Frequently Asked Questions for Employees

Goal setting provides an ideal forum for you to work collaboratively with your supervisor to ensure your work is aligned with your department’s mission and/or a specific project or program. During the initial Performance Planning meeting, you should work with your supervisor to identify meaningful goals. You should also develop an action plan and timetable and identify any training or development needs to successfully achieve your goal(s). This process helps to assure that you both are on the same page in regard to expectations, priorities and strategies.
SMART goals are the following:
  • Specific: well defined, clear and unambiguous
  • Measurable: define specific criteria for measuring progress toward accomplishing each goal
  • Achievable: require staff members to stretch, but are not impossible, to achieve
  • Relevant: related to the department’s mission and/or a specific project or program
  • Timely: clearly defined time frame or progress is tracked at regular intervals
The use of the SMART goal format is encouraged because it helps supervisors and staff members identify and define meaningful, measurable goals. It is also helpful if goals are related to the department’s mission and/or a specific project or program.
Managers are encouraged to share their goals as well as department goals with you. Aligning your goals with your department will help you understand why your position and your work performance are critical to the department’s success.
Yes, the mid-year review of goals is an opportunity to update, modify and/or eliminate goals you set based on any changing work needs and priorities. It is also an opportunity for your supervisor to offer you feedback on other areas of your work performance. You can use the mid-year review to discuss your roles and responsibilities and address any other work-related issues or concerns you have.
We encourage both parties to collaborate with one another to determine agreed-upon goals that are aligned with achieving the department or unit objectives. Conversations between the supervisor and employee should occur to determine the reasons for the gaps in communication and edits can be made to the goal, if appropriate. If there continues to be a high level of disagreement, please consult your unit’s HR representative or MSU HR.
Performance management is a shared responsibility. The Self-Review Worksheet is your opportunity to outline the accomplishments and contributions you made during the review period. It is also an opportunity to note any obstacles you encountered when pursuing your goals and/or fulfilling the responsibilities of your position. Your supervisor will review and consider your Self-Review Worksheet when completing your Annual Review. You and your supervisor can also use the information included to plan for the upcoming review period.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. The Annual Review requires planning and preparation. You should review the accomplishments, challenges and training needs/ development opportunities you included in your Self-Review Worksheet. You should note any accomplishments or challenges that you forgot to include and specific examples to illustrate your accomplishments and challenges. As with any important meeting or presentation, if you are prepared you are more likely to find it more meaningful and productive.
It’s important to first meet with your manager and ask for clarification. You should be provided with examples of the differences between expected and actual performance. It’s important to work with your manager on a development plan to improve your performance if needed. Note that there is space on the annual review form for you to add comments; you can write them in or attach an additional statement. You may also talk to your HR representative if you need additional support.
It is in your best interest to sign the review, even if you don’t agree with all of the content. Your signature simply acknowledges that you met with your manager and discussed your review. There is a place for employee comments on the Annual Review form as well.
There are several options available. All support staff who receive annual reviews are required to take the Performance Excellence Employee Training, which is online and accessed through elevateU. There are also a number of support tools on this site and other skill building programs available through elevateU and Professional Development Services. Go to the Training page and the Support Tools page for more details. Also, your HR unit representative may be able to provide additional suggestions or guidance.