Competencies, Performance Appraisals 101

AUC’s Office of Human Resources (HR) has recently launched the competencies framework along with a new performance management system titled My Performance Journey. These initiatives are meant to streamline performance, creating a foundation for employees to concentrate on their individual career development paths and roles in the strategic growth of the University.

To better understand what this means for employees and the AUC community, News@AUC sat with Sarah Refaat, HR’s associate vice president.

What has sparked the introduction of the competencies framework and the new performance management system?

 I joined HR two and a half years ago when plans had begun to shift the office from an operational position to a more strategic role. For the past two years, we’ve been streamlining to really focus on becoming a strategic HR. This is what will really drive employee performance, productivity and morale.

What are the three categories of competencies?

The three categories are Act, Unify and Connect.

To learn more about each individual competencies and how they are measured, click here.

Why are these competencies important?

The competency framework forms the foundation for all talent development at AUC. Before we begin communicating University initiatives, we need to build the proper infrastructure. For talent management in general, the competencies framework acts as a guiding infrastructure.

Based on this, we are currently interviewing and recruiting. We want to make sure that any talent coming into AUC is based on this competency framework. Competencies are related to behavior, and when you streamline employees’ behaviors, you streamline performance.

What is different about performance appraisals?

In parallel to our launch of the 10 competencies, we’ve introduced a framework for performance appraisals. It’s a very simple tool that helps us to link the goals of our employees’ with the University’s larger strategies. Everyone needs to be linked; we cannot work in an isolated environment.

Everyone should be managing his or her own performance on a daily basis. Managers and supervisors should also be monitoring their employees’ performance regularly. This framework is just an easy way to help us monitor performance and make calculations for merit increases.

What is the goal we should all be focusing on this year?

This year, we chose “institutional effectiveness as the strategic goal for the entire AUC community. This is something that involves everyone – the academic areas, non-academic areas, security, all members of our diverse workforce.

Each individual will determine four goals dedicated to individual job description and performance. Everyone will also have a larger development goal, and each person should be working on his or her own development plan.

This year, it will only be a half-cycle. Employees will set their goals now in November, and will be evaluated in May 2018. Starting July 2018, we will begin full-year cycles of performance appraisals.

How can employees work toward their development goals?

We see this unfolding as on-the-job development. Managers and supervisors don’t need to provide any formal course or training. This is something that comes from inside employees. Often, individuals want to jump up in the career ladder without thinking of the steps they should take. It’s not only about work-related tasks, but also about reflecting on your behaviors.  Can you manage others? Can you make decisions? These characteristics and more are important in our leaders, and are key to moving forward in your career path.

We hope people look at this as an uncomplicated process. Nobody should feel stressed. Of course, we should all take it seriously, but view it as a step toward promoting growth and development.

What are the benefits of this framework for performance appraisals?

This framework provides a simple tool that can help us to perform better and gather feedback. I always say that feedback is a gift, whether it is positive or negative. We need to take it as a basis for development, be proactive and remain positive. We want to encourage the community to use competencies and performance appraisals as a means to succeed.

How can employees learn more about this new framework?

We’ve started awareness sessions so employees can learn about how these performance appraisals are connected to development and merit increases. AUC is planning on conducting a program titled Living the Competencies for nominated champions. The program is designed so that participants go through experiential activities. It is a two-day workshop that will focus on the following objectives: 

  • To know, understand and live the competencies of the organization through an experiential approach
  • To discuss the various behaviors required to live the desired competencies in the workplace
  • To enable participants to transfer the program knowledge to their colleagues and spread awareness