Performance Appraisals and Pay for Performance


Beginning in 2016, UC Santa Cruz adopted a pay for performance (PFP) program for policy-covered (non-represented) staff at the direction of the Office of the President. The program is merit-based and was designed based on feedback from a variety of sources, including the Staff Engagement Survey, an advisory group, and various employee engagement events.  Due to the implementation of PFP last year, the percentage of performance appraisals completed rose 20 points (up to 97 percent from 77 percent in 2015).

Performance Appraisal Ratings

For 2017, performance appraisal ratings have been changed based on feedback from campus.  The following ratings will be used:

  • Exceptional
  • Consistently exceeded expectations
  • Met expectations
  • Improvement needed
  • Unacceptable

For more information regarding the attributes of individual ratings, please click here.

Budget and Suggested Increase Ranges for Performance Appraisal Ratings

Planning & Budget will provide to the divisions a three percent allocation (based on eligible employees) for centrally managed funds and all other funds will need to also make available a three percent allocation (based on eligible employees) per UCOP guidelines.  For an employee to be eligible, they must meet the following criteria:

  1. be policy-covered;
  2. have started before January 2, 2017; and
  3. have, as applicable, passed probation as of July 2, 2017.

For 2017, the Divisions of Undergraduate Education (UE) and Global Engagement (GE) have decided that anyone who receives a rating of Met Expectations or higher will receive no less than a 1.75 percent increase.  Unit heads will receive an allocation for their units based on eligible FTE to determine any individual increases in excess of the 1.75 percent base.  Per campus guidelines, individual increases cannot exceed 4.5 percent.

Information related to unit rosters and due dates will be communicated to unit heads at a further date.

Performance Appraisal Process

A major change for this year's performance appraisal process is that it is completely online.  The appraisal form can be accessed at  To familiarize yourself with the system, please review the resource links below. 

The deadline for completion of policy-covered employees' performance appraisals is July 28, 2017. Exclusively represented (union) employees' performance appraisals are due September 1, 2017.  It is critical that policy-covered employees' performance appraisals are turned in by the deadline to ensure that raises tied to the performance appraisal can be reviewed, approved, and processed.   It is important for employees and supervisors to understand that ratings help determine the merit increase, rather than the merit increase determining the appraisal rating.  

The appraisal should take into account performance from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, and be based on each employee’s key responsibilities, goals from last year’s evaluation (if applicable), and feedback received. UE and GE do not require a formal peer/collaborator feedback process, but it is recommended to incorporate feedback whenever available and appropriate, especially in units where dual reporting structures exist.

Goals for 2017-2018 should identify development that sustains, improves and builds performance, and enables the employee to contribute to strategic organizational objectives and foster employee growth. Goals should be developed in collaboration with the employee and should be clear, concise, and measurable.  While there is not a dedicated place on the performance appraisal tool for identifying next year's goals, it is recommended that 2017-18 Goals be listed as a function/goal/accomplishment to allow employee recommendations for supervisor consideration.

Employees will complete a self-appraisal that must be submitted within seven (7) days of the supervisor starting the appraisal process.  After seven (7) days, the supervisor can complete the appraisal.  The appraisal should be shared with the employee prior to a meeting scheduled between the supervisor and employee. The meeting should be in person (or via another interactive mode such as Zoom).  The meeting should provide an opportunity to discuss last year’s goals and achievements, as well as goals for the coming year in more detail. Once the supervisor and employee have met, the supervisor will advance the performance appraisal to the employee in the online system.  The employee will have seven (7) days to acknowledge/sign the appraisal electronically before it advances to the supervisor for signature, and then the next-level supervisor, both of whom have seven (7) days to sign.  It is important to note that an employee's electronic signature on their appraisal is not an indication of agreement with the content of the appraisal, rather an acknowledgment of receiving the appraisal.

For any employee that is having performance issues, particularly those that may result in ratings of needs improvement or unsatisfactory in any category, consult with your direct supervisor as soon as possible prior to completing the performance appraisal. Your supervisor will collaborate with you, Rhonda Rhodes (SHR Senior Employee Relations Analyst), and David Abercia (UE Assistant Vice Provost and Chief of Staff) on performance appraisals that include performance issues.

Performance Appraisal Timelines

Suggested, tiered timelines are below and individual units are free to modify their timeline to accommodate work schedules as long as all completed evaluations are submitted online to SHR by the appropriate campus deadline. 

Employee Group Receipt of Self Appraisal Appraisals Written and Meetings Held Completed Appraisals Signed and Submitted to SHR
Policy Covered July 10, 2017 July 24, 2017 July 28, 2017
Represented August 14, 2017 August 28, 2017 September 1, 2017


Any questions you have regarding the PFP program or the performance appraisal process should be directed to David Abercia ( or 9-4908).


Online Appraisal Process Help and Tutorials