Conducting the Annual Performance Review Meeting

Tips to help conduct successful Annual Review meetings with your employees:

  • Consider asking the employee to complete the optional Self Review Worksheet to inform the review discussion. 
  • This step is finalized by completing the Annual Performance Review Form . This form must be completed, signed by you and the employee, and then sent to MSU HR by the due date.
  • Use the Annual Performance Review Form Instructions page to guide you.
  • Hold the meeting in a confidential space, preferably not at your desk.
  • Welcome the employee; put the employee at ease.
  • Invite employees to share their perception of how the past year has been.
  • Listen and take notes.
  • Maintain good eye contact and attentive posture.
  • Reflect back to the employee your understanding of what the employee said.
  • Don't interrupt, but ask questions for clarification.
  • Be objective – avoid personal bias and feelings of favoritism.
  • You can encourage conversation by asking questions such as:
    • What are you the most proud of?
    • What are some of the obstacles you have faced?
    • How has it been for you to be a part of this team?
    • What do you like most/least about your job?
    • How can I support you more effectively?
  • Compare the specific performance results and behaviors to the objectives. Stay away from an attitude or personality focus.
  • There should be no surprises for the employee regarding their performance since you should have provided feedback throughout the year.
  • Consider performance in all areas. Do not assume that excellence in one area implies excellence in all areas or that poor performance in one area implies poor performance in all areas.
  • Ask the employee for ideas about how to resolve problems.
  • Emphasize strengths, as well as areas that need improvement.
  • Be honest and be prepared to discuss any items on the review.
  • Support the employee's effort to improve.
  • Summarize the session and end on a positive note.
Closing and follow-up

Both you and the employee should sign the Annual Performance Review Form . Signing the review does not mean the employee agrees with the review; it means that the review has been shared with the employee. The employee can provide a written response, which is optional. Provide the employee with a copy, and keep one for your records. Consult your unit/college HR representative on the protocol for sending the signed document to MSU Human Resources.

Once the Annual Review is completed a new cycle begins. A Performance Planning meeting for the coming year needs to occur within 30 days of the Annual Performance Review due date. Planning meetings that occur outside of this time frame will appear as completed late in any related reporting.

Annual Review Dates and Timeliness
  • It is important the reviews and planning meetings are completed on time. If a review is received 10 or more months past the scheduled Annual Review date, it will be counted toward the next year and the previous will be considered incomplete. You can complete the review early, as long as it is not more than 2 months prior to the due date.
  • Employees will be provided a new Annual Review date whenever a situation arises that causes a change in responsibilities or expectations, this includes a new position within the same unit.
  • Review date changes can be requested for special circumstances, such as a leave of absence for the employee or supervisor, a new supervisor who needs more time to assess, or a clear business need to change the timing. Probationary employees need to complete their probation before a unit can change their review date.
Performance Improvement Plans

If an employee receives a Does Not Meet Expectations on their annual review, it is required that a Performance Improvement Plan  (PIP) be completed, signed and submitted to HR along with the Annual Review. The review period for the PIP lasts 90 days, with required feedback at 30 and 60 days. Supervisors should contact their unit HR representatives and/or Employee Relations as needed for assistance with PIP goal setting. Once the PIP timeframe is complete, the supervisor and employee then resume the cycle and complete the Performance Planning meeting in looking at the remainder of the year ahead.