Skip to main content

Performance Planning & Review

Adapted performance planning process for MAC employees during COVID-19

As the Ryerson community has adapted to working from home during COVID-19, HR has developed alternative processes and tools to complete the 2019/2020 performance planning process. Review these recommendations to have productive, thoughtful performance conversations with your employees.

Objectives

  • Provide guidance and support as leaders engage in performance conversations with their employees.
  • Encourage leaders to have thoughtful conversations and support employees with performance objectives.

Focus on three key questions

  1. What were your key accomplishments and challenges for 2019-2020?
    • What worked well? What could have gone better? What did you learn?
  2. Over the next 3 months, what are two key goals you would like to achieve? What are your longer term goals?
  3. What could I do to support you as we continue to work remotely?
    • How are you balancing work and personal time?

For help kicking off the conversations, refer to the templated leader emails for MAC performance planning process.

Before the conversation

  • Read what your employee has sent you in advance. Take the time to be thoughtful of questions and clarifications you might have.
  • Reflect on the performance of the employee over the past year, including successes and struggles of the employee, the team, and the department. Take time to consider key learnings.
  • Be prepared with your units/department goals and objectives, and how you see this employee contributing to them. This conversation is both reflecting and providing feedback on the year (2019-2020) as well as starting to look forward.
  • Ensure you have sufficient undisrupted time and emotional energy to have the conversation.
  • If you feel you need additional support or advice for a potential difficult performance discussion:

During the conversation

  • Listen
  • Be curious and ask questions
  • Bring empathy — all employees are experiencing working remotely differently.
  • Prepare for the conversation

Thoughts and considerations around the questions

This year’s performance process invites you to ask your employee’s three questions via email, inviting their responses prior to your meeting. Here, we outline each of the questions and their purpose in more detail to help guide your conversations with employees.

We have offered examples but please add in your own questions or wording to make sure they meet your needs.

Question 1: Key accomplishments and questions
What were your key accomplishments and challenges for 2019-2020? What worked well? What could have gone better? What did you learn?
Why it’s important and what to keep in mind Sample follow up questions
  • Understand what your employee is proud of and highlight their accomplishments. 
  • Understand your employee’s challenges and support them in their learning from these challenges. Sometimes, this will help uncover hurdles or goals you may not have realized were important or valued by the employee.  
  • Provide constructive feedback, identify areas of improvement and set realistic expectations. For recommendations on constructive feedback, review the EASE framework.
  • Encourage the employee to reflect and celebrate their learnings and work together on outlining how they would do this differently next time.
  • What were your key moments or learnings this year?
  • What was important about these moments or learnings?
  • What new insights or ideas should we take into next year?
  • What moment did we really shine as a team?
  • What could we do differently as a team that would help our outcomes?
Question #2: Short-term and long-term goals
Over the next 3 months, what are two key goals you would like to achieve? What are your longer term goals?
Why it’s important and what to keep in mind Sample follow up questions (formatted using GROW model)
  • Start looking forward to the next few months, focusing on the short-term due to the unpredictable situation and ambiguous timelines.  
  • This your opportunity to share your vision for the unit or department over the next months and coming year, and align individual goals with that.
  • When discussing longer-term goals, keep in mind that many goals and objectives might be impacted by the potential transition back into the workforce or the continuation of working remotely.   
  • Questions from the GROWS coaching goals setting model might be helpful:
    • Goal
    • Reality
    • Options
    • Way forward
  • The GROW model will help you work with your employee to set SMART goals: 
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant 
    • Time-specific  
  • It is also important to know what your unit goals/departmental/organizational are so that there is alignment between individual and broader goals.

Goal

  1. What goal do you want to achieve?
  2. What would you like to accomplish?
  3. What outcome would be ideal?
  4. What would the benefits be if you achieved this goal?

Reality

  1. Where are you now in relation to your goal?
  2. What is working well right now?
  3. What have you already tried?

Options

  1. What resources are available to you?
  2. What could be your first step?
  3. What would be your next step?

Way forward

  1. How are you going to go about it?
  2. What do you think you need to do right now?
  3. What support will you need from me or others?
Question #3: Identifying key supports for next steps
What could I do to support you as we continue to work remotely? How are you balancing work and personal time?
Why it’s important and what to keep in mind Sample follow up questions
  • Understand challenges and needs for working remotely and solicit feedback on how you as a leader can support your employee’s success. 
  • Gain insight into what your employee may be missing in our current work set up, for example, the social aspect of work or clarity of roles. 
  • This will allow you to adjust accordingly or highlight potential additional support and growth opportunities.  
  • Be mindful and respectful of the potential impact of the recent months on your employee's mental wellbeing. 
  • Check in on how your teams are balancing work and personal time, creating boundaries between both and scheduling time off for vacation.
  • What have been your challenges working remotely? 
  • What have been your learnings, insights and successes working this way?
  • What would you do differently if we had to work remotely again? Continue to work remotely?
  • What are your plans for taking vacation over the next three to four months? Vacation and time away from work is an important part of balancing your wellbeing. 
  • Are there any resources you are aware of that could support you with this challenge?

Additional questions

Who do I need to inform if I decide not to provide a merit increase for an employee?

If you decide not to grant merit, then you need to communicate your decision with both your employee and your human resources partner. Employees should be provided with the rationale, based on performance discussions, and provided opportunities and pathways to improve for the following year. Please also advise your human resources partner, so that they can ensure payroll is notified and that the conversation is properly documented. 

This process is designed for MAC. Can we apply it to OPSEU?

While MAC performance planning is tied to an annual performance cycle, the OPSEU cycle varies depending on employees start date and it is not connected to merit. We encourage leaders to use these guidelines to have ongoing performance discussions with all employees, including OPSEU. Contact your human resources partner for additional guidance.

My employee does not have technology to support a video call. How should I have this conversation?

We understand video calls may not be possible for all employees. If this is not an option, we recommend an email exchange followed by a phone call to discuss.

What happens for next year’s performance planning process?

This simplified process has been put in place to take into account the current remote work set-up as a result of COVID-19. HR is continuing to develop revisions to the overall performance planning process and will communicate any updates in future.

Previous performance planning materials

In some cases, based on your team’s progress in the annual performance planning cycle, you may choose to continue to use last year’s form and process.

If you’ve already started this year’s cycle using the previous forms, go ahead and continue. If you haven’t, we recommend streamlining to this new approach. For support, contact your human resources partner to discuss further.

Questions

For guidance and support in performance planning for your team contact your human resources partner.