Supervisor Guide to the Performance Planning Discussion

Conducting a Performance Planning Discussion is a foundational part of the Performance Excellence process and a key to building a high performance workplace. It helps to assure that goals and development opportunities are planned for and agreed upon from the beginning and that expectations and priorities are clear and purposeful.

Planning for this discussion will help you and your team achieve greater clarity about the business needs of the unit and identify responsibilities of each member in meeting those needs. Each person should understand how their role fits into the organization and this conversation will provide opportunity to work on this together

Tips for preparing for the meeting:

  • Set a time and place for the meeting and host the meeting in a comfortable, private location.
  • Collect information about the employee including previous year’s goals and results.
  • Review the key business objectives you and your team are responsible for and consider the role that each team member plays in meeting them. Consider current demands and what is likely to be needed in the foreseeable future. Consider possible goals related to these priorities.
  • What related development needs exist? What type of professional development opportunities would be most appropriate (training, peer education, job shadowing, coaching, etc.)?
  • Review the employee’s internal position description and update as needed with their input.
  • Ask the employee to think about possible goals and development items to discuss at the meeting.

Tips for conducting the meeting:

  • Discuss business needs. What are the upcoming goals and priorities of the unit? What needs to happen to better align with university initiatives and/or core values?
  • Ask the employee what aspects of their work they most enjoy and might want to expand upon. Consider related goals and/or development plans that incorporate their interests.
  • Discuss possible goals to help assure that unit priorities are met.
  • Set 2-4 SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).
  • Discuss learning opportunities to address skill gaps and employee interests. Document 2-4 learning opportunities that will occur during the year. Include specifics and timeframes.
  • Share what you are able to do to help the employee succeed at their goals and what you expect of them.

End the conversation on a positive note. Remember, you achieve your work through the work of your employees and this collaborative planning will yield benefits for you, the employee and MSU.