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Performance assessment interviews at UiO

A performance assessment interview is a planned, systematic and personal interview between an employee and a manager. Managers have the main responsibility for planning and conducting performance assessment interviews.


About the performance assessment interview

  • In its personnel policy platform, UiO emphasises systematic follow-up of the individual employee through, among other things, regular performance assessment interviews. The purpose of the performance assessment interview is to create a better basis for accomplishments and a good working environment.
  • The performance assessment interview deals with the work situation and should be used as a tool for planning and development. The ambition is to promote mutual trust and openness, good communication and good collaboration so that the individual is best able to perform their tasks.
  • Managers can use the performance assessment interview to map the resources and situation of their unit and in this way the performance assessment interview will be a useful tool for planning and developing the individual entity.
  • There is no set procedure for how performance assessment interviews are carried out. The performance assessment interview is a supplement to the ongoing dialogue between the employee and the manager.
  • In principle, the interview is conducted with the immediate manager with responsibility for personnel. However, the interview partner may depend on work and responsibilities. For academic staff, a head of department or other academic director or coordinator will be a natural interview partner.
  • UiO has prepared an interview form as support and guidance for preparing and conducting performance assessment interviews. There are separate interview forms for academic staff, research fellows and technical and administrative staff, respectively. The forms are standardised and contain the subjects that the performance assessment interview should contain at a minimum. There are relatively few standardised questions for each topic. In preparation for the interview, the manager should draw up their own questions tailored to the employee in question. The section below provides examples of questions for each topic. However, it is important that the manager asks follow-up questions that suit the employee's situation. The success criterion for a successful interview lies in how the individual employee and manager choose to fill the performance assessment interview with meaningful elaboration of the key subjects.
  • Some units have their own guidelines for responsibility for performance assessment interviews.

Contents of performance assessment interview

1. Follow-up and the conclusions of the previous performance assessment interview

If you have had a performance assessment interview with each other before, it is natural to look at what has happened during this period. Proceed from the conclusions you agreed on at the previous performance assessment interview.

Examples of questions

  • What did you agree on at the previous performance assessment interview and what has been achieved in relation to this?
  • What has not been achieved?
  • Why?
  • How do you view your own efforts over the past year?

2. Tasks

Discuss the employee's tasks as well as their prioritisation, and discuss any wishes for changed tasks. View the tasks in light of the department's, faculty's or division's goals. Clarify your understanding of the employee's work. What are important/less important tasks? How can the work be carried out in the best possible way?

Examples of questions

  • How do you see your work area and your duties in the context of your department's/organisation's goals?
  • Do you have suggestions for changes or improvements to your work routines at the organisational unit? What are they?
  • Are you satisfied with your duties, responsibilities and authority?
  • Alternatively: Do you want it to be clearer?
  • In what areas can you do a better job? Are there any special circumstances that are preventing you from doing this?
  • To what extent are you satisfied with your own efforts?
  • What are you most satisfied with when performing your job?
  • What are you least satisfied with when performing your job?
  • Is the time you spend on the individual tasks what you had planned?
  • Are resources sufficiently well utilised concerning staffing within your area of work?
  • What tasks should be emphasised in the coming year?
  • Is the distribution of tasks sensible or should it be changed, if so how?
  • Would you like to have other tasks in the short/long term?
  • What plans and goals are important to set for the next period?

3. Management

The employee shall provide feedback on how he/she experiences his/her manager. How does the manager fulfil their management function? The purpose is to give managers feedback on their performance and provide input that can better enable the manager to perform their managerial duties.

Examples of questions

  • What goals do you expect to achieve within your area of work over the course of the next year?
  • What specific activities should be initiated to achieve the goals?
  • Do you get the follow-up you need from me?
  • How do I perform in relation to you and your work situation?
  • In what situations do I motivate you and which ones do I not?
  • Do you have enough time to discuss your work situation and your tasks with me?

4. Working environment and collaboration

Working environment shall be included as a topic in the performance assessment interview. Here, both parties should express their views. How do you get along with colleagues and other staff? How do you work together? Specific wishes and complaints should be discussed both in relation to the psychosocial and physical working environment. What we can do to improve the situation? 

Note: UiO does not accept any form of harassment. The performance assessment interview can be an important tool for revealing whether an employee experiences being harassed. If an employee experiences inappropriate behaviour, an assessment must be made of the severity and whether there is a need to convene a separate meeting to delve into the matter or whether immediate action needs to be taken. Questions are included in the templates to uncover this, see also suggestions for elaboration questions below. All notifications shall be taken seriously and followed up, see procedure for handling reported cases.

Examples of questions

  • How would you characterise your job situation right now?
  • What do you need to get closer to an ideal situation?
  • What does it look like around you when you feel that your job works well for you and others?
  • How are you getting along in your work?
  • How do you think the last year has been at work?
  • How are you getting along in your division/department/section?
  • What conditions at work have a positive or negative impact on your enjoyment of your work?
  • Are your work premises suitable?
  • Are the resources/work equipment sufficient to perform your job in a sound manner?
  • Is there anything else that has not been addressed that affects your work situation and that you wish to discuss?

Elaboration questions in case of suspicion of harassment

5. Competence, professional and personal development

How does the employee function in their position today? Ask him/her to propose their own development needs and future plans. Provide feedback on whether needs and plans are realistic.

Examples of questions

  • What are your strongest sides?
  • What do you want to become better at?
  • Do you have qualifications/talents that you do not get to utilise in your current position?
  • What areas of your work do you want to develop? In what areas do you need greater competence?
  • What kind of skills do you need to do a better job?
  • What development measures do you want (courses etc.)?
  • In what areas do you want personal and/or professional development?
  • Does the position provide opportunities for development in the manner you desire?
  • What areas (large and small) do you have special expertise in?
  • Do your colleagues have expertise that you need to make better use of?
  • How can the exchange of competence best take place?

Additional questions for employees who have turned 60

  • What are your ambitions going forward a few years?
  • How do you view your future at the unit/faculty/UiO?

6. Plans and goals

Discuss the plans and goals you believe are important to prioritise until the next performance assessment interview. The goals should be realistic and timed. They must be within the employee's area of responsibility and authority.

7. Follow-up of the performance assessment interview

Make sure that there is agreement on what is to be followed up afterwards before you end the interview. What is to be done when? Who is responsible? What is a satisfactory result? Develop a follow-up and development plan that both parties sign. Both are responsible for monitoring what you have agreed to. Conduct the performance assessment interview regularly. Once a year should be an objective.

Preparations for the performance assessment interview

  • Set aside time for the interview
    The performance assessment interview should be scheduled well in advance and last 1-2 hours. The manager is responsible for giving notice of the performance assessment interview. In order for the interview to be perceived as meaningful, it is important that both parties come prepared.
  • Location of the interview
    Choose the location of the interview wisely. Find a room that is sheltered from disturbances while contributing to a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Preparations for the performance assessment interview
    Successful conduction of the performance assessment interview will depend, among other things, on the employee's and manager's preparation. In support of the preparation, UiO's performance assessment interview form can be used, see the list of forms in the right margin. Managers are advised to review sample questions for each topic in the section above or separate overview and note those that seem most suitable and inspiring for the specific interview.
  • Preparation by manager
    In preparation for the performance assessment interview, the manager may benefit from asking himself/herself the following questions: 
    • What do I want to achieve with this performance assessment interview?
    • What are the employee's distinctive qualities and strengths?
    • What have I noticed that the employee has done that have really been constructive contributions to the organisation? Why have these been important contributions?
    • What would I like the employee to endeavour to do more of (or differently)?
    • How will the employee notice that I have registered that developments are moving in the desired direction going forward?
    • How do I assess the employee's work effort?
    • What do I think motivates the employee?
    • Does the employee have the right conditions to carry out their tasks?
    • What expectations do I myself have of the employee?
    • What do I think are the strengths and weaknesses of the employee? Do these match their areas of responsibility?
    • Does the employee have any particular challenges?
    • If I think that some topics will be difficult to talk about, what approach should I choose and when in the interview will I address them?

What do I do as a manager during the performance assessment interview?

  • Expectations
    The employee will normally come to the interview with several expectations and needs to know what the manager expects. What conditions make it possible to live up to these expectations? The employee wants clear feedback on their own efforts. He/she wants to be fairly judged and rewarded. As a manager, you show that you take the employee and performance assessment interview seriously by being well prepared and have set aside plenty of time.
  • How should managers act during the interview 
    • An introduction with informal chatting can help get the interview off to a good start. A general piece of advice in relation to the conduction of the interview is to take a listening and questioning attitude towards the employee. Encourage the employee to talk about their experience of the organisation and their own work situation.
    • The performance assessment interview should not be a staging ground for all negative matters. Corrections or feedback on undesirable conduct and the like should be given when it happens in order for them to be effective, while an accumulation of criticism does not create a good climate for the growth and development the interview depends on.
    • However, it is not uncommon for the employee to make critical comments, either against the manager or against other circumstances in the organisation. Meet any criticism with humility. Be prepared to take criticism that comes across the table in the course of the interview. Do not take a defensive position and do not be argumentative. Instead, focus your eyes on the future. Get the necessary views on the table by focusing on expectations and the future rather than discussing the past.
  • How to provide feedback 
    • Whether you give criticism or praise, it should be illustrated with clear and specific examples. Present the matter through facts if you need to address something problematic about the employee's behaviour. Avoid giving your subjective assessment of the employee's behaviour. Instead, focus on how you want the future to look. The performance assessment interview is not the right arena for discussing issues of a serious nature.
    • Be clear in your feedback if the employee makes any requests or demands you know are not possible to carry out. Unspecific formulations, such as that you will "look" at it, can create false hopes and disappointment at a later date.
    • Do not push for consensus if you and the employee disagree. Instead, clarify each other's views and establish that you have different views on the matter.
    • The goals and measures you arrive at for the next interview must be realistic. Likewise, the resources needed to reach the goals must be available.
    • Before the interview ends, make sure that the employee does not have unaddressed issues. Feel free to ask the employee how he/she experienced the interview.

What do I do as a manager after the performance assessment interview?

  • If the performance assessment interview is to become an effective tool for the development of employees, the agreed follow-up and development plan must be followed up. If there is nevertheless something that cannot be accomplished, you must go back to the employee to adapt the plans.
  • When the interview is over, you can summarise by asking yourself the following questions: 
    • Did the interview get off to a good start and have a good finish? Was the mood positive?
    • Who managed the interview and how was the speaking time distributed?
    • Did we follow the form or was the interview marked by spontaneity?
    • Did I actively listen?
    • Did we talk about negative matters?
    • Did we manage to finish up and come to conclusions in relation to all topics that were addressed?
    • Were expectations from both parties presented with openness?
    • Was there potential conflict, and how in that case was it handled?
    • Were agreements, plans and goals formulated in a precise enough manner?
    • Did I say what I wanted in a way that was understood?
    • Did I capture what the employee thought about the interview?

Topics and areas that can affect the interview

  • Control range
    It is usually clear at the central level and at the faculty level who is responsible for the performance assessment interview. At the departments, the variation between the departments can be wide in terms of the number of academic staff and research fellows and how the administration and technical services are organised. At a smaller department, the head of the department can conduct interviews with both academic and technical and administrative staff. This can be insurmountable and impractical at large departments. Each department must therefore find the solution that is most appropriate for their unit. The performance assessment interview can be delegated and each manager must assess how to organise it. For example, it is possible to carry out the performance assessment interview only every two years.
  • Interview about pay
    Pay is a central issue for many and the desire to discuss pay can be huge. You can discuss pay during the performance assessment interview, but it is not recommended. Pay easily takes the focus away from other topics. It can be difficult to focus on goals, tasks and the working environment. It is possible to discuss pay at the end of the interview or during a separate salary assessment interview afterwards. It is important to remember that we have established systems for salary negotiations.
  • Senior interview
    When employees at UiO turn 60, they must have a "senior interview". The interview is a performance assessment interview with a particular focus on senior life. The purpose of the senior interview is to identify the wishes and ambitions of each senior, their future prospects and competence development needs, and create a basis for planning their further work situation. Read more about UiO's senior policy.
  • Harassment
    If an employee experiences inappropriate behaviour, an assessment must be made of the severity and whether there is a need to convene a separate meeting to delve into the matter or whether immediate action needs to be taken. Read more about harassment.
  • Agreements and laws 
    • The Basic Agreement 2006 Section 22 on competence development:
      "Individual competence development and career planning may be offered in order to ensure satisfactory and efficient performance of tasks in individual agencies. Individual employees shall be followed up by means of appraisal and development interviews."
    • Norwegian Working Environment Act, Section 4-2:
      "The individual employee has rights concerning the design of their working situation: Opportunities for professional and personal development shall be provided [...] the work shall be organised and arranged with regard for the individual employee's capacity for work, proficiency, age and other conditions."
    • Norwegian Working Environment Act, Section 4-3. (3):
      "Employees shall not be subjected to harassment or other improper conduct."
    • Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act, Section 13. Prohibition of harassment (lovdata.no) (Norwegian)

Local guidelines and routines

MED - The Faculty of Medicine

Are you a manager and want an overview of the competence level of the employee or the entire unit? Use the faculty's competence mapping tool (ods) (Norwegian).

ILS - Department of Teacher Education and School Research

Performance assessment interviews are an important part of human resources policy work and are carried out once a year.

  • The head of the department is responsible for conducting performance assessment interviews with permanent academic staff. Updated hourly accounts shall be part of the basis for the performance assessment interview.
  • Head of Research (acting head of department) Erik Knain has delegated responsibility for performance assessment interviews with postdoctoral fellows.
  • Researcher Julius Kristjan Björnsson has delegated responsibility for performance assessment interviews with employees at EKVA.
  • Research Education Coordinator Glenn Ole Hellekjær has delegated responsibility for performance assessment interviews with research fellows and employees in postdoctoral positions.
  • Office Manager Astrid Waaler Kaas has delegated responsibility for performance assessment interviews with administrative staff.

IPED - Department of Education

Performance assessment interviews are an important part of human resources policy work and are carried out once a year.

  • The head of the department is responsible for conducting performance assessment interviews for permanent academic staff. Updated hourly accounts shall be part of the basis for the performance assessment interview.
  • The head of research (acting head of department) has delegated responsibility for performance assessment interviews with research fellows and employees in postdoctoral positions.
  • The office manager has delegated responsibility for performance assessment interviews with administrative staff.

USIT

Please refer to the page in Norwegian.

 

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Published Dec. 29, 2009 11:57 AM - Last modified June 9, 2020 1:03 PM