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Performance Management
Performance Planning

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Performance planning is a forward-looking approach to how we work strategically to support the success of our employees to ensure that Carolina continues to be a world-class university and research institution. Managers and employees work collaboratively to define clear goals and to create a plan to meet those goals, identifying the support employees may need to grow their skills and advance in their careers at Carolina. Performance planning boosts the performance and productivity of our teams, powers our organizational goals and unleashes our employees’ engagement and motivation.



Building the performance plan is the future-oriented portion of the performance season when managers inspire shared purpose about the team’s direction and when managers and employees collaboratively define the individual goals for the upcoming year.

In addition to creating clarity around performance goals and expectations, managers partner with their team members to identify development opportunities with consideration for the employee’s role, skills, strengths, interests and career aspirations. This is a true collaboration with the employee taking ownership for their growth and the manager proactively investing in the employee’s development and career goals.


Performance Conversation

At the center of performance management is the performance conversation between employee and manager.

The purpose of the performance conversation is for managers and employees to have an open dialogue and to share and receive feedback on past performance, challenges, development areas and goals for the next cycle. This conversation between managers and employees should be two-way and should inform the employee’s performance plan in Carolina Talent.

Managers and employees should have regular one-on-one meetings throughout the year to discuss and share feedback on the employee’s performance and development. In addition, during performance season, it is an expectation that managers meet with each of their employees for a performance conversation to discuss the employee’s performance for the previous performance cycle and to plan for the next cycle.

Ideally, employees will have completed the optional self-assessment to help them prepare for this conversation. During the self-assessment, employees have the opportunity to identify and articulate their strengths and skills and to reflect on areas that may need improvement or further development.

If the employee did not complete the self-assessment, they are encouraged to reflect on the following questions to help them prepare for the conversation. Additionally, managers can prompt their team members to reflect on these questions in advance of the performance conversation.

  • What is your perspective on your performance this past year? What achievements are you most proud of?
  • What do you see as your top strengths?
  • How have you developed in the past year and what have you learned?
  • What additional areas of improvement have you identified? How would you like to develop in the coming year?
  • What additional support or resources could help you?
  • What is the most enjoyable part of your job? What gives you energy? Do you feel like you get to spend enough time on the activities you enjoy?
  • What is the least enjoyable part of your job, or what takes your energy away?
  • What are your career aspirations?
Beginning on May 1, managers can start planning for their performance conversations with employees, including:

  • Scheduling meetings with their employees to occur in the May 21-June 3 timeframe following the HR Checkpoint for compliance
  • Preparing for how to provide feedback, recognize employees for their contributions, discuss development areas and discuss future goals

All performance plans should be completed by June 3.

Managers and employees should be meeting regularly for one-on-one conversations (weekly or bi-weekly) throughout the year. During the performance season, it is expected that managers will schedule time with their team members to review and share feedback on individual performance for the past year, discuss development areas and define goals for the coming year.
Managers and employees can meet online or in person for the performance conversation.

Performance Plan

The performance plan is the written outline of the institutional, individual and development goals an employee has for the upcoming year.

Managers and employees work together to determine an employee’s individual goals and development objectives for the upcoming year and then enter them into the Performance Plan task in Carolina Talent Performance. Institutional goals automatically populate into the Performance Plan task and are not manually entered.

The performance plan has two main parts:

  • Individual Goals | This section of the performance plan is for the 3–5 required goals an employee must have for each performance cycle. Managers and employee work together to define these goals and outline how the employee can meet and/or exceed the expectations for each goal.
  • Development Plan | The development plan is part of the performance plan and contains an employee’s development goals (called objectives in Carolina Talent). Each employee must have at least one development goal (objective) for each performance cycle.

More about:


What’s the difference…?

Click the toggles below to learn how the performance plan differs from other components of the performance season.

The annual appraisal looks back over the previous year and documents an employee’s performance and goal progress for the performance cycle that just passed. The performance plan looks ahead to the upcoming year and lists an employee’s individual and development goals for the next performance cycle.

The performance plan and appraisal bookend the performance cycle, with the performance plan completed at the beginning and the appraisal at the end. In fact, the performance plan becomes the baseline for the annual appraisal. The information on these documents should align as the goals entered on the performance plan become the goals for which managers rate employees on the appraisal.

As part of performance season, managers and employees discuss the appraisal and performance plan during the performance conversation and complete both tasks in Carolina Talent Performance.

The development plan is part of the performance plan in Carolina Talent.

The development plan outlines an employee’s development goals/objectives; the performance plan outlines all of an employee’s goals, including those on the development plan.

The manager enters their employee’s development plan within as part of the Performance Plan task in Carolina Talent.

Development Plan

The development plan is part of the performance plan and outlines the strategies, actions and resources an employee needs to enhance their skills, knowledge and abilities over a period of time.

The development plan lists an employee’s development goals (called objectives in Carolina Talent). Compared to individual goals, development goals focus more on the professional development needs, interests and aspirations specific to each employee’s desired growth and less on progress toward unit or institutional outcomes.

As such, the development plan is intended to be a broader roadmap for an employee’s personal or professional growth. A development plan may encompass multiple objectives and includes elements such as stretch assignments, learning activities, training programs, mentorship opportunities or experiences that facilitate growth and development.

Managers and employees together determine an employee’s developmental goals for the performance cycle. It is recommended that managers and employees leverage the 70-20-10 model for experiential learning and development when creating the development plan.

In the 70-20-10 model:

  • 70% of learning comes from job-related experiences (stretch assignments, challenging projects, problem-solving)
  • 20% from social learning (developmental relationships, communities of practice, professional organizations, mentoring)
  • 10% from coursework and training

This framework is based on research that shows that challenging assignments are the primary source of key learning experiences. When coursework and training are selected, managers and employees should be intentional about identifying opportunities for the employee to apply their new learning and include this practical application in the development plan.

The University recommends that each employee have at least one developmental goal as part of the performance plan for each performance cycle.

  • Volunteer to present at meetings, conferences and other events on sustainable practices to expand professional network, share knowledge on sustainability with others and improve presentation skills
  • Co-chair a community of practice on sustainability to grow leadership skills, catalyze commitment for sustainable practices, help share the future direction for sustainability and expand influence within the school/division
  • Volunteer to lead a cross-functional project to collaborate with colleagues from different departments and teams, gain exposure to different perspectives, learn new approaches and develop a more holistic understanding of the school/division
  • Write one article or blog each quarter to strengthen writing skills and share expertise with a wider audience
  • Seek mentoring support from an experienced team member or other experienced professional within the field to enhance skills, receive feedback and gain valuable perspectives
  • Mentor a less experienced colleague to proactively help them grow their knowledge and skills while developing leadership abilities
  • Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns and opinions without fear of judgment by initiating open discussions, actively soliciting feedback, modeling vulnerability and gathering the team’s perception of psychological safety
Development objectives are not rated.

Managers and employees can update progress toward an employee’s development objective any time in Carolina Talent, but managers do not rate employees on development objectives as part of the annual appraisal process.

Managers enter an employee’s development plan into Carolina Talent. In Carolina Talent, a manager will manually enter the employee’s objective (goal) and will then select the recommended action the employee will take to achieve that goal.

Managers can select from two types of actions:

  • Action Steps | Managers manually type in the recommended method or action the employee will take to achieve this goal
  • Learning Item | Managers can select from pre-populated training courses in Carolina Talent or LinkedIn to assign to their employees in working toward a development objective

See Development Plans in the Carolina Talent Performance Hub for more information.

Goal-Setting Process

While performance planning is an ongoing conversation between managers and employees all year, the annual performance planning phase of the performance season begins April 1.

During this time, managers and employees work together to set goals for the performance cycle:

  • 3–5 individual goals
  • At least one development goal

A helpful outline to follow for the goal-setting process is:

  • During the performance conversation, manager and employee discuss future plans and create the specific goals for the next performance cycle.
  • Employees enter their goals into Carolina Talent Performance. Although both managers and employees can enter goals into the system, we recommend employees enter their goals since managers must approve them in the system to complete the performance plan task.
  • Managers approve the goals in Carolina Talent Performance.

See the Goals webpage for more about institutional goals, individual goals, writing goals and goals in Carolina Talent.


Planning in Carolina Talent

The performance plan includes the following sections:

  • Institutional Goals
  • Individual Goals
  • Development Plan
  • Manager Comments
You can view your own performance plan in Carolina Talent Performance > Performance Documents or in your Snapshot.

You can view your employees’ performance plan in Carolina Talent Performance via Snapshot. Performance Plans are titled Performance Plan 20XX-20XX.

Each section of a performance plan can be modified separately in Carolina Talent Performance:

  • Individual goals are modified via Performance > Goals.
  • Development plans are modified via Performance > Development Plans.

For Managers

Best Practices for Preparing for Performance Conversations

  • Clearly communicate the purpose of the meeting, its structure and what your employees should prepare, including their completed self-assessment and ideas for goals for the future. Use the recommended communication in the next toggle.
  • Choose a time and place that allows for privacy and minimal interruptions. Ensure the employee has enough time to prepare.

Managers may use or modify the following message and agenda when scheduling performance conversations with their team members.

Hello _____,

I’m scheduling some dedicated time for us to have a conversation on your performance and development for this past year and for us to collaboratively define your goals for this coming year. I want this to be a two-way dialogue, and I’m interested in hearing your perspective. I’m sharing the agenda below with you to help you prepare.

Agenda for our conversation

  • Your performance for the past cycle, including your accomplishments, the outcomes you achieved, challenges you experienced and what you learned
  • Our team’s direction, how your work contributes to the team and your goals for the coming year
  • Your opportunities for growth, including skills you want to learn or areas you want to improve
  • Resources or support you may need for your development
  • Anything else that I can do to support your success in your role and your ongoing growth

If you completed the optional self-assessment, I encourage you to review it in advance of our conversation. If you didn’t complete it, that’s okay, and I’ve included some questions below for you to reflect on so you can actively contribute.

  • What is your perspective on your performance this past year? What achievements are you most proud of?
  • What do you see as your top strengths?
  • How have you developed in the past year and what have you learned?
  • What additional areas of improvement have you identified? How would you like to develop in the coming year?
  • What additional support or resources could help you?
  • What is the most enjoyable part of your job? What gives you energy? Do you feel like you get to spend enough time on the activities you enjoy?
  • What is the least enjoyable part of your job, or what takes your energy away?
  • What are your career aspirations?

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m looking forward to having a productive discussion!

  • Have all relevant documentation ready, including:
    • Appraisal form.
    • Performance data.
    • Notes on achievements and areas for development.
    • Any other supporting materials.
  • Think through the experience you want to create for your team member, the information you want to share, the words you want to use and the tone you want to convey. Be intentional.
  • Create a positive atmosphere. Start the conversation on a positive note to set a constructive tone for the discussion. Emotions can be high during this time.
  • Encourage open dialogue. Invite the employee to share their thoughts, concerns and suggestions throughout the conversation.
  • Review the agenda. Outline the topics to be discussed, ensuring both you and your employee know what to expect from the meeting.
  • Discuss achievements and performance. Share your observations on the employee’s performance, providing specific examples to illustrate your points.
  • Explore employee’s self-assessment. Discuss the employee’s self-assessment, acknowledging their insights and perspectives.
  • Address areas for development. Constructively discuss areas where the employee can improve, providing clear examples and suggestions for development.
  • Discuss support and development needs. Identify any support, resources or training the employee might need to achieve their goals and address development areas.
  • Set future goals. Collaboratively set SMART goals for the coming period, aligning them with the employee’s career aspirations and organizational objectives.
  • Consider asking for feedback on your feedback. For example, how helpful has this meeting been to your employee?

Help & How-tos


Carolina Talent Performance

View and complete performance tasks in Carolina Talent, and
visit the Carolina Talent Performance Hub for step-by-step instructions and FAQs.