University of California, Riverside

Human Resources

Performance Management FAQs


These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are being provided so that you may have a better understanding of the Performance Appraisal process and guidelines.

Why did the University of California implement a Pay for Performance model for policy covered staff?

A1: In 2015, UC President Napolitano mandated implementation of a merit-based pay for performance model for all locations no later than FY 2016-2017. “Recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance and differentiated pay practices based on employees’ accomplishments will help motivate people to achieve superior results. Superior performance is difficult to achieve when everyone receives the same increase in compensation regardless of their contribution. The merit-based approach is also consistent with feedback we received from staff in the most recent Engagement Survey. Employee feedback urged us to make pay for performance a more prominent feature in our salary programs.” Chancellor Wilcox created a Committee on Staff Compensation and charged the committee with developing a system that would incentivize exceptional performance and tie individual performance goals to strategic plan/organizational objectives.   

In the Pay for Performance Model, the goal is to improve employee and organizational performance by rewarding individual employee effort and contributions. Employees who meet the expectations of their jobs or perform above expectations, according to measurable criteria, receive an adjustment in salary based on that performance. The amount of the adjustment varies with some measure of an individual’s performance. Employees no longer receive automatic across-the-board salary adjustments.

The Pay for Performance program aligns individual employee objectives, milestones and targets with the university’s goals. Together, we will advance UCR on our Path to Preeminence.

Is the performance appraisal process for career employees only?

A2: While policy and bargaining agreements specify that only regular status employees are required to receive an annual performance appraisal, this does not limit supervisors and managers from appraising all staff members. As an example, many units conduct performance appraisals for student employees.

Is Pay for Performance applicable to union covered  (represented)?

A3: Pay increases for represented employees are determined by their respective collective bargaining agreements. While represented staff compensation will not be merit-based, the performance of represented employees will be managed and evaluated on the same basis as non-represented staff. Represented employees should complete the self-assessment section of the performance appraisal form and submit it to their supervisors, who will then complete the performance appraisal in the same manner as for non-represented employees.

Are all represented and unrepresented staff reviewed at the same time?
   A4: Generally, yes. Unless specifically authorized by Human Resources, all staff eligible to receive an annual performance evaluation should receive their evaluation sometime in late April to mid-May. 
 How long must an employee be on the job prior to having an annual performance appraisal?

A5: If an employee is new to a position but has worked in another department during the performance period being reviewed, the current and previous supervisor(s) should work together to complete the employee's performance appraisal.

In the case of a probationary employee, an evaluation should be given midway through the probationary period and again at the conclusion of the probationary period. This will allow the employee to correct any behavior that may not be meeting standards before the probationary period ends. Check the applicable policy or bargaining contract for the timing and frequency of evaluations to be completed during the probationary period. Upon the completion of their probationary period, the evaluation of their performance should be captured in an annual performance appraisal.

How does the salary program for represented employees compare and/or contrast with the salary program for non-represented employees? 
  A6: Salary programs for represented employees are established by contract with labor unions. Salary programs for non-represented employees are initiated with guidance from the University of California Office of the President.
What are the obstacles for incorporating merit-based pay to represented employees?
  A7: Represented employees are subject to contracts negotiated between their respective labor unions and the University of California Office of the President. Any changes to wages or working conditions must be negotiated and agreed to by contract. 
Is Pay for Performance an equity program?
  A8: No. Pay for Performance is intended to reward staff based on their performance. Merit increases assigned under this program should not take into account longevity or equity concerns.
Does Pay for Performance also include a cost of living adjustment (COLA)?
  A9: The University’s salary program for non-represented employees is merit/performance based and does not consider cost of living.
If the merit pool is 3% does that mean all employees will receive at least that amount?
  A10: No. In a pay for performance program, merit is distributed based on levels of performance. Therefore employees with higher overall performance ratings may receive more than 3%, while other employees may receive less than 3%.
I have only been supervising my staff for a short time, should I still complete the performance appraisals?
  A11: Yes. Where possible and appropriate, consult with the previous supervisor or department head in completing the appraisals.
Can key staff members in my department give input on the performance appraisal of my direct reports?
  A12: It is appropriate to solicit input from staff who are knowledgeable of the employee’s work performance. How this input is represented on the performance appraisal should be agreed upon by the employee's supervisor and next level supervisor.
If an employee is rated "Needs Improvement" or "Unsatisfactory" overall, is the performance appraisal process handled differently?
  A13: When an employee's overall performance has been appraised and rated on the performance appraisal form as "needs improvement" (an overall rating of "2") or "unsatisfactory" (an overall rating of "1") a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) should be initiated.  A re-appraisal should be conducted after no more than 90 days from the date the PIP was issued. If the employee's performance continues to be "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory," the supervisor and department head should consult Employee & Labor Relations.
Is an employee entitled to union representation during a performance evaluation meeting?
  A14: Ordinarily employees are not entitled to representation for routine meetings such as performance reviews unless the employee reasonably anticipates that the meeting may lead to corrective action. However, there may be unusual circumstances that trigger a right to representation. Please consult with Employee & Labor Relations if this situation arises. Reschedule the performance evaluation meeting if necessary in order to obtain appropriate advice prior to holding the meeting.
Are employees required to complete the self-appraisal?
  A15: Employees should complete the self-assessment section of the performance appraisal form and then return the form to their supervisor who will complete the performance appraisal. The self-appraisal allows employees to summarize major accomplishments within the review period, list any educational activities accomplished during the review period, state goals/objectives, and provide an opportunity to address other issues. The supervisor should not delay the performance appraisal if the employee did not complete the self-assessment by the specified deadline. 
Does the employee have to sign the performance appraisal?

A16: The employee should sign the appraisal. The employee’s signature indicates only that they are aware of the contents of the appraisal, it doesn't indicate agreement. If an employee refuses to sign, confirm in writing the date on which the appraisal was discussed and provide the performance appraisal to the employee.


Are managers/supervisors required to calibrate staff performance?

A1: Beginning with the 2016-2017 performance appraisal cycle, each school, college or organizational unit leader was held accountable for ensuring calibration of the performance appraisals within their respective organizations.

Calibration is the process in which performance and performance ratings at each level are discussed and normalized within a group. The conversations determine what differentiates levels of performance. Implementing this process will drive greater consistency in the rating process across the school, college or organizational unit. Each school, college or organizational unit has the flexibility to construct this process in the way that is most effective for them. However, we recommend the adoption of the following calibration principles:

  • Within each school, college or organizational unit, an individual or group of individuals at the leadership level takes responsibility for coordinating and communicating the calibration and merit distribution process.
  • Supervisors and managers within that school, college or organizational unit are directly engaged/involved with the calibration process.
  • Supervisors and managers are informed about the merit process outcomes prior to communication with individual employees.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

UCR LibrariesCampus Status
Career OpportunitiesDiversity
Visit UCRMaps and Directions

Department Information

Human Resources
1201 University Ave., Suite 208
Riverside, CA 92507

Tel: (951) 827-5588
Fax: (951) 827-2672