Successful performance management processes must fit the unique needs of various college and university departments and employees.
“Many different employees have many different responsibilities in higher education, and granting each department the freedom to develop evaluation frameworks — while maintaining completion, consistency and continuous feedback — will best prepare team members to contribute to institutional goals,” said Heather Murray, director of strategic partnerships at PeopleAdmin and former associate director of human resources at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
“Within those departmental frameworks, managers should work with employees to set individual goals, and hold them accountable for course correction. This approach helps employees see where they currently stand in their department, and where they could potentially contribute more value.”
The Harvard Business Review also advocates this one-size-fits-one approach, and identified speed, agility, constant learning, and collecting reliable performance data as keys to effective performance management. 
Emily Wilson, assistant director of learning and organizational development at Appalachian State University (App State) in Boone, North Carolina, agreed.
“Make performance management agile, constant and consistent — and encourage others to look at it from a coaching standpoint, instead of as something that you do at the beginning and end of the year. That will lead to more effective processes and minimize the time commitment,” she said.
Several reports agreed that annual or semi-annual feedback is too infrequent to impact behavior and performance, and recommend more frequent one-on-one meetings between employees and supervisors to discuss performance, develop strategies to overcome challenges, and adapt goals and expectations in real time. ,,
“Research shows that the closer to an event that you receive feedback, the more likely you are to either stop doing that thing your supervisor doesn’t want you to do or continuing doing the activity that brought you praise,” Emily said.
The Harvard Business Review found frequent performance conversations between employees and managers led to increased performance, and CEB — a best practices and talent management insights provider — suggested providing real-time, informal feedback did the same. ,
Higher education leaders that we spoke to agreed that increased frequency and reduced formality were important, but the specific terms should differ based on roles.
Here are some actions colleges and universities can take to determine meeting frequencies that may work well for different types of higher education employees: