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Performance Management

The University of Georgia is committed to providing employees with reasonable resources needed to be successful in
their jobs. The University encourages open communication between employees and supervisors. Performance coaching includes a range of options that may include verbal coaching, written warning, suspension with or without pay, and/or termination.  

It is the role of the supervisor to communicate job performance expectations to the employee. The University of Georgia reserves the right to bypass or accelerate any and all steps depending on circumstances. This guide is intended to serve as a tool to help supervisors evaluate and respond to employee performance in a fair and effective manner.  It is not intended to stand alone, nor does it constitute legal advice regarding specific incidents.


Click below to view UGA's standard template for annual performance evaluations. Please note that some units have approval to use custom templates, so please check with your HR Liaison to determine whether a different template is being used for your unit. 






Staff Competency Model

UGA places a strong emphasis on organizational culture, continuous learning and performance improvement for all staff. The Staff Competency Model is a collection of competencies that integrate knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics that translate into specific behaviors. These behaviors are grounded in the university’s values, mission and strategy and can help staff members better understand what is needed to perform a particular job successfully. UGA’s Staff Competency Model consists of two types of competencies: Core Competencies & Leadership Competencies. Learn more about this model and how it can be useful for your and your team here





Counseling occurs where there are performance issues and may be used to assist the employee in achieving a satisfactory level of performance prior to initiating more formal written warnings.


Before you act, ask yourself:

- Is the employee aware of the policy or expected behavior?

- Have I objectively gathered all the facts?

- Has the employee had the opportunity to respond?

- Am I responding quickly, consistently, and reasonably?

- Has the employee been previously counseled?

- How severe is the problem or infraction?  What was the impact, or possible impact, of the employee’s action?

- Were there legitimate obstacles to proper performance?


Coaching is the ongoing process whereby the supervisor directs the development of the employee through regular performance feedback. If the employee is meeting the supervisor’s expectations, positive feedback can be used to reinforce performance and further motivate the employee to even higher levels of performance.


Benchmarks and specific achievements should be discussed. Supervisors should communicate expectations for improvement clearly and in a timely manner.


Supervisors should be prepared to:

- Review the employee’s job description with the employee

- Be direct and as specific as possible in identifying deficiencies or incidences and their significance

- Give employees examples of what "success" looks like in their role

- Give the employee a chance to assess their own capacity and commitment to a position

- Problem-solve with employees who are attempting to fulfill their job obligations

- Identify the process for on-going assessment of improvement

- Assess tools, systems and any recent changes in workload or areas of responsibility

- If necessary, to explain the consequences of failure to improve within a fairly established timeline

- Keep notes on the content and date of the conversation for their own recollection



If coaching does not lead to improved performance or behavior, or if the issues at stake are considered relatively urgent, the supervisor should outline expectations in a memo to the employee, making it clear that the employee’s success in the position is the goal of this action. This document should include expectations for improvement and additional training when warranted.  The goal is to emphasize improved performance. 

Options may include a more time-specific written document about consequences, up to and including termination of employment.  Multiple letters may be used to address performance.These letters are used to record a pattern of non-performance.



The Workforce Engagement team is chartered with assisting the University community to develop and maintain a positive work environment. We provide employee relations expertise as a source of information and guidance on UGA administrative policies and procedures for both employees and supervisors. The University of Georgia encourages positive working relationships and a quality of work life through the fair treatment and resolution of employee interests and concerns.

Contact : 706-542-9756

Sige Burden, Sr. Director, Workforce Engagement


Tracey O'Malley


Adrianna Creech

Sandrika Walker



Letters of counseling and letters of warning are two examples of disciplinary letters.  Supervisors may contact the office of Workforce Engagement in HR for letter templates.  Use a disciplinary letter when an employee demonstrates repeated fails to meet work standards.  The letter of counseling or letter of warning should include at a minimum:

  • Tasks and responsibilities with a description of the work standard
  • Most recent example of failure to meet the work standard
  • Expected performance
  • Potential disciplinary steps for lack of improvement
  • Demotion/suspension/termination of employment


In the event that performance does not meet the Performance Accountability Plan, employment may be terminated. 
For gross misconduct, supervisors may consider suspending the employee without pay.  Coaching, performance accountability, and commitment plans should focus more on improved employee outcomes rather than withholding salary.  Suspension without pay should be reserved for gross misconduct. 

When a non-probationary, non-contract employee is suspended without pay, demoted, or terminated, the employee should be informed in writing of the specific reasons for the action taken. In the letter, advise the employee of his/her
right to answer the charges by appealing to the next higher administrative level in the employing unit. The employee should also be advised of his/her/their grievance appeal rights as outlined in the UGA Grievance and Disciplinary Review Policy.

Suspension, demotion, or termination must first be approved by the Office of Workforce Engagement in HUman Resources.  Please contact Workforce Engagement at 706-542-9756.  

The duration of the Performance Accountability and Commitment Plan will depend on many factors, including type of position, clarity or severity of the issue and assessment of likelihood of improvement.  In the Written Performance Accountability and Commitment Plan, employees will be given a reasonable amount of time to demonstrate the required improvement. While the plan will include a timeframe, employment may be ended during the plan if there is not demonstrated improvement and goals are not met.

Supervisors and employees are encouraged to contact Workforce Engagement to discuss job and work place concerns.


If there are allegations of a violation of the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy or retaliation, UGA’s Equal Opportunity Office should be contacted at 706-542-7912.


Dispute Resolution Policy

Human Resources section of the F&A Policy Website

UGA Equal Opportunity Office, (706) 542-7912

UGA Human Resources, Director of Workforce Engagement, (706) 542-9756

UGA Office of Legal Affairs, (706) 542-0006


Key: Disciplinary Actions


Coaching and performance accountability plan


Disciplinary letter


Final warning




Work violations and suggested responses

Example infraction

Disciplinary options*

*Remember: Consideration should always be given to the nature of the incident, the frequency of the violation, and the employee’s overall work record before disciplinary action is taken. Before acting, supervisors should ask themselves if they have researched potential obstacles to employee performance.






Poor performance of duties, including failure to follow instructions.






Any activity which violates federal or state standards regulating the provision of professional services or violation of regulations affecting continued licensure, commissioning, or certification in a profession.

D F T    

Failure to adhere to University or departmental policies or procedures






Insubordination, including refusal to follow instructions from supervisors or other proper authorities.

D D F T  

Use of profane, loud, or boisterous language on University premises, or actions which may be discourteous






Violation of an attendance policy (violations which are unrelated to FMLA)




 F T

Being in an unfit condition to perform the duties of the job, including sleeping on the job or working under, or suspected of working under, the influence of drugs or alcohol.




 F T

Unauthorized or improper use of University property.





Falsifying records, including but not limited to intentional failure to accurately record time records or registering the time card of another employee without proper authorization.




Behavior which compromises another's privacy or discloses confidential University information, including medical information






Questions? Contact or (706) 542-2222