Policies & Contracts

221 - Performance Planning and Feedback

Subject: Performance Planning and Feedback (formerly 309)

Section: U221

Date: February, 2015


To promote an open and constructive dialogue between leaders and employees regarding job requirements, job expectations, work environment, and opportunities for skill and career growth.


The University of Chicago relies on and expects its leaders (referred to as "supervisors" in this policy) at the unit level to promote and create work environments where ongoing discussions about work occur between staff employees and those who supervise them. These discussions may include: identification of expectations; assessment of progress; and opportunities for training and career development. Although each University unit has the flexibility to develop a performance planning and feedback process that best fits its unique environment, all processes should reflect certain principles as outlined below.

A performance planning and feedback process is responsive to the employee's need to know where he/she stands with respect to job requirements, and the need to know how and where to seek guidance on job skill and career development. The process can also serve as a basis for work group and unit planning.

Desired Outcomes of Performance Planning and Feedback Discussions

1. Mutual planning and/or goal setting between the supervisor and employee using the current job description as a basis for discussion.

2. Mutual understanding between the employee and supervisor concerning job expectations and performance requirements.

3. Clear communication between the supervisor and employee regarding job performance.

4. Improvement in job performance and job satisfaction.

5. Identification of opportunities for employee growth and development.


1. The planning and feedback process should use the current job description, individual goals, and unit goals as the basis for an ongoing conversation about job expectations and job performance.

2. Performance planning and feedback discussions should contain the following elements:

o timely and effective feedback - to enhance two-way communication regarding all aspects of job performance;

o goal and objective setting/future planning - to clarify job expectations and performance standards; and

o development - to plan, discuss, and implement professional development.

3. Results of the planning and feedback process may be used to aid supervisory decision-making with respect to (for example): promotion; transfer; training/counseling; compensation; disciplinary action; and workforce analysis.

4. Supervisors should continuously monitor the employee's progress toward established goals and objectives, and provide feedback as needed. The monitoring process should include identification of obstacles, giving feedback and advice, training support, and other assistance, as may be required to facilitate the employee's achievement of goals and objectives.

5. The planning and feedback process should be summarized formally on a planned, periodic basis at a minimum of one time per year. Written comments need not be limited to a specific form. However, the form or written format will be consistent with the purpose and principles outlined in this policy. At least one performance planning and feedback discussion should also be held prior to the end of a new employee's probationary period.

6. Formal performance planning/feedback must be based on lawful, job-related, non-discriminatory criteria and standards that reflect the unique requirements of each position. The focus must primarily be on observable, measurable behaviors and outcomes/results, rather than on personality characteristics.

7. Formal Performance Planning/Feedback documentation will have, as an integral part, a mechanism to incorporate the employee's perspective, including the offer of a dissenting opinion.

8. Supervisors are encouraged to attend training on performance planning and feedback.

9. The planning and feedback process will be conducted by the immediate supervisor. If the employee works for other supervisors, the immediate supervisor will consider feedback from those constituents.

10. A pay adjustment should be consistent with the results of the performance planning and feedback process.

11. Documentation of the planning and feedback process (usually the written performance review) will be signed by the employee and the supervisor. Units should keep a copy of the review and supervisors must provide a copy to the employee.

12. Any dispute arising from the performance planning and feedback process may be addressed using the Employee Complaint Resolution Procedure or more informally though discussions with the supervisor and, as needed other unit leaders.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.