Common Questions

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Performance Review

The goal of performance evaluations is to assure clear and mutual understanding of general performance expectations. Performance evaluations should be done in a timely manner and involve both the supervisor and the employee. [Note: Performance evaluations are to be kept in the department's personnel files for no more than three years.]

Supervisors should review the guidelines for effective performance management.  Below are some tools and general guidelines for classified and professional staff performance reviews.

Classified Staff

Performance evaluations for all classified staff shall be performed at least annually, and shall be based on job-related performance factors.

The standard UW Classified Staff Performance Evaluation Form can be used for any contract-classified staff evaluation. Departments may also develop a form tailored to the needs of the department and type of work being evaluated. There are several items that must be included in any form that will be used. For a list of these please refer to the collective bargaining agreement(s) covering your specific employees.

Classified non-union staff (staff not covered by a bargaining unit) participate in a performance development plan devised by the Department of Personnel. See also Instructions for Classified Non-Union Performance Management.

Professional Staff

Employees and supervisors should communicate regularly about job performance, including the employee's progress toward achieving unit goals and objectives, recognition of individual accomplishments and opportunities for growth. In addition to regular performance feedback, the Professional Staff Program requires supervisors to conduct formal performance evaluations at least annually, though employees may request evaluation more frequently.

UW Tacoma HR has developed some additional materials to assist with performance management:

Individual units have maximum flexibility in designing a performance review program that best meets the needs of their staff. Below are two sample formats and a feedback solicitation form that can assist you in planning and conducting performance reviews for your professional staff employees.


Leave Administration

Leave Requests

Requests for leave are made directly in Workday - please see the User Guide.

Supervisors and employees should consult the Professional Staff Program or appropriate classified staff bargaining contracts for specific information regarding leave provisions.

Discretionary Leave

Discretionary Leave is paid time off work that a supervisor may award to a professional staff employee to recognize noteworthy achievement and work effort that have significantly contributed to the unit's mission, goals and/or objectives. Discretionary leave should be awarded for extraordinary performance, for going the extra mile, when an employee "goes above and beyond the call of duty," etc. Discretionary Leave is not intended for "business as usual" or for doing your job well. Doing your job well is the expectation; discretionary leave may be awarded for going beyond that.

Up to six days (48 hours for full-time employment) of discretionary leave may be awarded per calendar year.

Examples of appropriate Discretionary Leave use

  • An employee completed a significant project that improved the way certain things were processed in the department. The improvements impacted faculty and staff who were involved in the process. The project lasted several months and required significant time after hours (for no compensation). The employee continued to complete all regular assignments and responsibilities during the project.
  • A department had a temporary vacancy while an employee was on leave or during a search. Another employee in the department took on the responsibilities of the vacancy while continuing to fulfill his/her regular responsibilities (wearing more than the normal multiple hats). Working extra hours was required to fulfill the responsibilities of both positions, and there was no additional compensation for the additional duties.
  • A department experienced a fire and had to move all their offices. This required an extraordinary effort and considerable time spent after normal work hours. Several employees who took on this significant extra effort were rewarded with discretionary leave.

Authorization and Record Keeping

  1. The supervisor prepares a written request to the department director that explains:
    • The nature and duration of the assignment for which discretionary leave is to be awarded; AND
    • The number of days (up to six days) of discretionary leave that are recommended.
  2. The department head reviews the request and approves, denies or modifies the discretionary leave award.
  3. If approved, the request should be submitted to the appropriate Vice Chancellor for final review/approval. [Note: If a director is the supervisor recommending the award, the request should go to the appropriate Vice Chancellor for the first level of review/approval, and then to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration for the second level of review/approval.]
  4. A copy of the approval is retained in employee's department file to support entries in the Online Work Leave System (OWLS).

Discretionary Leave Use
Discretionary leave should be used soon after it is awarded and it must be used before vacation leave. Discretionary leave must be used by March 31 of each year, or it will be lost and deducted from the record unless an extension is pre-authorized by the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. An extension may not exceed 90 days. Unused discretionary leave cannot be paid out and does not transfer to a new organizational unit.

Other leave provisions

Information regarding additional leave programs and provisions, including Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Shared Leave Program, Inclement Weather and Suspended Operations, is found on the UWS Web site.

Non-Traditional Work Arrangements

The University encourages the adoption of non-traditional work arrangements when they work to the advantage of both the employee and the unit. Adoption of a non-traditional work arrangement therefore requires the supervisor's and/or unit administrator's advance approval in writing, and is based on their determination that the arrangement will work for all concerned.

What is a non-traditional work arrangement?

These are work schedules that deviate from the traditional "8-to-5" workday and Monday through Friday workweek that can accommodate employee preference or a unit's unique job requirements. Examples include telework (telecommuting), alternative work schedules, flexible work schedules, and reduced work schedules.

  • Telework (telecommuting) allows a staff member to use telecommunications and computer technology to regularly work from home or an alternative work site.
  • Alternative Work Schedules are anything other than five (5) consecutive equal length work days in a seven (7) day work week.
  • Flexible Work Schedules have the following characteristics:
    • A fixed, core block of work time during which the employee is always at work
    • A daily work start time that can vary within a specified range
    • A daily work end time that must be adjusted each day in accordance with that day's start time
  • Reduced Work Schedules are schedules based on an FTE of less than 40 hours/week.

As an employee, what factors should I consider when proposing a non-traditional work arrangement?

If you plan on proposing a non-traditional work arrangement, keep in mind that your supervisor will probably want to know how the arrangement will help you, and how it will meet the department’s needs as well. Consider the following points:

  • Does your position require regular interaction with coworkers or clients? If it does, how will your proposal address any concerns that might arise about your ability to meet these requirements?
  • Does your productivity, reliability, and overall work record demonstrate the ability to fulfill the terms of the proposed arrangement?

For teleworking arrangements:

  • Does your position require that you work with such confidential information as student records, personnel records or patient records? How can you perform your job duties and maintain the required data security and confidentiality?
  • Will your proposal require a computer, printer, or other equipment? Who will supply the equipment and be responsible for maintaining, upgrading, and supporting it?
  • Is your home computer secure? If not, there is a high probability that you could corrupt files or damage UW computers by spreading computer viruses or other malware.
  • Do you perform work that has critical deadlines that might be missed if you are working from home and your computer connection or electricity fails? If so, how will you ensure that critical deadlines can be met or tasks can be accomplished even if you experience a home computer problem?
  • Review the Telework Policy for Professional and Classified Staff for more information.

How can these work arrangements be established?

Requests for non-traditional work arrangements must be made and approved in writing. Once adopted, non-traditional work arrangement may be revised or ended in the same way that other work schedule modifications would be made for the position.

Telework arrangements are for a prescribed time, are revocable at the employer’s discretion, and are subject to prior approval by the department head or as required by the school, college, administrative unit, etc. Telework arrangements must be confirmed in writing and signed by the employee and the authorizing supervisor before beginning the arrangement. Terms of the individual telework arrangement should be specified in writing, along with the Telework Plan and Agreement.  Please also complete the UWT Telecommuting Agreement and send it to UWT HR.

If you decide to develop a proposal, be sure to:

  • Describe the type of arrangement you are requesting and the proposed weekly work schedule
  • Describe how your position’s job duties will be accomplished
  • Describe how the arrangement will benefit your work group, department, and/or organization (or at least, how it will not have a negative effect on the organization)
  • Describe your plans for communicating with coworkers and others and what kind of back-up for your work you think may be necessary in the event you are absent
  • Identify the proposed start date and how you suggest the success of the arrangement be evaluated (tasks completed, deadlines met, etc.)
  • Commit to being flexible and making adjustments to your proposal as necessary to ensure success
  • Tell your supervisor that you understand that the arrangement can be ended if your supervisor or manager determines that the arrangement is not working as desired.

Are there any special considerations?

  • Working an alternative work schedule requires special attention to holiday-related leave accounting:
    • For a full-time employee a holiday is worth eight (8) hours. For part-time employees, the holiday hour value is pro rated based on the employee's percent of full time.
    • If a holiday falls on a day the employee is scheduled to work fewer hours than the value of the holiday, the employee receives holiday credit for the difference. The employee can arrange to use these holiday credit hours at a later date.
    • If a holiday falls on a day that the employee is scheduled to work more hours than the value of the holiday, the employee will "owe" the University the difference in time between the hour value of the holiday and the hours the employee was scheduled to work. These owed hours can be taken as leave without pay, made up the same week or otherwise accounted for by using appropriate accrued leave.
    • Review additional information on Holiday Leave Record Keeping.

As a supervisor, how can I manage a non-traditional work arrangement?

  • Establish a plan that ensures clear communication and accountability.
  • If the arrangement involves flexible hours or an alternative work location, specify the days and times when the employee will be on site for meetings and to communicate directly with other team members.
  • Review leave and record-keeping implications with the employee.
  • Before agreeing to long term proposal implementation, establish the arrangement on a pilot basis with a designated review period. During the pilot period, either the employee or supervisor can end the arrangement.
  • If an arrangement results in a reduction in the employee’s scheduled work hours, make sure that the employee understands that you cannot guarantee a return to the previous schedule outside of the trial period, should the employee request it.
  • Make sure all parties understand the terms of the arrangement, and that once the arrangement is implemented, its continuation depends on the arrangement's working effectively for the department.
  • Document all pertinent details of the arrangement, including work hours and schedule, performance plan with measurable outcomes, and a review schedule and provide the employee with a copy.
  • Remember to update the employee’s schedule in Workday (see Workday User Guide).

Things to remember

  • Any employee may submit a proposal, but not all jobs are suitable for a flexible work arrangement. Consider your job’s main functions and whether they can be fulfilled under the proposal.
  • A change in your current schedule, or a return to your previous schedule, may not always be possible. You would need to talk to your supervisor to request a different non-traditional work arrangement, or return to your original schedule.
  • The University is not obligated to provide non-traditional work arrangements. Each proposal is considered individually to determine if it can work successfully for you and your unit.
  • Supervisors may also assign a position to a non-traditional work arrangement to meet work requirements.
  • Non-traditional work arrangements must be documented and require advance approval in writing.

Employee Morale and Engagement

Keeping employee morale high is one of the best things you can do to instill loyalty and maintain a productive workplace. Morale affects how motivated your employees are to work for you, suggests how much they will do while at work, and will influence how long they will stay with you. Research suggests that, compared to employees who are motivated, disengaged workers are less efficient, miss more workdays and cost organizations thousands of dollars in lost productivity. As a manager, much of the mood within the organization is in your hands.

The individual who demonstrates full engagement will:

  • Emphasize the positive about the organization – what is going right
  • Look for occasions to say good things about the organization, manager, department or people
  • Volunteer for extra duties
  • Express approval about what the organization is doing and why it is doing it
  • Speak highly of the organization to coworkers, friends, relatives, and members of the community


How can you build and maintain employee morale and engagement? Here are some ideas:

Open the lines of communication and keep them open

  1. This is high engagement time – be visible and be around for your employees
  2. Organize ‘unit coffee meetings’ or ‘coffees with your Vice Chancellor or Director
  3. Promptly share news that affects your unit
  4. Communicate your values and objectives for your unit
  5. Let staff know clearly what your expectations are and explain the reasoning behind certain policies or policy changes
  6. Respond to problems, questions or concerns in a timely manner
  7. Encourage honest feedback from your staff
  8. Be empathetic and be a good listener

Motivate by your own example

  1. Show good character and conduct yourself and your business in a manner you want imitated
  2. Demonstrate a positive attitude to serve as an example of optimism and achievement
  3. Set a high standard and act in manner that’s consistent with what you expect from your staff
  4. Focus on things you can control and help your staff to do the same
  5. Be honest, fair and accessible

Involve your staff

  1. Ensure your staff clearly understand their role, their impact on customers, and how they bring value to the organization
  2. Solicit their ideas for handling issues and challenges that arise using various methods (one-on-one conversations, team meetings, catalyst, simple comment cards, etc.)
  3. Consult with employees before implementing policies that will affect them and allow them to give input
  4. Help employees feel connected to UWT: support and encourage staff participation in UWT community-building events (e.g., Distinguished Staff Award, Spring Celebration, Staff and Faculty BBQ)

Support staff success

  1. Provide adequate tools and training for staff to succeed
  2. Provide continuous feedback informally and by use of formal performance management tools
  3. Give them room to make decisions where appropriate
  4. Challenge your employees with new opportunities to use and develop their skills by considering cross-training opportunities or short-term project assignments
  5. Refer employees to UW Carelink as needed
  6. Support work/life balance by being accommodating and flexible where appropriate, such as when considering flexible work arrangements

Acknowledge and appreciate your staff

  1. Respect team members as individuals and as professionals
  2. Review Employee Recognition Guiding Principles
  3. Ask employees directly what motivates them or ask staff to complete an Employee Recognition Profile
  4. Notice Out Loud: Recognize small successes with kind and encouraging words for a job well done
  5. Use the UW Recognition of Appreciation Certificate
  6. Send a UW e-card for a quick email note of appreciation to your staff
  7. Review other ideas for recognition

Outside Professional Work Approval Policy

University employees may engage in outside consulting work or part-time employment provided that such outside employment is not to the detriment of their University obligations and job performance or in conflict with the proper discharge of official duties. Any consulting or part-time employment should ordinarily be performed outside the employee's regular work schedule.

University professional and classified staff must secure advance review and approval from their supervisor and next level of authority for any outside work whether or not for compensation whenever such activities stem from, could conflict with, or relate to the individual's official duties or status as a University employee.  Request approval by completing Form UoW 1301: Request for Approval of Outside Work - Professional or Classified Staff Employee. The immediate supervisor will recommend approval/disapproval of the request and forward it to the department dean/director (Department Chair/Program Director signature line) and then the appropriate Vice Chancellor (Unit Administrative Head signature line) for final review and determination. Copies of the form should be distributed to the Vice Chancellor, department, employee and UWT HR.

Review additional information regarding professional and classified staff.

Faculty should review the policy for faculty on the Academic HR Web site.