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Performance Management Guidelines

The University is committed to its employees and their success. These guidelines detail the options available to supervisors to provide employees with an opportunity to improve performance and meet standards of conduct.

Employees in the University Staff classification are employed at-will and have no expectation of continued employment. The University or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, except an illegal reason.*

Corrective Action to Improve Performance or Address Policy Violations

Supervisors are expected to assist employees in achieving acceptable performance and conduct through frequent communication, performance evaluations, and setting clear standards. Specifically, supervisors are expected to:

  • Meet with each employee under their purview and set clear performance expectations. This should occur at the time of hire and during onboarding.
  • Give employees timely and ongoing feedback concerning their performance.
  • Conduct annual performance reviews (i.e., Career Conversations) to document performance conversations.

Whenever possible and appropriate, supervisors are encouraged to use informal or formal corrective action to address performance deficiencies, inappropriate conduct, or policy violations. Corrective actions, whether formal or informal, are not progressive and may occur in any order, depending on the individual circumstances.

Informal Corrective Action

When an employee's performance needs improvement, supervisors are expected to discuss the specific areas of performance that are unacceptable, and focus on performance expectations, conduct, and/or results. Informal corrective action may take the form of:

  • Coaching – Ongoing conversations with employees to provide guidance and support in order to successfully meet performance expectations and goals.
  • Corrective Counseling – Informal conversations for the purpose of correcting behavior and discussing specific actions or behaviors to improve performance.
  • Verbal Warning – Communication to an employee that behavior or performance is not acceptable and must be improved.

Informal corrective action may occur as needed without consultation from Human Resources, however, HR Organizational Consultants are available to provide guidance.

Supervisors are advised to follow up on informal corrective action with a written summary of the conversation to include expectations.

Formal Corrective Action

Formal corrective action may be taken when a supervisor determines that informal corrective action is not appropriate under the circumstances. Formal corrective action may include:

  • Written Warning – A document that notifies an employee that behavior or performance is not acceptable and must be improved. It also notifies the employee of specific policy violation(s) and that the employee may be subject to discharge if the behavior or performance does not improve.
  • Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) - A document that describes the steps an employee must take within a specific timeframe to meet departmental expectations. A PIP is warranted for serious performance/conduct issues or when there is a pattern of sustained issues with a failure to significantly improve. The PIP will include a statement that failure to complete the improvement plan may result in discharge.
  • Suspension Without Pay – A temporary release from duty without pay, when it is determined that a violation of policy or an employee’s conduct is serious enough to warrant such action.

When a supervisor determines that formal corrective action may be necessary, the supervisor will consult with the college/division’s designated HR Organizational Consultant within Human Resources in advance and obtain guidance and approval for corrective action.

Whenever possible, the supervisor will issue the corrective action in a meeting with the employee. Supervisors are responsible for providing a copy of the corrective action document to the employee and forwarding a copy to Human Resources – Employee Records and the HR Organizational Consultant.

Discharge Procedures

Supervisors are encouraged to use corrective action to improve employee performance prior to discharging an employee and terminating the employment relationship. However, supervisors are not required to use informal or formal corrective action options before discharging an employee. There are circumstances where an employee may be discharged without corrective action because of the severity of the conduct at issue. Separately, not all discharges are related to performance. The following steps must be taken regardless of whether a discharge is related to performance:

  • Supervisors must consult with and obtain approval from Human Resources prior to the discharge.
  • The supervisor will conduct a discharge meeting and issue the discharge notice to the employee. The departmental HR representative and/or responsible administrator may attend the meeting as needed.
  • The supervisor will ensure the employee receives a copy of the notice. The notice will state the effective date of the discharge.  A copy will be sent to the HR Organizational Consultant and Employee Records.
  • The department is responsible for collecting university property and will process the transaction to conclude the employment relationship in accordance with UA policies and procedures.

*These guidelines do not apply to Arizona Police Officer Standards Training certified officers below the rank of Assistant Chief (M3), who are covered by the Police Bill of Rights.