Performance Evaluation Resources

The Performance Evaluation process focuses on year-round collaboration between leaders and their direct reports with a focus on positive development.

Connecting throughout the year in quarterly check-ins helps both leader and employee feel less burdened, places dedicated time on development, and allows for goals to be adjusted as environments change. It can also provide a more robust representation of an employee’s work at the end of the process.

This page will provide all the guidance and resources you need for a successful Performance Evaluation process.

We're in Q1!

This time of year means you should reflect back on last year’s performance review and start to formulate SMART goals for the current fiscal year. Looking for help getting started? Check out the full list of steps for Q1 outlined below or consider attending a microlearning about How to Use SMART Goals.

Performance Management Information Sessions

We’re here to support you and to help answer questions related to the FY24 annual performance evaluation process. Come learn, ask questions and experience the continuous cycle of performance management that culminates in the annual evaluation. Attendees will learn how to leverage Cornerstone to complete performance-related tasks and ask questions about the annual evaluation process. Register to attend.

  • Thursday, September 21, 2023 from 3:00pm - 3:50pm

  • Tuesday, October 3, 2023 from 10:00am - 10:50am 

  • Tuesday, October 24, 2023 from 11:00am - 11:50am

Cornerstone Office Hours

These “drop in” style sessions will be available for Leaders and employees to ask questions about Cornerstone system functionalities as they relate to Performance. Presenters will show step-by-step demonstrations within Cornerstone to answer questions. Attendance for the entire hour is not required.

  • Friday, September 22 from 12:00pm - 12:50pm (Zoom)

  • Thursday, October 5 from 4:00pm - 4:50pm (Zoom)

  • Wednesday, October 25 from 1:00pm - 1:50pm (Zoom

Cornerstone Videos

Check out these instructional videos to see how to complete step-by-step actions within Cornerstone. Videos on additional Cornerstone topics are coming soon. You can also find this content via the Get Help button on the Cornerstone homepage.

Performance Management By Quarter

Quarter 1 (July – September)

The start of the new fiscal year provides an opportunity to review last year’s evaluation, have impactful conversations about last year’s performance and what will carry over into this new year, and start working on job-specific work goals. 

  1. Review the 1-Year Performance Management Roadmap

  2. Review last year’s evaluation and note any items that will carry over to this year

  3. Hold a leader and employee check-in (Exploration Questions), preferably during an already scheduled 1:1 or Check-In.

  4. Employee begins to formulate current year Job Specific Work Goals in SMART format, with guidance from leader. SMART Goals Resources,  LinkedIn Learning Login Instructions

  5. Begin to reflect on professional development and encourage the employee to visit the Development Journey, and begin to create a Development Plan. This plan will not be rated but often aligns well with developing skills that will allow the employee to be successful in achieving their Job Specific Work Goals.

Leader identifies any Department Specific goals that will apply to employees within their span of control, and shares content with employees.

Quarter 2 (October – December)

If you haven’t started working on your SMART goals, it’s ok. The second quarter focuses on revisiting your goals and Development Plan, as well as preparing for your mid-year conversation. 


  1. Review the 1-Year Performance Management Roadmap
  2. Hold a leader and employee check-in (Exploration Questions), preferably during an already scheduled 1:1 or Check-In
  3. Revisit and refine Job Specific Work Goals.  If you haven’t started yet don’t worry, but it would be good to get moving on creating SMART goals Additional resources: SMART Goals Template
  4. Revisit and refine Development Plan as needed
  5. Prepare for Mid-Year Conversation

Quarter 3 (January – March)

The third quarter is when we begin to review our progress towards our current goals, make any necessary adjustments, and seek input from our colleagues about our overall performance this year. 

  1. Review the 1-Year Performance Management Roadmap

  2. Hold Mid-Year Conversation

  3. Begin to think about sending out 360 Reviews from peers and colleagues

  4. Revisit and refine Development Plan as needed

  5. Revisit and refine any work goals as needed

Quarter 4 (April – June)

By the time we reach the fourth quarter, much of the work has been done to make our evaluation process a success. There are a few final details to complete the current fiscal year review and start thinking about next year’s goals. 

  1. Review the 1-Year Performance Management Roadmap

  2. Hold a leader and employee check-in (Exploration Questions), preferably during an already scheduled 1:1 or Check-In.

  3. Continue to think about 360 Reviews and send 360 Review forms out.

  4. Provide 360 Review feedback to peers and colleagues, if requested.

  5. Revisit and refine Development Plan as needed

  6. Revisit and refine Job Specific Work Goals as needed

  7. Begin to think about Job Specific Goals for next year

  8. Complete the Performance Evaluation Steps in Cornerstone by June 30.


Performance Management FAQs

360° Review

What is a 360° review? Am I required to complete one?

    • A 360 Review gathers performance feedback from multiple parties; peers, Leaders, customers, direct reports, etc. Encouraging a broad range of perspectives will provide a more accurate account of employee performance. This information can be taken into consideration as part of the overall feedback process in performance management. 

    • 360 Reviews are highly encouraged, but optional. The only exception to them being optional would be if a department head decides to require them for their area.

    • Feedback can be provided at any time during the year, and you can use any method you choose, whether it be through Cornerstone Performance, email, Qualtrics, etc.


What is the deadline to submit FY24 evaluations?

  • The deadline to submit FY24 evaluations will be Sunday, June 30, 2024.

What is the deadline to submit a 6-month probationary form?

  • The 6-month probationary forms are due six months after the employee’s hire date.

What are the cutoff dates for employees to be considered eligible for filling out an evaluation?

  • If someone transfers from a Michigan Medicine department to another Michigan Medicine department, and was a Michigan Medicine employee prior to 1/1/2023 they will complete the evaluation. 

  • If someone was hired as a Michigan Medicine employee between July 1 - December 31 of the calendar year, they will complete the evaluation.

  • If someone was hired as a Michigan Medicine employee on January 1 or June 30 of the new calendar year they do not need to complete the evaluation this year, but will need to complete it next year.

Employee Status

I have an employee that transferred from campus to Michigan Medicine. How should the evaluation be conducted if the employee has been in the role for a short period of time?

  • In cases where an employee changes departments during the year, it’s recommended that their current supervisor reach out to the employee’s previous supervisor and ask them to 1) fill out the evaluation relating to goals they had in their past role and 2) share what rating the previous supervisor would give. This information will often help the new supervisor glean information about how the employee works, collaborates, and completes work.

  • If the employee has not been in the role long, this is an opportunity to outline your expectations for them in the current fiscal year.  Document their progress on the goal(s) keeping in mind the time (or lack thereof) that they had to make measurable progress.  It would also be good to use this as an opportunity to start outlining goals you’d have for them in the next fiscal year.

How do I handle conducting an evaluation for a post-doc employee?

Postdoctoral fellows use a different form than the evaluation. Refer to pages 18-20 of the Postdoctoral Handbook for reference.

Goal Setting

By when should our unit have goals set for the year?

  • Goals should ideally be set in the 1st quarter of the fiscal year (before the end of September), though this may be challenging for some areas.  To provide enough time for goal attainment and adjustment, we recommend having draft goals set no later than the end of October. 

Where can I get help with goal setting?

Do I need to set department-specific goals? Where can I see examples of what other departments have used?

  • Leaders have the option to make department specific goals required or optional for their span of control. 

Examples include but are not limited to:  Attention to Detail, PA Competencies, Pharmacy Tech Competencies, etc. See additional department specific goal examples submitted by several areas here.


How does the merit program operate within the fiscal year schedule? 

  • Merit percentages are typically approved by the Board of Regents in June (the last month of the fiscal year).  Following board approval, Compensation will send an email communication detailing the specifics of merit shortly after board approval (usually in June). Merit typically is effective in employee’s September paychecks. 

  • For more detailed information please contact the compensation team ( or your HRBP.  Compensation and the evaluation are technically two different processes but we try to align them to minimize confusion for customers.

What is the merit eligibility cut-off date?

  • The merit eligibility cut-off date is December 31, 2023 (an employee must be hired before January 1, 2024 to be eligible for merit). Any employee hired into U-M in 2024 does not need to complete the evaluation and is not eligible for merit in FY24 (July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024).


How can I differentiate between an “M” and an “E”?

My unit is full of top performers. Do I have to really follow the percentage breakdown for each rating?

  • We appreciate that this can be a challenge for supervisors with so many high performers. We like to use a sports analogy to illustrate why it's important to make these distinctions in ratings. For example, the Michigan football team aims to field a winning team with high performers every year. The standard of quality of performance doesn't change, but the bracket of excellence may change depending on the behaviors exhibited by players in a given season. Having more high performers bumps that bracket up overall. And even though a team may be full of all-stars, it's important to identify who you'd qualify as a "starter" and call out the behaviors that position these players as stand-out performers in comparison to their teammates. It can be challenging, but it is a great exercise in articulating differences in performance quality.


Why are evaluations conducted?

  • Evaluations are an opportunity for Leadersand direct reports to find areas in which improvements can be made and to talk about what they’re interested in. Also, for regulatory purposes we have to demonstrate that a person is proficient in their job.

What should I include in the written sections of the evaluation? I’m stumped!

  • For Leaders: Comments should support however you’ve rated that employee. If they’ve knocked it out of the park this year, write HOW they’ve done that. The LinkedIn Learning course Performance Review Foundations: Writing the Review is a helpful resource around this topic.

  • If you know you have a challenging evaluation, talk through where alignment can improve. The LinkedIn Learning course Performance Review Foundations: Tackling Tough Phrasing is a helpful resource around this topic.

  • For direct reports: The evaluation is an opportunity to highlight what you’re most proud of during the year, and to report out the status of your annual goals.


Do you have questions that have not been answered here? Email Sarah Button at with your question and she’ll be in touch!

For additional information, please contact the following resources: