Empowering a Community of Excellence

Goals and Performance Improvement Plans

Goals/Objective Setting

Supervisors of staff members (Unclassified Professional Staff and University Support Staff) are required to establish at least one goal at the beginning of each rating period and review the goal(s) with the employee.

Goals in the Performance Management System

Employees and Supervisors must establish goals on the employee’s goal plan in the Performance Management System. For guidance on goal setting, please see the available Step-by-Step Instructions and Tutorial Videos. Goals should be set at the beginning of the review period, and goals can be added or changed throughout the review period. Please note that all changes and additions must be made at least 30 days before the end of the rating period. While both employees and supervisors can establish goals on the employee’s goal plan, ultimately, the supervisor is responsible for setting goals for an employee. 

Establishing Goals/Objectives

Please watch the below video for best practices in establishing goals.

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Goals can be organized into one of three categories: Employee Goals, Professional Development Goals, or Other.  Examples of each type of goal are provided as follows: 

Employee Goals

  1. Operational/Task goal: A goal may clarify a job duty with more specific, measurable or qualitative criteria, e.g. “Answers phone within 3 rings.”
  2. Performance Improvement goal: A goal may outline specific areas of improvement needed to achieve a rating of “Meets Expectations,” e.g. “Improve timeliness by submitting financial report two days after transactions are posted.”

Professional Development Goals

  1. Developmental goal: A goal may outline specific ways to enhance job skills, e.g. “Improve working knowledge of Excel by attending Computer Center class.”


  1. Project goal: A goal may define the desired outcome or milestones to achieve in a project, e.g. “Develop and implement tracking system for distribution of lab supplies.”
  2. Managerial goal: A goal may emphasize specific managerial tasks or characteristics, e.g. “Monitor work assignments by weekly review of project status with staff.”


Other sample goals are provided in the “Goal Library” of the Performance Management System.

Staff Performance Goals Alignment with Jayhawks Rising Objectives

Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)

At any time, an employee may be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan or a Special Evaluation.  Special Evaluations are different than Performance Improvement Plans, and information about Special Evaluations can be found on the Performance Evaluations for staff webpage.  A PIP is not an evaluation, but is an evaluative tool to document progress toward performance improvement.  Performance Improvement Plans are typically preceded with specific goals and expectations, and documented instances of the employee not meeting the expectations from their supervisor.   Performance Improvement Plans are documented in the Performance Management System and are intended to set very specific goals for an employee for a specific period of time.  When an employee is placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, the PIP must be at least 30 days long.  A special evaluation may result if the employee does not make progress toward improvements outlined in the PIP.

If any questions about the Performance Improvement Plan Process, please contact Human Resource Management, Employee Relations at 785-864-4946 or hrdept@ku.edu.

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