New process for ITS employee evaluations - seven competencies model

August 23, 2018

In February, ITS leadership introduced a new competencies model for the FY18 annual staff performance cycle. This new set of seven competencies is in addition to the current performance management process that includes setting yearly goals and tracking accomplishments.  

The goals and tracking actions focus on “what” a person has done throughout the year. These new competencies, focus on “how” an individual got the job done.

ITS leadership developed this new process to support an initiative that gives managers a platform to discuss overall performance, provides development paths for staff, and helps shift some cultural norms within the organization. “I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have been part of this type of performance evaluation, and it helped me develop and grow,” said John Barden, associate vice president and CIO of ITS.

“It’s important to me to be able to offer the same positive experience and opportunity to everyone at ITS. We strive for overall transparency, honesty and integrity.”

The current performance management form will continue to be used during the ITS annual review process with one difference: a new section has been added. Staff members will set goals and report achievements as usual, and then fill out the new section that asks how individuals have accomplished their work while incorporating the seven new competencies.“There is a lot of good energy around this new process, and it continues to evolve. How we accomplish our goals is as important as what we accomplish,” said Jane Livingston, associate CIO of ITS.  

One aim of this new evaluation process is to encourage supervisors to have meaningful conversations with direct reports. These discussions would focus on an individual’s strengths, any issues, and opportunites for growth and development. “We wanted to create a framework that will lead to positive development for the individual, the team, and ultimately, the University. When you focus on what you’ve accomplished, you miss important conversations about how you got it done. This is vital for long-term development and getting people ready for larger job roles,” said John

Originally, the new competencies were going  to be piloted to a small group. However, after much discussion, it was decided to roll them out divisionwide. The new process was implemented mid-year and training sessions were offered to all M&P staff. “We introduced the competency wheel at the February town hall and talked more in detail about it during the June town hall,” said Blanche Temple, HR Generalist. “It was also introduced during leadership and individual team meetings.”

Change offers challenges, but the idea behind the new process is a positive one that focuses specifically on individual learning and reflection. “This is a multi-year journey and I find it encouraging that the staff is open to it, looking at it as an opportunity,” added Blanche.

The results this new process will guide ITS’ future strategies. The overall data gathered will help leaders understand the micro-dynamics of service delivery and how to improve supporting the Yale community’s technological needs. “This adds a new dimension to how we deliver results. As an organization, we haven’t really had any framework for thinking about the way people do their work, so this is the start of that conversation. It’s pretty exciting,” said John.

One of ITS’ strategic priorities is achieving an inclusive and respectful workplace. This is directly aligned with the “Lead Diversity and Inclusion” competency, which is not just about race or gender diversity but also about having a workplace where there is opportunity for diversity of thought, ideas, and perspectives. Diversity can mean many things, where or when you were born, your ethnicity, how recently you graduated from college—this forms the context of someone’s experience.

Individuals can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the team environment based on the context of their history and experience. Being open to these ideas and perspectives falls under the diversity and inclusion competency. “Understanding that everyone comes to work from a difference background and experience is key to improving the outcomes we deliver to the Yale community,” said John.

ITS leadership will take lessons learned from this first merit cycle and make any necessary tweaks to the process and develop more in-depth training for the fall. “We expect that this first year will be a learning experience for everyone, and we will modify the process based on feedback as required.  This is the beginning of a journey for all of us,” said Jane.

Visit the IT webpage to learn more.