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Performance Reviews

Performance Management

At Smith College, performance management is designed to assess employee performance while aligning individual goals with the college's overall objectives and core competencies. The ultimate aim of performance management is:

  • Set clear and achievable goals for employees
  • Provide regular check-ins and feedback on performance
  • Identify areas for improvement and development
  • Align individual performance with organizational goals
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration between employees and managers
  • Support employee growth and career advancement
  • Evaluate overall performance and contribute to continuous improvement

Smith’s Core Competencies

Smith’s core competencies encompass a range of knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors that enable employees to perform their work effectively and efficiently. These competencies are vital in ensuring the overall success and productivity of the workforce.

Service Excellence

Present a positive and helpful attitude to all internal and external customers. Address needs and concerns in a timely and accurate manner. Deliver on service commitments, meet established or agreed upon deadlines, and maintain supportive relationships with customers.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Express thoughts in a clear and concise manner both written and verbally. Build and maintain productive work relationships. Collaborate to achieve common goals, and listen and communicate in a way that respects and supports others. Understand the impact of your behavior and actions on individuals and groups.

Professional Conduct

Uphold college policies and procedures. Be respectful and honest, and demonstrate appropriate discretion when dealing with confidential information. Admit mistakes and take accountability for actions. Project a positive and professional image.

Problem Solving and Decision Making

Make sound decisions and solve problems involving varied levels of complexity and ambiguity. Understand the impact of decisions on customers.

Technical Skills

Use technology or tools effectively to complete tasks. Stay current with technical upgrades to improve work processes and tasks.

Cultural Competency

Interact effectively with people of different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Understand the impact of your behavior and actions on individuals and groups.

Leadership Core Competencies

For those who manage others.

Leading Self

Set a positive example, and be honest, trustworthy, courteous, and approachable.

Leading Others

Inspire commitment, encourage and support collaboration and teamwork, provide feedback and positive reinforcement to employees, offer developmental opportunities, and promote a bias-free work environment.

Leading Results

 Help others achieve success, offer direction, drive organizational change, provide vision, and promote and ensure alignment with the college’s mission.

Annual Performance Review Cycle

Below is the information that you need to begin the planning and review process.

The current Annual Performance Review Cycle will cover the period April 1 to March 31.

Goal Setting

July through September

Mid–Cycle Check–in 

November through January

Performance Review

April through May

Merit Pay Communication


Goal Setting

The purpose of the Goal Setting process is to align work scope for the coming year, to ensure that the staff member and their manager are expecting the same outputs for the coming year, and to confirm that these expected outputs match the needs of the department as well as the College’s mission, vision and strategy. 

Goals may be driven by the department head or manager, or may be driven by the employee based on what they feel their priorities are. We suggest as a best practice that managers review job descriptions with employees during the Goal Setting conversation and make any changes needed to confirm that the job description reflects what the staff member is and should be working on during the year.

All goals should be SMART goals.

  • Specific: Goals should be well-defined and specific, leaving no room for ambiguity. They answer the questions of what needs to be accomplished and why. 
  • Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable, allowing progress to be tracked and measured objectively. 
  • Achievable: Goals should be realistic and attainable within the given resources and constraints
  • Relevant: Goals should be relevant to the context and align with the broader objectives of the individual, team, or the college 
  • Time-Bound: Goals should have a specific timeframe or deadline for completion. This adds a sense of urgency, helps with prioritization, and creates a clear endpoint for evaluation

Goal Setting Resources

Goal Setting Worksheet (Google Drive)
Example of SMART Goal

Mid-Year Check-In

Managers and staff members are encouraged to meet regularly to  provide continuous feedback and check in on progress towards goals and maintain a strong partnership around goal completion. During the November – January period (corresponding with the end of the Fall semester) this meeting should be formalized as a more official check in around this progress. 

During a mid-year check-in, the employee and manager may discuss:

  • Progress Toward Goals: Reviewing the goals and objectives set at the beginning of the performance cycle to assess how much progress has been made and whether any adjustments are needed.
  • Performance Feedback: Providing constructive feedback on the employee's performance, highlighting strengths and identifying areas that may require improvement.
  • Challenges and Support: Addressing any challenges or obstacles the employee has encountered and discussing how to  provide support or resources to help overcome them.
  • Development and Training: Identifying opportunities for the employee's skill enhancement and career development, which might involve suggesting training, workshops, or projects.
  • Alignment and Expectations: Ensuring that the employee's work is aligned with the College's goals and values, and clarifying any expectations that need further clarity.
  • Goal Revisions: If circumstances have changed since the goal setting phase, discuss whether goals need to be revised or updated to remain relevant.
  • Recognition: Acknowledging the employee's achievements and contributions during the first half of the performance cycle.

Mid-Cycle Resources

Mid-Year Check-In Form

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are conducted annually in May/June to correspond with the end of the Academic Year. This will be a formal meeting between a manager or department head and a staff member to review how successfully goals were set during the prior year. The annual review is an opportunity to have an open and honest dialogue about your performance over the past year and to document achievements and development areas. 

Documented performance reviews are a significant part of your employment record which influences recommendations for salary increases, promotions, transfers, and/or terminations. Merit increases and any other salary changes should be supported by documentation via the performance review.

While performance reviews are not subject to the grievance process, staff members are encouraged to include their own comments in the appropriate section on the performance review form or attach an additional memo.

Performance Review Resources

Smith College Annual Performance Evaluation Form
Smith College Annual Performance Evaluation Form (Union Staff Only)
Self-Assessment Template

Video Link

Employee Development

In addition to setting and working towards job-related performance goals, Smith staff members are encouraged to set a goal or goals related to their professional development. Managers will partner with staff members to identify areas of opportunity and support them in their growth through this process.

Online Training

Performance Review Fundamentals by Todd Dewett

Smith faculty and staff are able to view the entire training by logging into the Smith portal and accessing LinkedIn Learning.