There are two parts to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus’ employee performance partnership program: Positive Steps and Corrective Steps.
This program applies to all permanent civil service employees. Probationary employees will follow their current probationary period evaluation process.
The Performance Partnership Program (PPP) emphasizes the use of positive contact and positive recognition for “the great majority of employees that do their jobs well; and eliminating poor performance when it arises.” (University of Illinois Performance Partnership Program Manual) IHR PPP Webpage
When it becomes necessary to redirect an employee’s performance or behavior, the program’s emphasis is on a problem-solving approach by discussing the concern and emphasizing correcting the problem rather than punishing the employee.
Library Human Resources partners with the campus PPP Coordinator at Illinois Human Resources during formal corrective actions.
There are two levels for positive steps: Positive Contact and Positive Recognition. Supervisors are encouraged to provide day-to-day feedback, coaching and sincere compliments to recognize the great majority of employees that do their jobs well.
- Informal Positive Contact is a verbal acknowledgement or quick note provided to the employee to compliment satisfactory or recently improved performance.
- Formal Positive Recognition is a letter written to the employee and shared with Library Human Resources and the campus PPP Coordinator at Illinois Human Resources to be maintained in their permanent personnel file.
There are two levels for corrective steps: Informal and Formal with further detailed steps within each of these areas. The multiple steps in this area are to give the supervisor and employee several opportunities to correct a problem that must be solved.
- Informal corrective steps are not discipline and are expected to provide coaching and constructive feedback to employees and can be given at any time.
- Formal corrective steps are part of the progressive effort to identify the problem, use a problem-solving approach to achieve the desired level of work performance.
Informal corrective steps should be performed by the supervisor directly with their employee as soon as possible. The following corrective steps do not require the supervisor to obtain prior approval from the next level of supervision or departmental designee.
- Informal Constructive Contact is a normal, day-to-day verbal acknowledgement provided to the employee with the goal of reinforcing previous training, coaching and sharing constructive feedback. Supervisors must be aware of their surroundings and ensure the conversation preserves the individual’s dignity and self-respect. An informal constructive contact can happen in the moment, during a scheduled 1:1 meeting, or as soon as a private moment becomes available.
The supervisor may make informal notes. Those notes are retained by the supervisor and are not kept in the employee’s permanent personnel file.
Library Human Resources does not need to be present during the conversation because the conversation is not disciplinary and will not become part of an employee’s permanent personnel file.
- Informal Performance Improvement Discussion (PID) is a structured discussion. The meeting is an informal corrective step that allows the problem to be discussed in detail by the employee and the supervisor, and to be reviewed by Human Resources and the PPP Coordinator PRIOR to any PID meeting.
When all parties (supervisor, Library HR and the PPP Coordinator) agree that there is a need for change, the expected and specific change in performance will be documented in a letter, the supervisor will follow-up regularly to ensure the problem has been corrected and provide positive contact/feedback during performance improvement.
To ensure the discussion is as effective as possible, a supervisor will need to complete the performance improvement discussion checklist prior to scheduling a meeting. These forms may be requested from the Associate Director of Library Human Resources.
The PID will not have a required active or deactivation period and can be issued an unlimited number of times while still remaining outside of the campus’ formal progressive disciplinary actions.
Although it is an informal corrective step, the PID is documented using the Performance Discussion Worksheet and a post-meeting letter is issued confirming the discussion. The letter will be sent to the employee to confirm the need for change, their commitment to solving the problem and a copy will be retained at Library Human Resources. The employee’s union (if applicable), and the campus PPP Coordinator will also receive a copy of the letter.
Formal corrective action uses three progressively serious employment consequences if there is failure to improve: Work Performance Reminder, Written Reminder and Decision Making Leave.
- Pre-Disciplinary Meetings are held prior to any decision related to issuing formal discipline. The supervisor will notify Library Human Resources and the campus PPP Coordinator will schedule a pre-disciplinary meeting. The supervisor, employee, union representative if the employee so requests, Library Human Resources and the campus PPP Coordinator will be in attendance.
The pre-disciplinary meeting is to (1) allow the supervisor to describe their concerns with the employee, (2) listen to and consider the employee’s response, and with input from Library Human Resources and the campus PPP Coordinator (3) determine the appropriate disciplinary action (if any).
If the determination is to issue formal discipline the employee will be notified at the conclusion of the meeting unless further investigation is necessary.
The following are possible formal disciplinary actions that could be taken:
- The Work Performance Reminder (WPR) is the first formal step of the University’s corrective action procedure. The Work Performance Reminder will remain active for six (6) months.
- The Written Reminder (WR) is the second formal step in the University’s corrective action procedure. Written Reminders will remain active for twelve (12) months.
- The Decision-Making Leave (DML) is the final step in the University’s corrective action procedure.
The employee will be informed that they are being placed on a decision-making leave, and that the employee will spend one day away from work on paid leave. During the DML day, the employee is expected to make a final decision concerning their ability and commitment to meet the University’s standards.
Upon the employee’s return from DML, they will inform their supervisor, Library Human Resources and the campus PPP Coordinator of their decision to either: (1) decide to correct the problem(s) and make a commitment to good performance in the future, or (2) resign and find more satisfying employment elsewhere.
Decision Making Leaves will remain active for twenty-four (24) months. The employee will be advised that the logical consequence of any further problems requiring corrective action within twenty-four months of the Decision-Making Leave is discharge.
Deactivation means that the record of a previous corrective action will be deemed no longer active in the sense that it will not be used to progress discipline after the deactivation date, provided there is no other “active” formal corrective action. If an employee receives other formal corrective action during an active time period, all formal corrective actions will not deactivate until such time that all formal corrective action time periods have been completed.
The documentation will remain a part of the employee’s historical file to document the employee’s history of corrective actions. If an employee establishes a pattern of infractions, deactivated formal corrective actions may be used to progress the current discipline.
Discharge is the appropriate action when an on-going disciplinary problem reoccurs within the twenty-four (24) month active period of a Decision-Making Leave or when a single offense is so serious that continued employment cannot be justified, whether or not any earlier corrective actions have been taken.
Normally an employee is discharged for cause after both the informal and formal corrective actions have failed to bring about a positive change in the employee’s behavior. The discussion and actions taken will be documented with copies given to the employee, the employing unit file, Legal Counsel, the Union, Illinois Human Resources, Civil Service and University Office of Administration and Human Resources.
If you have any questions about the Performance Partnership Program please contact the Library’s Associate Director for Human Resources (currently Skye Arseneau email@example.com) or the Assistant Director of Labor and Employee Relations (currently Angela Reggans firstname.lastname@example.org).