Performance Appraisal Guide


Wellesley College is committed to the practice of meaningful, timely and productive performance development for all of its employees. Thank you for supporting that commitment! This Performance Development Guide and the Performance Development Document (Stage I, Stage II & Stage III) are the tools of performance development Wellesley College. Effective Performance Development will increase the effectiveness of our individual and collective efforts.

Documentation Requirements for Performance Development

The 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. The completed document is the result of ongoing interactions between an employee and supervisor in the course of a given year.

The Performance Development Document consists of three documents: Stage I – Goal Setting and Performance Planning, Stage II – Interim Goal Review/Update, and Stage III – Performance Review and Assessment. These documents are provided on-line to staff in a simple template that can be accessed by both manager and employee. The Performance Management Document must be completed and signed once during each 12-month period. Performance Development Documents need to be submitted to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s personnel file.

The performance development form is a tool to support the performance development process. If a different format works for you and your department and the format is consistent with this process, it is certainly acceptable. What needs to be incorporated is performance planning and goal setting. The performance planning needs to be in the context of the employee’s role document focusing on the performance profile and required competencies.


Tools to Use in the Performance Management Process

Divisional Goals and Operational Plans

Goals and operational plans include any work that has been undertaken with respect to goals, objectives, and process for the department or division, which is critical to review with managers and employees alike. Translating these macro plans into terms that are meaningful in individual performance management provides a strong sense of connection and contribution for employees and increases the likelihood of overall success.

Role Document

A role document has been completed for each distinct administrative role at Wellesley. In addition to describing the skills and competencies required for the role, the document describes general performance factors.

Performance Development Documents

The Performance Development Document consists of three documents: Stage I – Goal Setting and Performance Planning, Stage II – Interim Goal Review/Update, and Stage III – Performance Review and Assessment. These documents are provided on-line to staff in a simple template that can be accessed by both manager and employee.

Prior Goals for Employee

The expectation of performance development at Wellesley is that the process will be ongoing, interactive and cyclical for the manager and employee. Should an employee change managers, the last performance development cycle’s materials may prove helpful in assessing results.

Guidelines for Setting Goals and Objectives

Guidelines for developing reasonable, specific goals will assist employees and managers alike in performance planning and articulation of expected results.

Guidelines for Effective Performance Management

Guidelines for effective performance management communication will assist employees and managers alike in participating in performance development discussions and meetings.


The Performance Management Process

Stage I: Goal Setting and Performance Planning

As the annual performance development cycle begins, manager and employee plan for what will be accomplished during the performance period. This stage includes an assessment of the employee vis-à-vis the competencies critical to the performance of her/his role as outlined in her/his role document, as well as an articulation of specific goals and results to be accomplished. These individual goals and areas to work on should serve as a point of reference for ongoing discussions throughout the year.

Before meeting to begin the performance management process, employee and manager alike need to do some homework. The manager will share with the employee the departmental goals for the year. Both the manager and the employee should review the role document reviewing the performance profile, the performance measures that determine successful performance, and the competencies critical to the performance of this role. Identifying individual goals and areas to work on in the year ahead will help prepare both parties for a meaningful initial discussion.

Using the Guidelines for Setting Goals and Objectives and Divisional Goals and Operational Plans (if any are available), the manager should identify one to three major goals and areas to work on in the year ahead. These goals should be discussed and refined at the initial performance planning meeting.

The Valuing Work @ Wellesley classification program is based on a set of nine factors, or areas of competency, that are seen as being important (in varying degrees) to all types of work at the College. These competencies are Service to Others (Individuals/Groups); Expertise (Knowledge, Skill, Educational and Experience Requirements); Leadership; Accountability/Responsibility; Collaboration; Communication; Problem Solving and Innovation,; Development of Self and Others; and Affirming and Enabling Diversity. Each role has specific competency areas critical to the performance of the role. Describe activities and opportunities for skill development in the coming year that will develop and enhance the competencies and skills necessary for successful performance in the role and the achievement of individual goals. Professional development can focus on continuous learning and improvement as it applies to the role.

Stage II: Interim Goal Review/Update

In order to encourage managers and employees to talk about performance and progress on a regular basis, a “mid-year” review has been built into the performance development 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. This discussion(s) can be initiated by either the manager or employee and should be documented by a quick note, especially if changes are made in goals, results expected, etc. A few sentences or bullet points describing what was discussed and any resulting goal changes will suffice. The discussion can take place at any time between the Goal Setting Stage and the Performance Evaluation, but will be most effective if conducted sometime around mid-cycle.

Stage III: Performance Review and Assessment

Summarizing the employee’s progress and growth during the year vis-à-vis the competencies outlined for her/his role as well as reviewing goal achievement, brings closure to the performance period and provides a basis for the Performance Planning stage for the following year. At the end of the performance period, manager and employee should each review and update the Performance Assessment and Review section. The degree to which goals were achieved during the performance cycle as well as any improvements, changes in strengths and/or weaknesses for the employee with respect to the competencies required for the role should be noted. The manager prepares the final draft after discussion between the manager and employee.

Stage III may provide the foundation for Stage I of the following review cycle. Some managers and employees may prefer to hold this discussion simultaneously while others may choose to separate the assessment and planning stages.



Use this as an opportunity to summarize overall performance of the role throughout the performance period. Be specific and cite examples.


What the Signatures Indicate/Do Not Indicate: As noted in the Performance Development Document, an employee’s signature indicates their input to the document and that a meeting occurred with the manager to discuss it. Signature does not necessarily imply agreement with the document.
Employee Comments Section: This section is optional and may be used by the employee to contribute thoughts and opinions about the performance development process or her/his assessment specifically.
Submission Procedures: A signed copy of the Performance Development Document must be submitted to Human Resources according to the schedule chosen by the manager in advance. Note: Signatures are lost when documents are submitted via e-mail.

Examine an example of a Performance Appraisal.


HR values and respects confidentiality.