be implemented.
(Translations of further documents will be uploaded soon.)
The aim of performance development is to strengthen staff commitment, to encourage them to take an active role in the University’s renewal, to create a motivating environment in which everyone can offer the very best of their potential and is able to develop in accordance with their personal and professional ambitions. It is also crucial to clarify for each of us the area and the manner in which we can contribute to common success.
The results achieved together provide a guarantee for rewarding everyone on the basis of their performance. In order to start the process, the dialogue between the managers and the staff members should soon begin to define the targets that provide development orientation for both the organisation and the individual.
In the academic area the main targets are to be met in quality teaching, research and community service.
In the service and support area besides performing quality work, strengthening of customer orientation and perfecting processes and procedures, the University wishes to achieve the project targets. When appraising performance, we also rely largely on the good practices of competence assessment applied previously.
To help staff members meet the targets, the University provides personalised training and development. We therefore also expect managers and staff members to prepare a personalised training and development plan for each colleague when setting the targets.
The performance development process is implemented in yearly cycles: at the beginning of the year the manager and the staff member define the individual targets for the coming year. These will then be evaluated by them jointly the following January. It is of course important to maintain a conscious and permanent dialogue between the manager and the staff member during the year as well to confirm the proper directions, to identify obstacles and find the right solutions. During these discussions frankness, constructiveness and responsibility are of utmost importance as both parties are accountable for setting realistic, forward-looking targets and meeting them in the following phases:
Phase 1: setting annual targets – on the individual level
During this phase the staff member is required to consider the factors that influence, support or hinder success at their job on the basis of previous experience. He/she should overview the expectations related to the position and in the light of these, contemplate his/her strengths and the areas in which he/she still needs to improve. He/she should formulate motivating performance targets for him/herself that could at the same time promote the development of the organizational unit.
All this should then be talked over with the superior and agreed upon together with the individual training and development plan.
Phase 2: intra-year feedback – on the progress of meeting individual targets
During the year the achievement of the targets is worth reviewing with the manager at least once.
Phase 3: annual performance assessment: joint assessment by the manager and the staff member
As a first step of assessment, the staff member carries out a self-assessment, then reviews the annual performance with the manager. The manager’s duty is not only to direct, accept or challenge the staff member’s self-assessment, but also to harmonise his/her opinion of the staff members’ performance on the organizational level. The practice of consistent and unbiased assessment is ensured by the fact that the performance assessment of every single staff member is accompanied and approved by the supervising manager at the both the proposal stage and at the conclusion of the process. The same principle applies to appraising staff members with an outstanding performance as the policy stipulates that the approval of the appraisals as well as the financial reward to be paid shall be decided upon by the Presidential Committee.
Phase 4: managerial decisions about the individual bonus payments
Given the special nature of 2020, performance in the first half of the year may be recognized up to 50% of the bonus value. Whereas in the academic area this might be granted for performing surplus tasks linked to distance teaching, in the service area for carrying out increased tasks related to distance education, organisational changes and priority projects. In the second half of the year, the rate of the bonus pay will be decided upon by the manager on the basis of the target agreement, in accordance with the result of the performance appraisal, as set out in the relevant policy.
Documentation related to performance development
Target setting and performance appraisal may be traced in the related HR documentation. These are completed by the staff member and the direct manager, as approved by the person exercising employment rights. HR collects and keeps the documents in accordance with the requirements of the GDPR regulations.
The documentation of the performance development process is supported by IT through the accurate recording and follow-up of individual targets and their assessment as well as of individual development goals on the side of both the manager and the staff member.
In the target setting phase the form is filled in by the staff member in accordance with the goals and development directions defined jointly with the manager. The final version, harmonised with the organisation and university-level targets, is then agreed upon by the manager and the staff member. The manager forwards it to the firstname.lastname@example.org email address at HR.
At this step, the staff member also receives a copy (cc) and has two options: 1) to accept it, or 2) to initiate consultations prior to the finalisation of the targets and the development plan.
The set of individual documents constitutes a university-level database that facilitates the documentation of the performance development as well as the aggregation of training and development requests, the organisation of training programs.
In the year-end performance assessment phase both the manager and the staff member work in a shared document. First the staff member carries out self-assessment and sends it to the manager who in turn fills in the managerial assessment in the light of the previously defined targets. At the end of the year they agree on the final appraisal during the review meeting, print and sign the document. At the conclusion of the process, HR takes care of archiving the entire documentation.
Suggested deadline for setting the targets of staff members:
in the academic area: 4 September 2020
in the service area: 31 July 2020
We count on the cooperation on each of our Dear Colleagues. In order to assist you in applying the new practice, we are publishing a Q&A covering the most important aspects.
This year is a learning period for each of us. We intend to make use of all the lessons learned and if reasonable, to adjust the 2021 scheme accordingly.