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Performance at IU

A culture of conversations

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers will help you better understand Performance at IU. If your question is not addressed here ask your department or school's HR professional. You can also submit a question to the Performance at IU project team.

About the Program

What is Performance at IU: A culture of conversations?

This performance management program is a consistent, collaborative, and ongoing process to help staff achieve their full potential through clear expectations, recurring conversations between staff and leaders, frequent feedback, and a focus on professional growth and development.

The program repeats annually, with achievable and measurable quarterly goals.

How does the program work?

Four exercises (the four guided conversations) can create a culture of conversations where role expectations are known, and conversations occur between leaders and employees to guide individual achievement and development.

Putting these four guided conversations into routine use will create a culture where purposeful conversations are the norm.

Why build a culture of conversations?

Building a culture where frequent, purposeful conversations occur between leaders and staff will:

  • Ensure staff know what is expected of them and how they can succeed.
  • Reduce barriers to staff’s success.
  • Enhance staff engagement.
  • Drive accountability and performance through a consistent and comprehensive approach to performance management.
  • Strengthen IU’s ability to attract, retain, and inspire talent.
What’s the first step in the program?

The goal of the first quarter is for staff to participate in a simple, guided “expectation conversation” with their leader, which ensures staff has a clear understanding of the responsibilities of their role.

Goals for the remaining three quarters focus on regular check-in conversations, development conversations, and annual performance conversations. More information, support, and training will accompany each new quarter.

What is the connection between the Performance at IU program and pay?

There is no direct connection between Performance at IU and pay. If you have specific questions related to pay and performance as it pertains to your unit, please ask your HR professional.

Expectations of Participants

Who needs to participate in these conversations?

This program is being phased in for all appointed staff, with the staff and leaders of following groups participating in 2023:

  • University Administration
  • Regional campuses
  • IU School of Medicine
  • IUB Jacobs School of Music
  • IUPUI McKinney School of Law
  • IU Police

Staff members represented by a union will not participate in 2023, with the exception of AFSCME Police.

What is expected of leaders?

For the first quarter, lead a one-on-one conversation with each staff employee about expectations of their role by March 31.

What is expected of staff?

For the first quarter, participate in an expectation conversation with their leaders no later than March 31 and then “attest” to their participation using a quick online form.

Process and Conducting the Meeting

Do we have to use the Expectation Conversation Guide on the Performance at IU website?

The guide is provided to help set expectations and ensure best practices are met. It is not required that you use the form, but highly recommended.

My team set expectations recently, but outside the time January—March time period, do I have to have another expectation conversation?

Use this time period as an opportunity to revisit the expectations and make sure that you both understand the expectations and what success looks like.

We encourage leaders to review that conversation and remind employees of the attestation they will be asked to complete as part of the program.

How long should an expectation conversation be?

Conversations are 30-60 min. This does not include any prep work for the conversation. Check out the Expectation Conversations Guide for more guidance.

How can I prepare for an expectation conversation?

Leaders and employees can prepare by:

  • Reviewing the essential responsibilities of the position
  • Determining the essential functions of the job
  • Defining success for the position
  • Brainstorming questions
  • Outlining the support needed to succeed

Check out the Expectation Conversations Guide for more guidance.

How much time would you recommend leaders spend preparing for each Expectation Conversation?

Preparation will vary depending on the position and the associated responsibilities. To be safe, plan on two-to-four hours of preparation per team member.

As leaders, what should we be telling our employees to do in preparation for an Expectation Conversation?

Both you and your employees can prepare by:

  • Reviewing the essential responsibilities of their job
  • Determining the essential functions of the job
  • Defining what success looks like for the job
  • Brainstorming questions
  • Outlining the support needed to succeed

Be sure to review the Expectation Conversation web page and the related guide for more information and guidance.

Do I have the same conversations with my union-covered staff?

Supervisors are still encouraged to have the Performance at IU conversations with union-covered staff. However, these employees will not be required to complete the attestation.

I have completed my 2022 annual review conversation, does that affect this process?

No, you can complete the 2022 materials. If materials include expectations for 2023, then you can complete the attestation. If not, then the staff member and the leader need to have an expectation conversation before completing the attestation.

What if my leader has not scheduled an expectation conversation?

Both the leader and the employee have a role in managing the performance management process and in ensuring that the employee has the tools and resources needed to be successful. Connect with your leader to schedule an expectation conversation meeting.

Where can I find role descriptors?
  1. Determine the individual’s position classification information. You can reach out to your HR professional, or use the IU Org Chart to view position descriptions.
    1. Go to One.iu.edu
    2. Search for “Employee Center” and launch it
    3. Click the IU Org Chart tile
    4. Search for the individual name, or click “View my Profile”
    5. Click Job Details
  2. Using the position classification information, visit the Career Navigator to view individual role descriptors.  Follow the steps in this guide.
How do I conduct an expectation conversation with a remote employee?

Meetings can take place via Zoom, Teams, or other similar technologies. The best practices are the same regardless of the setting of the meeting.

Some members of my team have the exact same expectations, can I group some expectation conversations together?

You can set and communicate expectations as it works best for your team. However, make sure that you set aside time for individual questions and give people time to address individual concerns. One-on-one meetings and feedback conversations should be done individually.

Does my supervisor need to have an Expectation Conversation with me before I do the same with my staff?

No. You do not need to wait on your supervisor to have a conversation with you before you start meeting with your team members.

Some members of my team have not received emails regarding this new program. How can I get them added to the mailing list?

Please reach out to with this concern and provide information on who did not receive the email so we can look into it and advise you.

Attestation

What is the purpose of the attestation?

The attestation helps to ensure that all appointed staff have had an expectation conversation with their leader. Additionally, it establishes a baseline of performance management practices across participating groups.

How many questions are on the attestation?

There are three questions – one to select who conducted the conversation and two yes/no questions regarding the completion of the conversation and clarity as a result of the conversation.

How do I complete the attestation?

Staff will receive an email with the link to the attestation and will continue to receive the email until the attestation is complete. The attestation will be open March 1–April 15, 2023. It will also be available at one.iu.edu (search for Performance at IU).

Do I complete the attestation even if I didn’t have an Expectation Conversation?

Yes. If you haven’t had an Expectation Conversation with your leader by March 31, please complete your attestation and enter that it did not occur.

Tracking whether or not employees engage in a conversation about the expectations of their job allows IU to benchmark its progress in creating a culture where essential conversations are occurring between leaders and staff.

Will Managers be informed of their employees’ responses to the attestation?

No. Managers will not receive notifications. Unit HR professionals will receive updates on completion.

How do I support a team member in completing the attestation after the completion of the expectation conservation?

Remind staff that they will receive an email from IUHR containing a link to their attestation form. The attestation will be open March 1–April 15, 2023. It will also be available at one.iu.edu (search for Performance at IU).

How will attestation data be used?

The data will be shared with HR business partners, campus/unit leadership, and with university executive leadership.

Other

What if we want to participate in the program but are not part of phase one?

Recordings of the training, as well as tools and resources, will be accessible on the IUHR web site. A unit or school can implement the Performance at IU: a culture of conversations program on their own or in order to prepare for later adoption. Please reach out to your HR professional and or Talent and Organization Development to discuss this further.

Why are some units participating now and some not?

This is a phased program that will incorporate the entire university’s staff. The next phase of adoption begins January 2024.

How should we store the expectation conversation document?

Related documents are meant to serve as a template for ongoing performance conversations. Please retain a copy in your supervisor or departmental personnel files. Additionally, ensure that the supervisor and employee retain a copy for their records. For more information about types of documentation to retain, see Accessing Human Resources and Departmental Personnel Files.

What happens if there is a vacancy, no supervisor, or no staff member?

Only filled positions are included in the performance management process and reporting.

What happens if the supervisor of record is not my direct supervisor?

Your direct supervisor is able to set expectations and conduct the expectation conversation.

To record who leads your conversation, your online attestation will allow you to choose your direct supervisor by typing their name or username.

Recent organization alignments have my position reporting to two people. Who should lead my expectation conversation?

In most cases it will make sense for the direct supervisor to develop the expectations and guide the conversation. The two leaders may decide to collaborate in the creation of expectations if needed.

I was hired or transferred departments during the conversation window, what should I do?

As a new employee, either to Indiana University or a new department, it is a great time to meet with your new supervisor to have an expectations conversation. Take this opportunity to connect with your supervisor and discuss the expectations of your position.