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The Performance Review Process presents a great opportunity to reflect upon all that has been accomplished, both individually and collectively, throughout the academic year.

Performance Management Overview

While performance reviews are meant to capture a year in review, the habit of discussing goals, accomplishments, and opportunities for development should happen throughout the entire year.  Meaningful manager and employee check-ins are critical drivers for employee engagement and can provide a sense of continuity, forward progress, and support of both organizational and team morale.

We encourage each of you to schedule times with your managers and employees, at least quarterly, to discuss these important items throughout the year. Mid-year conversations provide an excellent opportunity to review what has been accomplished so far as well as look ahead to the upcoming months.  Notes from these conversations help to ensure that important milestones are captured and facilitate the meaningful and smooth completion of the annual review later this summer.  If identified, adjustments can be made to ensure goals and deliverables remain aligned with departmental priorities. 

Performance management provides staff and managers dedicated time to reflect on progress, clarify expectations, and discuss priorities and potential career paths. Performance management is intended to foster staff member’s individual success, to engage managers in the development of their staff, and to support the priorities and goals of each HLC school.

Performance management is comprised of two basic parts:

  • Continuous coaching conversations throughout the year
  • Tracking highlights from ongoing conversations, setting priorities and goals, and summarizing themes at the end of the academic year

For general information about Harvard’s annual planning cycle and available resources visit:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should complete the annual performance review?

    All staff members (union and non-union) hired before April 1, 2024 should receive an annual performance review. Any staff member hired on or after April 1, 2024 will not complete the annual review process. Instead, managers will provide formal performance feedback at the conclusion of the 90-day Orientation and Review period. Temporary staff, student hires, LHTs (less than half time employees), and fellows do not participate in the annual review process.

  • Will there be performance ratings this year?

    This year we will return to standard rating scales for performance management. A rating is required in order to complete the document.

  • What is a rating?

    There are 4 ratings to choose from as follows:

    Needs Improvement

    The quality of performance is below expectations for the role. Knowledge, skills, abilities and/or productivity have not been demonstrated at the appropriate levels.


    Needs to gain proficiency and/or productivity in the position to achieve consistent impact. May achieve some, but not all, goals.  Stronger or additional knowledge, skills and abilities need to be demonstrated for consistent success in the role.  This rating is recommended for use when an employee is still coming up-to-speed with their job responsibilities based on limited tenure in the role.

    Full/Consistent Impact

    Consistently demonstrates meaningful impact through accomplishments and contributions. This level of impact is reflective of a fully qualified, competent and experienced individual in this role. Viewed as someone who gets the job done and effectively prioritizes work and produces strong results. Contributes positively to the overall objectives of the department and /or the larger organization. Achieves valuable accomplishments in several important areas of the job and/or on assigned projects.

    Exceptional Impact

    Contributions have significant and consistently exceptional impact and value to the department and/or the organization. Makes unique, often one-time achievements that measurably advance progress towards organizational goals and/or result in major improvements.  Easily recognized as a role model by high-performing peers. Viewed as an excellent resource to provide expertise, guidance, advice, mentorship, or support to others.  Demonstrates a range of high-level capabilities and actively takes on higher levels of responsibility.

    *Please note:  While the ‘No Rating’ option will appear in the system, this option will not be used by HLS.

  • What impact to ratings have on compensation?

    Ratings provide opportunity to reflect on work performance and identify areas for opportunity to discuss development and training.  They will not be tied to annual increases.  Performance may be considered during bonus allocations.

  • What is the importance of the rating?

    Ratings help employees and managers to identify what is going well as well as opportunities for growth and professional development.  From the employee who is new to the role and is building their knowledge base to the employee who is a consistently strong contributor, ratings, combined with meaningful feedback, can serve to foster conversation about a targeted skill-focused training or development program designed to help the employee reach the next level.

  • When is the deadline to complete annual performance reviews?

    Employees and managers now have access to the 2024 Performance Reviews, which should be completed by August 1, 2024.

  • How do I access my performance review?
    • Staff Access: From the PeopleSoft dashboard, click on My Self Service > My Performance, and then select “Annual Review” for the 7/1/23 to 6/30/24 review. Click on the different tabs – Instructions, Goals, Mid-Year, Annual, Competencies, and Feedback – to familiarize yourself with the available options. You will be entering your comments in the ‘Annual’ section.
    • Manager Access: From the PeopleSoft dashboard, click on Manage My Team > Team Performance, and then on the staff member’s name for the 7/1/23 to 6/30/24 review.
  • Are there any training guides of helpful tools provided for employees or managers?

    Yes.  Our Learning Launchpads are designed to help employees and managers discuss development and training by offering opportunities for improvement, growth, skill building, and leadership development.

    Additional online resources and reference guides can be found on the Harvard HR Performance Management site.

Recorded Trainings

Check out these recorded trainings to help Employees navigate the Performance Review Process

Check out these recorded trainings to help Manager navigate the Performance Review Process

Tips and Tools

  • Preparing for the conversation
    • Self-evaluation
      • Honestly evaluate your own performance
        • Be objective so as to not appear biased or self serving
        • Prepare a list of your accomplishments throughout the year, and be ready to talk about them
    • Show growth
      • Be prepared to show that you have improved in areas that were critiqued in previous year
      • Or, prepare to talk about your initiative in your own self development that shows growth in the things you are already doing well
    • Plans for the future
      • Be prepared to talk about ways in which your manager can support you achieve your goals.  This may mean skills you’d like to develop
    • Share with your manager
      • Encouraging a two way dialogue can be best done by giving your manager a chance to prepare for the conversation by reviewing what you’ve put together
    • Be open minded
      • Ask open ended questions to seek clarity
      • Catch your own emotions
      • If we become defensive, we stop listening
  • Listening Skills
    • Create the Right Environment: Set aside physical distractions to focus completely on the other person
      • Speaker: “Can we talk about a challenging situation that I am having?”
        Listener: “This is a good time. I will silence my phone and close the door to give you 100% of my attention.”
    • Seek to Understand: Focus on the speaker’s message, rather than your response
      • Bracketing: Imagine putting aside your nagging thoughts or the debate
      • Body Language: Lean forward, establish and maintain eye contact, comfortable posture
    • Paraphrase: Validate the speaker’s message by rephrasing, using your own words to confirm their meanings. Use reflective language
      • “As I hear it, you…” “I’m picking up that you…” “It sounds like you…”
    • Perception Check: Check your belief(s) about what the speaker feels or thinks – unspoken assumptions, conclusions, feelings
      • “It appears that you place a high value on…” “So, your feeling now is that…” “You seem to have a sense of…”

For accessible versions of these documents, please use the below links:

Additional Resources