REG 05.50.04 - SPA Employee Performance Appraisal Program

Authority: Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business

History: November 1, 2002. Last Revised: December 3, 2007. Effective: July 1, 2006.

Related Policies: 
NCSU REG05.25.01 - SPA Employee Performance Pay Dispute Resolution

Additional References: 
Human Resources: Employment, Types of Appointments
NCSU SPA Work Plan and Performance Appraisal Form

Contact Info: Director, Employee Relations (919-515-4300)


1. Purpose

North Carolina State University (NC State) maintains a system by which every university SPA employee participates in a work planning and performance appraisal program. Supervisors and managers direct this program while promoting active employee involvement in the process. This program ensures that SPA employees:

1.1. Are aware of what is expected of them;

1.2. Receive timely feedback about their performance;

1.3. Receive opportunities for education, training and development; and

1.4. Receive rewards in a fair and equitable manner

2. Covered Employees

All SPA employees are covered.

3. Procedure

It is the responsibility of all supervisors, managers, department heads, directors, deans, and vice chancellors to assure that the policies and procedures of the SPA Employee Performance Appraisal Program are administered equitably and consistently. The process is administered using the NC State SPA Work Plan and Performance Appraisal Form.

3.1. Supervisor Duties

It is the supervisor's duty to implement each stage of the SPA performance appraisal process and communicate it to employees so that they understand job expectations and the importance of his/her role in the department.

3.2. Employee Duties

It is the employee's duty to perform job expectations articulated in the work plan.   Employees are also expected to seek clarification from supervisors on any portion of the work plan or performance appraisal process that is unclear or in question. Employees may seek additional information on the performance appraisal process from Human Resources as needed.

4. SPA Performance Cycle

The annual performance cycle begins each June 1 and ends the following May 31.

5. Process

The SPA performance appraisal process consists of three stages:

5.1. Planning

Planning occurs at the beginning of the performance cycle when the SPA employee and supervisor meet to discuss the employee's work plan, performance expectations, development plans and performance tracking methods. It is the supervisor's responsibility to develop the work plan and effectively communicate it to the employee.

5.2. Managing

Managing consists of the day-to-day tracking of SPA employees' progress toward achieving performance expectations outlined in the work plan, and an Interim Review midway through the performance cycle. It includes providing on-going feedback to employees through coaching and reinforcing discussions throughout the performance cycle. Such discussions should be held regularly throughout the performance cycle as well as in response to changes in performance. Managing includes conducting the Interim Review, which should be completed midway through the performance cycle.

5.3. Appraising

Appraising is the evaluation of SPA employees' work over the entire performance cycle as it compares to the expectations documented on the work plan. Appraising occurs at the end of the performance cycle. Any permanent SPA employee who has worked at least six months during the performance cycle under an approved work plan will be considered as having completed the performance cycle for performance pay purposes. The results of this stage of the process are the performance appraisal and annual rating.

6. SPA Probationary Employees

6.1. SPA Probationary Employees

Probationary employees must receive a performance appraisal rating at the end of the six-month probationary period (twelve months for law enforcement officers) in order to move into a permanent appointment. 6.2. Probation Extension

For non-law enforcement officers, probation may be extended to a maximum of nine months if documented performance concerns exist. Probation extensions must be communicated to the employee in writing and submitted to Human Resources prior to the last day of the six-month appraisal period. No extension of the probationary period is available for law enforcement officers, except for extensions provided for under NC General Statute 17.  

7. Planning

7.1. Establishing Work Plans

Supervisors are required to provide employees with detailed work plans as follows:

7.1.1. Probationary employees must have an established work plan within 30 working days of employment

7.1.2. Employees in training progressions must have work plans within 30 days of employment

7.1.3. Employees whose responsibilities and duties change must have new work plans within 30 days of the changes

7.1.4. All SPA employees are provided with work plans at least once a year at the beginning of the annual performance cycle.

7.2. Requirements

7.2.1. Work plans should consist of primary job responsibilities, as well as responsibilities for upcoming projects or programs. These responsibilities should be listed in priority order. Any improvement or development plans that result from information from a previous appraisal or evaluation of job performance during the current performance cycle should be included in Part II: Development Plans, of the work plan.

7.2.2. The expected level of performance (describing quality, quantity, timeliness, etc.) must be included for each responsibility and should be written at the “Good” level (See NC State SPA Work Plan and Performance Appraisal form - Rating Scale). Supervisors should also discuss the criteria for other performance ratings with the employee during the work planning session.

7.2.3. Expected levels of performance for other factors such as attendance, communication skills, working relationships, etc., should be established by supervisors and discussed with the employee. These should be documented in Section II, Performance Characteristics. Management should insure that the expectations for similar jobs are consistent and equitable. The methods to be used to evaluate performance should be documented by the supervisor and communicated to the employee.

7.2.4. Managers must sign the “approved by” section of the work plan prior to the supervisor delivering it to the employee. The supervisor and employee must then sign the work plan and the supervisor must provide the employee a copy of the completed and signed work plan.

7.2.5. The employee's signature does not imply agreement with the work plan; rather it acknowledges receipt of the work plan from supervisor. In the event that an employee refuses to sign the Work Plan form, the supervisor should document the employee's refusal on the form and have it initialed by a witness.

7.3. Managing

7.3.1. On-going Coaching and Feedback

Supervisors are encouraged to provide on-going feedback and coaching throughout the performance cycle.

7.3.2. SPA Interim Reviews

Supervisors are required to conduct and document an interim appraisal meeting with employees at least once during the performance cycle, usually at midyear.

7.3.2a. The supervisor reviews the employee's progress toward the expectations and development goals documented on the work plan, and discusses the current overall rating. This review is intended to be informal; however, the supervisor must document any performance that falls below the “Good” level (i.e. document problems or deficiencies), establish an improvement plan for the employee to overcome the deficiencies, and document the date of the discussion.

7.3.2b. The plan for correcting existing performance problems or deficiencies is to be discussed at the Interim Review meeting and documented in the space provided for in Part II: Development Plans. The employee and supervisor must sign the form acknowledging that an interim review meeting took place. If any comments were added to the form as a result of the interim meeting, the employee must be provided with a copy of the amended work plan.

7.3.2c. The employee's signature does not imply agreement with the Interim Review; rather it acknowledges that the review took place and that the employee was given the opportunity to discuss it with the supervisor. In the event that an employee refuses to sign the Interim Review, the supervisor should document the employee's refusal on the form and have it initialed by a witness.

7.4. Appraising

7.4.1. SPA Performance Appraisals

7.4.1a. The job performance of each university SPA employee is to be appraised:

(i) Prior to completion of six months of service for new probationary employees

(ii) Once a year for continuing employees, usually at the end of the work cycle

(iii) Prior to transferring to another university department or state agency (Complete and forward to the hiring department/agency, an NC State University SPA Transfer Appraisal form.)

7.4.1b. Before conducting the appraisal with the employee, the supervisor must obtain management approval regarding the ratings for each expectation and the overall rating.

7.4.1c. In a private meeting with the employee, the supervisor should discuss each expectation in the work plan, the actual performance over the course of the performance cycle, the rating for each expectation, and any needed improvement or area for development for the upcoming performance cycle. The supervisor must include written comments that support the overall rating. The employee must be given the opportunity and should be encouraged to write any comments on the SPA Work Plan and Performance Appraisal form. The employee and supervisor then sign this form.

7.4.1d. The employee must be given a copy of the finalized appraisal form with all comments, attachments, and signatures. Information may not be added to the completed summary without the employee's knowledge. Added information must be initialed and dated by the employee, supervisor, and manager.

7.4.1e. The employee's signature does not imply agreement with the performance appraisal; rather it acknowledges that the appraisal took place and that the employee was given the opportunity to discuss it with the supervisor. In the event that an employee refuses to sign the Performance Appraisal form, the supervisor should document the employee's refusal on the form and have it initialed by a witness.

7.4.2. Transfer appraisals

An SPA employee transferring to another university department or state agency must receive a transfer appraisal from his/her current supervisor to be forwarded to the gaining unit. Likewise, supervisors must document employees' progress on current work plans in conjunction with the next level manager prior to leaving a supervisory position. The appraisal should be documented on an NC State SPA Transfer Appraisal form, with a copy provided to the employee. 

7.5. Record Keeping

7.5.1. Personnel Files

A copy of the SPA Work Plan and Appraisal form with all attachments should be kept in the departmental personnel files. Performance appraisal forms are confidential documents and are subject to Article 7of Chapter 126 of the General Statutes. The employee must be informed that the forms will be maintained in employee's departmental personnel file for at least three years and then disposed of in accordance with General statute 121.5 b and c.

7.5.2. Submission of Annual Appraisal ratings 

Annual appraisal ratings will be forwarded to Human Resources at the close of the annual performance cycle to be included in the Office of State Human Resources database.

7.6. Disagreement with Appraisal Ratings

SPA employees have the right to formally dispute annual performance ratings. Disputes must be filed with the Division of Human Resources within 15 workdays of receipt of the written appraisal and will be handled in accordance with the SPA Performance Pay Dispute Resolution procedure.