The Performance Development process consists of three phases that provide a format for recording and submission of performance management information for an individual throughout the year.

Stage I: Goal Setting and Performance Planning
During this initial stage of the Performance Development cycle, the manager and employee work together to develop goals and objectives for the performance plan utilizing the employee's responsibilities and competencies as outlined in their job descriptions document. Goals must include expected results and outline a feedback plan so the performance plan can be most effective. The manager is responsible for approving the final version of the performance plan and reviewing the skills and competencies required to achieve those goals.

Stage II: Interim Plan Review
In order to encourage managers and employees to talk together about performance and progress on a regular basis, ongoing meetings are recommended throughout the year. These meetings should include periodic review/update of the plan document which can actually take place anytime during the year; it ensures that goals and performance are reviewed more often than annually.

Stage III: Performance Review and Assessment
A summary of the employee's progress and growth during the year and a review of goal achievement bring closure to the performance plan. This documentation and conversation guides the Performance Planning stage for the following year. At this time the individual’s job description containing the roles and responsibilities are also reviewed and updated. It encourages a reflective summary of ongoing discussions. This is an opportunity to have a positive, constructive influence on an employee’s performance through recognition of accomplishments and contributions.  

Link to Pay
The ongoing Performance Development process is the basis for decisions made by managers about salary increases. Annual opportunity for salary increases will be based on performance. Salary increases will occur using a common salary increase date of July 1.

The individual salary increase percentage is determined based on individual performance and is set within the constraints of the budgeted salary pool. Managers and the Direct Reports recommend percentage salary increases to the Direct Report of the Department on the performance of the individual in the position. The final approval for the increase is by the Direct Report of the Department.

Employee Recognition

Everyone wants to be acknowledged for a job done well. Employee recognition is used by managers and supervisors to recognize the positive actions and behaviors of the employees reporting to them.

General Guidelines for Employee Recognition for Managers/Supervisors
Recognition works when it is meaningful and memorable. Immediate feedback that is specific as to what was accomplished or done right is highly valued. Crucial elements include thanks, praise, and respect.

Reasons to Recognize:

  • For good work
  • For always being willing to help
  • A creative idea
  • For consistent quality
  • For going above and beyond what is asked
  • Meeting a goal
  • Finishing a project
  • Cost conscious behavior
  • Solving a problem
  • Perseverance
  • Overcoming obstacles to completing the work
  • For managing time appropriately
  • For motivating and inspiring others
  • For accepting responsibility
  • Employees who recognize other employees
  • Service to the Conservatory (service on committees)
  • Being a team player

Examples of Employee Recognition:

No Cost

  • Send a handwritten thank you note.
  • Send an e-mail.
  • Leave a voice mail for someone complimenting them on their hard work.
  • Send an appropriate cartoon or message to someone who is working on a stressful project.
  • Comment positively about how work was performed.
  • Call someone into your office to thank them for doing a good job – focus only on this and do not discuss other business.
  • Volunteer to help with a particular task even if only for a short time. This is great at building a team.
  • Ask your manager or Direct Report to call one of your employees and thank him/her for doing a good job.
  • Ask the employee for advice and suggestions.
  • Give public credit for ideas.
  • Acknowledge someone’s achievement at a staff meeting.
  • Go for a walk with your employee and talk about their work.
  • Give someone a little extra time off.
  • Allow flexibility in the work schedule.
  • Even negative feedback can be positive if framed as an opportunity for further career growth and development.

Low Cost

  • Buy someone a coffee or soda.
  • Buy someone a candy bar.
  • Buy someone an ice cream cone.
  • Buy lunch.
  • Have lunch or coffee with your employee and take an interest in their work. (You do not have to buy them lunch!)
  • If your department holds an annual retreat, acknowledge specific contributions, take pictures and give everyone a copy as a memento.
  • Send a plant or small bouquet of flowers.
  • Send a fruit or goodie basket.
  • Take a picture of the employee working on a project and give it to them with a note of thanks.
  • Give a subscription to a professional magazine or periodical.
  • Give a gift certificate.
  • Host a pizza party for a team that has accomplished a particular project.
  • Have a team celebration – remember to tie it in to the specific accomplishments being celebrated.


  • Allow the employee to attend a relevant conference.
  • Pay for membership in a professional association.

Cautions - Be careful about the following:

  • Something given to all employees in your group, regardless of contribution or effort, is a perk, not recognition.
  • Failure to be specific about what is praiseworthy.
  • Insincerity or false praise.
  • Timeliness - Recognition should take place close to when the behavior happens not two months later. Don’t wait for the annual performance appraisal.
  • Recognition needs to be work specific. Celebrating birthdays is not an acknowledgment of work performance.