Performance Development


The Performance Development component of the Valuing Work at Wellesley program encourages and promotes ongoing communication between employees and their supervisors about their work throughout the year. It includes planning and goal setting, ongoing reviews, and summary discussions. The annual assessment serves as an opportunity for an extensive assessment of overall performance, an opportunity to recognize achievements, identify obstacles, and discuss ways to increase the effectiveness of our work together. Performance Development at Wellesley College is designed to provide alignment between the College’s mission, constituent needs, and performance expectations.

Purposes of Performance Development

Performance Development Document

Performance Development Tools

The Link to Pay

Employee Recognition


Purposes of Performance Development

Effective performance development helps each individual and group contribute meaningfully to Wellesley’s success and be recognized for that contribution by:

  • Fostering ongoing two-way communication between employees and managers
  • Supporting the development of clear, consistent, and measurable goals linked directly to Wellesley’s core values and competencies
  • Helping to articulate and support training needs and career development
  • Establishing criteria for making reward and recognition decisions


Performance Development Document

The Performance Development document consists of three documents that provide a format for recording and submission of performance management information for an individual throughout the year.

Stage I: Goal Setting and Performance Planning

During this initial stage of the Performance Development cycle, the manager and employee work together to develop goals and objectives for the performance period utilizing the employee's responsibilities and competencies as outlined in the role document. Divisional and/or departmental goals will guide this process as well. Goals must include expected results and outline a feedback plan so performance assessment can be most effective. The manager is responsible for approving the final version of the goals and reviewing the skills and competencies required to achieve those goals.

Stage II: Interim Goal Review

In order to encourage managers and employees to talk together about performance and progress on a regular basis, an interim review has been built into the Performance Management process. While this review/update can actually take place anytime during the performance period, it ensures that goals and performance are reviewed more often than annually.

Stage III: Performance Review and Assessment

A summary of the employee's progress and growth during the year and a review of goal achievement bring closure to the performance period. This documentation and conversation guides the Performance Planning stage for the following year.



Performance Development Tools

Human Resources provides several tools for employees and supervisors to utilize when completing the performance assessment process. Human Resources is also available to provide coaching to assist either employees or supervisors with this process.

Performance Development Document – provides a format for recording and submission of performance management information for an individual. It encompasses performance planning, objectives, expected results, competency assessment, ongoing manager-employee updates, and performance review/assessment. This completed document is the result of ongoing interactions between an employee and supervisor in the course of a given year.

Performance Appraisal Guide – instructions for completion of the Performance Management Document. It provides examples and detail to guide the process.

Guidelines for Effective Performance Development – provides tips and techniques for preparing and holding performance development discussions as well as giving effective feedback.

Guidelines for Setting Goals and Objectives – provides tips and techniques for setting goals and objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions About Performance Development – answers about performance development at Wellesley.


Link to Pay

The ongoing Performance Development process is the basis for decisions made by managers about salary increases. Annual opportunity for salary increases will be based on performance. Salary increases will occur using a common salary increase date of July 1.

The individual salary increase percentage is determined based on individual performance and is set within the constraints of the budgeted salary pool. Supervisors, managers, and department chairs recommend percentage salary increases to the division head based on the performance of the individual in the position. The final approval for the increase is by the head of the division who considers performance on a division-wide basis.


Employee Recognition

Everyone wants to be acknowledged for a job done well. Employee recognition is used by managers and supervisors to recognize the positive actions and behaviors of the employees reporting to them.

General Guidelines for Employee Recognition for Managers/Supervisors

Recognition works when it is meaningful and memorable. Immediate feedback that is specific as to what was accomplished or done right is highly valued. Crucial elements include thanks, praise, and respect.

Reasons to Recognize:

  • For good work
  • For always being willing to help
  • A creative idea
  • For consistent quality
  • For going above and beyond what is asked
  • Meeting a goal
  • Finishing a project
  • Cost conscious behavior
  • Solving a problem
  • Perseverance
  • Overcoming obstacles to completing the work
  • For managing time appropriately
  • For motivating and inspiring others
  • For accepting responsibility
  • Employees who recognize other employees
  • Service to the College (service on committees)
  • Being a team player


Know Your Audience

When Human Resources held employee focus groups on rewards, the top three rewards desired by Wellesley College employees were bonuses, merit increases and verbal praise from manager/supervisor. Trinkets, certificates of appreciation, mugs, etc. were not valued by Wellesley employees. Take the time to know your employees and their interests. An extroverted employee might enjoy an announcement of a job well done at a division-wide staff meeting while a shy employee might be embarrassed. You would not want to give an employee who was allergic to flowers a floral tribute. While one employee might enjoy a candy bar, another employee who is on a diet might not.

Examples of Employee Recognition:

    No Cost
  • Send a handwritten thank you note.
  • Send an e-mail.
  • Leave a voice mail for someone complimenting them on their hard work.
  • Send an appropriate cartoon or message to someone who is working on a stressful project.
  • Comment positively about how work was performed.
  • Call someone into your office to thank them for doing a good job – focus only on this and do not discuss other business.
  • Volunteer to help with a particular task even if only for a short time. This is great at building a team.
  • Ask your manager or division head to call one of your employees and thank him/her for doing a good job.
  • Ask the employee for advice and suggestions.
  • Give public credit for ideas.
  • Acknowledge someone’s achievement at a staff meeting.
  • Go for a walk with your employee and talk about their work.
  • Give someone a little extra time off.
  • Allow flexibility in the work schedule.
  • Even negative feedback can be positive if framed as an opportunity for further career growth and development.
    Low Cost
  • Buy someone a coffee or soda.
  • Buy someone a candy bar.
  • Buy someone an ice cream cone.
  • Buy lunch.
  • Have lunch or coffee with your employee and take an interest in their work. (You do not have to buy them lunch!)
  • If your department holds an annual retreat, acknowledge specific contributions, take pictures and give everyone a copy as a memento.
  • Send a plant or small bouquet of flowers.
  • Send a fruit or goodie basket.
  • Take a picture of the employee working on a project and give it to them with a note of thanks.
  • Give a subscription to a professional magazine or periodical.
  • Give a gift certificate.
  • Host a pizza party for a team that has accomplished a particular project.
  • Have a team celebration – remember to tie it in to the specific accomplishments being celebrated.


  • Allow the employee to attend a relevant conference.
  • Pay for membership in a professional association.

Cautions - Be careful about the following:

  • Something given to all employees in your group, regardless of contribution or effort, is a perk, not recognition.
  • Failure to be specific about what is praiseworthy.
  • Insincerity or false praise.
  • Timeliness - Recognition should take place close to when the behavior happens not two months later. Don’t wait for the annual performance appraisal.
  • Recognition needs to be work specific. Celebrating birthdays is not an acknowledgment of work performance.



HR values and respects confidentiality.