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FAQs

 Click on the frequently asked questions below, to view to the answer. To read the rest of the overview and explore resources, visit the overview page.

General Questions

What is Performance Excellence?

Performance Excellence is a year-round experience that supports individual performance and development through meaningful goals, ongoing coaching and feedback and end-of-year performance reviews and conversations.

This staff-focused experience launched to select departments last year in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Feinberg School of Medicine and all staff in Alumni Relations and Development and the Office of Human Resources.

We are now moving forward with University-wide implementation for the 2018 performance year. Performance Excellence is simpler and stronger, will be completed online and is focused on meaningful goals and living our Northwestern values.

How do I get started in developing my goals?

The most powerful planning starts with a question: "What value am I creating in my role, and for whom?" Have a conversation with your supervisor about how your role creates value and helps advance your department and unit goals. You should also consider how your role is linked to the University's values and behaviors. Role-based examples are currently available to assist you in developing your goals. Please see our goal-setting job aid to learn more.

How are my goals different from the tasks in my job description?

A job description is essentially a list of responsibilities and tasks to be performed by a staff member. In contrast, goals are measurable outcomes that describe the impact of your work. Please see our goal-setting job aid for more information.

What if my supervisor does not agree with my goals?

Performance Excellence is designed for you and your supervisor to develop and align on your goals together.

I accidentally submitted my review to my supervisor before I was ready, what should I do?

Your supervisor or HR administrator can re-open your review.  To do so, they would follow these steps:

  1. In myHR Learn, open the staff member's review.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the form.
  3. Click on the More Actions button and choose "Re-open Review."
  4. Notify the staff member that they can now edit their review.

Will Performance Excellence impact merit increases?

As in the past, performance is an important consideration in compensation decisions.

What if I do not agree with the rating I've been given?

As in the past, staff members are asked to acknowledge they have received a review, and not whether they agree with it. If a staff member believes they are being treated unfairly, they should discuss this with their supervisor, their school/unit HR Administrator, or their Human Resources Business Partner.

I'm a supervisor and I need guidance about the Performance Excellence process. Where can I find help?

Visit Performance Excellence for Supervisors in the For Managers and Administrators section of this website. It offers guidance and tools for this process.

Changes to Performance Excellence

Why was the process changed?

We think the time you spend on Performance Excellence can be more valuable to you. Advances in the field and review of our past process suggest a better way, including a focus on meaningful ongoing conversations between staff and supervisors, and simplifying the year-end process. Much of the administrative work has been streamlined and many aspects of Performance Excellence will happen online. 

Where can I learn more?

Look at the resources available throughout this site, specifically the “Getting Started” guides for staff and supervisors. 
For policy and process questions, contact your school or unit's HR Administrator. For technical support related to Performance Excellence in myHR Learn, call (847)491-4357 (1-HELP) or email consultant@northwestern.edu.

 

What is SIMple goal setting? How does it differ from SMART goal setting?

Just like SMART, SIMple is an acronym, where SIM stands for SpecificImportant and Meaningful. You will set a smaller number of performance goals (between 2-4 goals) that describe the impact you will make. Learn more on our goal-setting page and within this goal-setting job aid.

Did the rating scale change?

We moved to a simpler 5-level rating framework in the 2017-18 performance year, with descriptive labels rather than numbers. Please visit our review results page to learn more.