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Performance Reviews

Annual performance reviews are a key component of employee development. The performance review is intended to be a fair and balanced assessment of an employee’s performance. UT Policy HR0129, Performance Review, specifies that the objective of the annual review is to provide all regular university staff and their supervisors an opportunity to:

  • Discuss job performance
  • Set goals for professional development
  • Establish objectives for contributing to the department’s mission
  • Discuss expectations and accomplishments

Several resources are available to help prepare supervisors and employees for the performance evaluation process:

Online training: Performance Review E-learning Course
In-person training: Knoxville-area training sessions are scheduled through Employee & Organizational Development (EOD). Please contact EOD at 865-974-6657 to schedule in-person training.


The Performance Review Summary Form is intended to serve for all staff members. A detailed explanation of the summary form’s components and instructions about how to use the form are included in the Performance Review Instruction Form. The Performance Review Summary Form is available in the following formats for your convenience:

  • Performance Review Summary Form (PDF) (Word) (January 1–December 2019)
  • Instructions for completing the summary form (PDF) (Word)
  • Performance Review FAQs (PDF) (Word)

If unit- or job-specific review forms are necessary to evaluate performance, alternate review forms may be utilized, but the same overall rating categories (consistently exceeds expectations, fully achieves and occasionally exceeds expectations, fully achieves expectations, sometimes achieves expectations and unsatisfactory/rarely achieves expectations) and numerical evaluation system (5 to 25 points) as the above-referenced summary form must be used.

Submit the completed Performance Review Summary Form (and any requested back-up documentation needed to support the final evaluation) to:

Human Resources
105 Student Services Building

Multiple Reviewers

Only one performance review can be submitted per staff member. If an employee is evaluated by more than one supervisor, the supervisors must come to agreement on one overall score.

Unsatisfactory Performance

Overall performance ratings of 9 and below are considered unsatisfactory. These ratings align with the “unsatisfactory/rarely achieves expectations” category.

Ineligibility for Pay Increases

Staff members receiving unsatisfactory overall performance ratings of 9 or lower are ineligible for across-the-board pay increases. Also, staff on current written warning, final written warning, or suspension without pay or employees who received a disciplinary demotion in the twelve months immediately preceding the effective date of the across-the-board increase are ineligible until the disciplinary action is resolved. Approval by HR and campus/institute leaders is required to provide or withhold an across-the-board pay increase outside of these guidelines.

Required Signatures

Performance reviews require the combined signatures of the employee, the employee’s supervisor, and the supervisor’s supervisor to ensure consistency and fairness. Performance review forms are not accepted until all three required signatures are included. The provision does not apply to the president, vice presidents and other executive-level supervisors who report directly to the president, chancellors and vice chancellors.

Required Performance Improvement Plan

Staff members who receive unsatisfactory overall performance ratings of 9 or lower are required to participate in a Performance Improvement Plan. A copy of this document should be submitted to HR along with the Summary Form. Performance improvement plans are also highly recommended for staff members who receive overall ratings of 10 to 14. These ratings align with the “sometimes achieves expectations” category.

The Performance Improvement Plan (PDF) (Word) is:

  1. Required for staff members who receive unsatisfactory overall performance ratings of 9 or lower on their performance reviews
  2. Highly recommended for staff receiving 10 to 14
  3. Optional for staff receiving 15 or above

Optional Forms

Two optional tools are available to help supervisors make informed decisions about performance. The optional tools explained below can be used at supervisors’ discretion to help in completing the performance review summary form and to address improvement needs.

The Optional Administrator, Supervisor or Peer Review Form (PDF) (Word) allows supervisors to collect feedback about an employee’s performance from those who work with the employee. The form should be completed at the supervisor’s request and returned to the supervisor.

The Optional Review Form for Employees with Supervisory Responsibilities (PDF) (Word) allows supervisors to evaluate an employee’s ability to lead others and/or manage a department.

For more information, review Policy HR0129 on Performance Reviews for Regular Staff Employees

Probationary Period Evaluation

All newly hired regular staff employees, including those converting from temporary or student to regular appointments, shall serve one probationary period of six calendar months in an active pay status with the university beginning with the first day of regular employment. Each regular staff employee shall have his or her work performance evaluated during this period. During this probationary period, employees are subject to discharge without recourse. However if a non-exempt employee is to be terminated for gross misconduct, the hearing requirement contained in the disciplinary action policy applies.

Employees hired after June 30 each year will only need to have a completed probationary review form on file for his/her annual performance review. However, departments are encouraged to meet with retained employees during their annual review period to familiarize them with the annual performance review process and to establish goals and objectives for the next calendar year.

If you have any questions about the process contact Human Resources at 865-974-6642.

Probationary Period Evaluation Form

Policy HR0135 on Probationary Review