Policy Manual

Performance and Staff Development Program


The Performance and Staff Development Program provides for periodic appraisal of staff. The appraisal process is designed to encourage constructive dialogue between staff members and their supervisors, to clarify job responsibilities and performance goals/expectations, to enhance the staff's member's professional development, to assure that job performance and accomplishment information is recorded in each staff member's University employment history, and to provide a basis for decisions on compensation.

The formal Performance and Staff Development Plan (Performance Appraisal) is conducted once a year usually by the staff member's immediate supervisor. After the Performance Appraisal is completed, it is discussed with the staff member and signed by the reviewer(s) and the staff member. The staff member's signature indicates that the Performance Appraisal has been reviewed with the staff member and does not necessarily indicate the staff member's agreement with the assessment of performance. The second level supervisor may review and sign the appraisal as well. Performance Appraisals become part of the staff member's personnel record and are afforded confidential treatment in accordance with University policy.

The basis for an objective Performance Appraisal is a clear understanding of the job assignment. It is the responsibility of each supervisor to specify the duties the staff member is expected to perform and the expectations for performing these duties at the outset of that staff member's assumption of duties. As the first step in this process, the supervisor and staff member should review their understanding of the duties, goals and performance expectations of the job. The review should also include future performance planning. This step should occur at the beginning of the period of performance to be assessed. Professional development and learning goals should also be included in the appraisal. Staff member who supervises other staff will be appraised in part on how effectively they manage the staff, including the completion of Performance Appraisals for the direct reports.


Supervisors and staff can use Workday to complete and sign all performance appraisal documents, including self-appraisals and performance appraisals. 

Training materials for the program can be found on the Human Resources website at https://www.hr.upenn.edu/for-managers/managing-staff.

Human Resources is available to assist both staff members and supervisors in addressing issues relating to the performance appraisal and planning process and administrative review. For further information on how to complete a Performance Appraisal, supervisors should contact their school/center Human Resources professionals or the Division of Human Resources, Staff and Labor Relations.


A staff member may ask for administrative review of the Performance Appraisal according to the rules below when the staff member’s overall performance is described as “Unacceptable.” This review is not available for individual assessments in specific sections of the Performance Appraisal. Staff members may not file a grievance regarding a Performance Appraisal under Human Resource Policy 620, “Staff Grievance Procedure.”

  1. After a staff member has signed their Performance Appraisal, with or without comment, they may elect to meet with the immediate supervisor to discuss the Performance Appraisal where the overall performance is described as “Unacceptable.”

    The staff member must contact their immediate supervisor within 10 work days of receipt of the Performance Appraisal to schedule the meeting to discuss the Appraisal. At least 2 work days prior to that meeting the staff member must provide to the immediate supervisor in writing the specific reason(s) for requesting the administrative review.

    Within 10 work days after the meeting with the staff member, the supervisor should provide the staff member with a written response addressing the issues raised by the staff member.

  2. If the staff member is not satisfied with their immediate supervisor's response or a response is not provided, the staff member may elect to meet with the second level supervisor. The staff member must provide in writing the specific concerns to be addressed by the second level supervisor within 10 work days of receipt of the first level supervisor's response. Within 10 work days after the meeting with the staff member, the second level supervisor should provide the staff member with a written response, which normally concludes the administrative review.

  3. At any time during the administrative review, a staff member who believes that procedures used in the performance process were inconsistent with the policy may request that Human Resources review the procedure. The review will be limited to issues related to a determination of whether the policy on performance and staff development was followed. On the basis of the findings, Human Resources may request appropriate corrective action.

  4. At all stages of administrative review, the staff member has the responsibility to show that the Performance Appraisal is inaccurate or that the Performance and Staff Development Policy was not followed.

  5. Only staff members will be permitted to attend meetings with supervisors regarding Performance Appraisals. However, at the concurrence of both the supervisor and the staff member, a representative of Human Resources may assist in facilitating the meeting(s) between a staff member and supervisor.


University employees covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate article in their contract.

Policy Number: 619
Effective Date: 03/10/2017
Revised Date: 09/25/2023
Last Review Date: 09/22/2023
Supersedes Policy Number(s): 619 (03/15/1999), (03/01/2000), (02/08/2007), (04/10/2014), 03/10/2016
Cross-reference: N/A