August Performance Review Cycle Reviewed: Needs Improvement

Performance review season is here (for some reason), and The Bacon decided it is only fair to review the review process to see how it aligns with the University’s Core Competencies.

Core Competency 1: Integrity/Responsibility/Ethics Moving the performance review cycle from February to August is (ostensibly) a matter of fiscal responsibility as it allows leadership to make decisions around annual salary increases based on each fall semester’s enrollment. This justification is suspect, however, since departments would have made and received approval for budget requests for the fiscal year prior to the start of the fall semester. One is left to assume that the true reason for the change in the performance review cycle is a sort of budget reduction theater. (This is not unlike the recently concluded practice of paying employees on the first business day of July rather than the last business day of June as a corner-cutting method of reducing the budget by pushing 8% of the year’s salaries onto the new fiscal year.) By aligning merit raises with the calendar year, the campuses only have to account for raises for half of the fiscal year, creating the illusion of savings when, in fact, the campuses are simplifying staggering the salary increase cycle. 

Because of this lack of transparency, the New Performance Review Cycle receives a 2/5 in this category.

Core Competency 2: Inclusive Excellence It is unclear how this change in the performance review cycle positively contributes to the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence, unless there is some way to view the closer alignment of university staff and classified staff performance planning as inclusive excellence. Perhaps there is an argument in here somewhere that we simply are not clever enough to see.

Because this one feels somewhat neutral, the New Performance Review Cycle receives a 3/5 in this category.

Core Competency 3: Innovation This is a fairly innovative approach to fiscal responsibility theater – there is no denying that. However, it does seem as though the performance review cycle took a page or two out of the June-July pay period playbook, so, for that, one must dock a few points from the Innovation category.

Because of its ability to iterate on previous sketchy innovations, the New Performance Review Cycle receives a 3.5/5 in this category.

Core Competency 4: Collaboration Any amount of collaboration with constituents would have quickly revealed that fall start-up is a terrible time for performance reviews. It is clear that the only people collaborating on this initiative are not in student-facing roles. Performance reviews require hours of work on the part of supervisor and supervisee (individually and collaboratively), which takes countless hours away from students during what is perhaps the busiest time of year for those who follow the academic calendar.

Because of its complete lack of collaboration, the New Performance Review Cycle receives a 1/5 in this category.

Core Competency 5: Communication If communication is a one-way street, the New Performance Review Cycle would earn a 5 in this category: faculty and staff received multiple email reminders, and both CU Boulder Today and Human Resources published several news briefs reminding employees of this change. Because of the lack of reciprocal opportunities for communication between constituents and decision-makers, however, the New Performance Review Cycle cannot receive full points in this category.

With the understanding that most of this critique falls into the Collaboration category, the New Performance Review Cycle will only receive a slight dock in points, leaving it with a 3.5/5 in this category.

Overall The New Performance Review Cycle fails to satisfactorily meet 2 of the 5 Core Competencies, resulting in an overall score of 2/5. Immediate improvement in the areas of Integrity/Responsibility/Ethics and Collaboration is required. Failure to make these changes will result in…well…nothing since The Bacon does not have the authority to do anything beyond simply being annoyed.