Human Resources
Supervisor Policies


Table of Contents

  1. Role of the supervisor
    1. Role of the supervisor
    2. Responsibilities of the supervisor
  2. Hiring a new employee
    1. Legal requirements
    2. Position Analysis
    3. Recruitment
    4. Screening the resume/application
    5. Goal of an interview process
    6. General guidelines for interviewing
    7. Preparing for the interview
    8. Conducting the interview
    9. Types of interviews
    10. Reference checking
    11. Making the job offer
    12. Background checks
    13. Pre-employment physical
    14. Notifying other applicants
    15. Records
    16. Personnel/Payroll action form (PPAF)
    17. Sample interview questions
    18. Sample letter of confirmation
  3. Getting a new employee started
    1. Signing in
    2. New employee checklist
    3. Probation or trial service periods
  4. Performance review and planning
    1. Performance reviews
    2. Basic guidelines for the 'CHART FORM'
    3. Basic guidelines for the 'OPEN FORM'
    4. Correcting performance problems
    5. Supplemental feedback
    6. Continuing education
    7. Preparing for the year-end discussion
    8. Conducting the year-end discussion
    9. Final steps
    10. Common mistakes to avoid in the performance review process
  5. Performance award program
    1. Performance awards
    2. Eligibility
    3. Amount and timing of increase
    4. Procedures
  6. Employee assistance and complaints
    1. Employee assistance program
    2. Workers' compensation and accidents
    3. Investigating complaints
  7. Corrective action
    1. Purpose for corrective action
    2. Documenting performance problems
    3. Key factors in assessing a performance problem
    4. Investigating an incident
    5. Deciding to take corrective action
    6. Deciding what kind of corrective action is necessary
    7. The discussion
    8. Follow-up
    9. Sample written warning letter
  8. Employment references
    1. Employment references
  9. Personnel/Payroll Action Form (PAF)
    1. Personnel/Payroll Action Form
  10. Data security
    1. Data security

I. Role of the supervisor

A. Role of the supervisor

The role of college supervisors is to provide for the creation and delivery of those services required to support the educational mission of the college. 

The duties accepted by a supervisor include training, sharing, and developing expertise among the staff, participating in planning activities and formation of policy, and maintaining fiscal control.

It is especially important to the college that supervisors allow staff the freedom to challenge and examine the way things are done.  Staff are essential to and full partners in the continuing development of Reed College. 

B. Responsibilities of the supervisor

Supervisors are considered management staff of the college, and as such, they represent Reed College to the staff, faculty, students, and general public.  Supervisors have a responsibility to adhere to college policies and procedures, treat staff with respect and dignity, and actively seek out and resolve problems or issues in the workplace that may be affecting the staff member's ability to perform the work.

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that they are in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, including but not limited to Equal Employment Opportunity and sexual harassment. 

Harassment training is mandatory for all supervisors as well as employees of the college and is available on-line with the following URL

Supervisors are required to ensure their staff have completed the required Harassment training. Certificates of Completion are forwarded to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s personnel file. 

II. Hiring a new employee

A. Legal requirements

Federal and State laws forbid the discriminatory use of information when making hiring decisions.

To lessen the likelihood that discrimination might occur in hiring, it is important to eliminate inappropriate inquiries that elicit information about someone's protected class status.  There are three main types of inappropriate inquiries:


Indicating to an applicant that the interview has not officially begun or is now officially over, and then asking questions in the above areas, such as during a luncheon or on the way from or to the airport, will also be suspect.

Some examples of areas of inquiry that may not be asked at any time in the process:


marital satus religion arrest records
name of partner/spouse race own/rent home
pregnant national origin car owned
do they have children citizenship name of bank
names/ages of children parent's birthplace type of military discharge
child care options age or birthdate nature of a disability
who resides in home gender height or weight

The Americans with Disabilities Act (refer to Section III, Employment Law in the Staff Policies and Procedures Manual) requires employers to consider for employment persons with disabilities who are able to perform, with or without accommodation, the essential functions of a position. 

A job function may be considered essential for many reasons, including but not limited to: 1) the reason the position exists is to perform that function; 2) the limited number of employees available to carry out that job function; and/or 3) the fact that the function is highly specialized, and therefore the person in the position is hired for his/her expertise or ability to perform the particular function.

An employer may ask applicants whether they can perform the essential functions of the position; whether accommodations would need to be made in order to perform the job; and what kind of accommodations might be helpful.

Charges of discrimination can be filed months and even years after a selection process is complete.  It is important to collect and retain a factual and objective record of the process, particularly during the interviews.

B. Position analysis

When a position becomes vacant, the supervisor has an opportunity to rethink the role and goal of the position, and the type of background and experience most important to success in the position. 

Some examples of questions to consider in this analysis:

Review the classification description, the position description, and the assigned grade to ensure they are up-to-date and accurate.  If modifications are necessary, prepare a revised position description, refer it to the appropriate vice president for approval, and forward the revised description to Human Resources for classification and grade allocation.

For the creation of a new position, refer to Section VI, Classification and Compensation, Salary Administration Plan in the Staff Policies and Procedures manual.

For all newly created positions a Job Analysis Questionnaire (JAQ) will need to be completed and submitted to the Human Resources department for review and range placement before the position can be posted.

C. Recruitment

Decisions to be made before beginning the recruiting process are:

A Reed College Employment application is required of all applicants.  The HR department will receive applications from applicants for tracking purposes, and will  forward applicant materials to the hiring supervisor or designee.

Internal Procedures

The college has made a commitment to staff that, to the extent that it is feasible and appropriate, the college will post all vacant positions internally.  The Human Resources Office will ensure that the following steps are taken when notified a recruitment is to begin:

External Procedures

Supervisors may decide to recruit externally 1) only if necessary after screening internal candidates, or 2) may recruit both internally and externally at the same time. 

Sources typically used in an external recruitment are online, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other publications as needed.  Generally, employment agencies that charge fees to either the employer or applicant are not used.

Each advertisement must indicate that Reed College is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The cost of advertisements will be charged to the budget of the department placing the ad.

Words used in ads should be to the point and used sparingly.  The ad serves as a notification of vacancy, but can also serve as an initial screening device.  In other words, it should encourage applications from those whose background and experience meet the minimum qualifications required for the position. 

Human Resources is available for assistance in determining methods of recruitment and the creation of postings and advertisements.

D. Screening the resume/application

The initial screening process should determine which of the candidates meet the minimum qualifications advertised for the position. 

The remainder of the screening process should be an assessment of the combination of experience and education of each candidate, and a determination as to which of the candidates' backgrounds on paper are the closest match to the essential functions of the position. 

E. Goal of an interview process

The goal of an interview process is to gather information to aid in the selection of an employee; create among the applicants a good image of Reed College; present a realistic description of the vacant position; make all applicants feel they have been heard and treated fairly; and establish adequate records in the event that the decision must be justified at some future date.

F. General guidelines for interviewing

Developing questions

Refer to the sample questions provided in this manaul.  Human Resources also has additional samples of questions and is available to assist supervisors in developing an interview.

Selecting interviewers

In order for a selection process to be fair and defensible, interviewers must have a clear and thorough understanding of the vacant position and a thorough knowledge and understanding of the laws related to selection and discrimination. 

It is the responsibility of the hiring supervisor to ensure that everyone he/she asks to participate as an interviewer has this knowledge and understanding.  Each person who interacts with the applicant will be viewed as an agent of Reed College.  Improper questions, promises that are not kept, and inappropriate remarks will reflect badly on the college and may be legally indefensible.

When asking others to interview, consider whether interviewing as a panel or group is feasible.  There are a number of advantages, including:

Common interviewer or rating errors

G. Preparing for the interview

Note:  Length of time is especially important if the applicant will be interviewed by a number of constituencies or groups over a period of a full day or more.  Outside of higher education, this is often not what applicants will expect, and many will not have planned to spend a full day being interviewed.

H. Conducting the interview

Beginning the interview

Facilitating the interview

Closing the interview

I. Types of interviews

Structured screening interview

Done properly a structured interview can be a very effective and defensible screening device.  It is an interview that meets the following criteria:

Structured interviews may be conducted by a single individual or a panel of up to 3-4 people and can be conducted in person or by telephone.  A structured interview provides a more detailed analysis of quality and length of experience, problem-solving abilities, oral communication skills, depth of technical skills and knowledge, and related specific characteristics.  This type of interview usually takes no longer than 30-45 minutes.

The goal of a structured interview is to screen the applicants, using objective criteria, to a pool of one to three candidates who can then be referred to the hiring supervisor. 

Interview with hiring supervisor

Candidates referred to the hiring supervisor should be properly screened so that each of the candidates interviewed at this stage has demonstrated that he/she has the skills and knowledge to do the job. 

This interview should focus on whether the employee will want to do the job; the individual's motivations and interests; and whether the individual's goals and aspirations fit well with the overall mission, values, and plans of the college.  This type of interview is more like a discussion than the structured interview.

This is also the time to give specific information to the candidate about the position so that there is a clear understanding of the tasks and expectations.  Be careful not to elaborate on the tasks in a way that will make the job appear more glamorous, interesting, or challenging than it might be in actuality.  Do not make or hint at promises that you may not be able to keep.

The hours of work, starting and ending times, salary, location, support staff (if any), benefits package (contact Human Resources for a benefits brochure), organizational structure of the college, and other related information should be explained to a candidate who is a serious possibility for a job offer.  

J. Reference checking

Reference checking can give the supervisor appropriate and accurate information about an applicant’s job history. Information gathered through reference checks is confidential and should be communicated only to those who have a business need to know. 

Some general guidelines that may be helpful when soliciting reference information:

Sample questions

K. Making the job offer

When a final candidate is selected, the hiring supervisor should contact the candidate by telephone to offer the position.  Be specific as to salary, benefits, hours of work, specific job title, starting date, assistance with moving expenses if appropriate, and any other appropriate conditions or information.  For salary information, refer Section VI, Classification and Compensation, Salary Administration Plan.

When the employee has accepted the position, follow up with a letter of confirmation.

L. Background checks

For certain positions, background checks are required.  These positions include employees in the nuclear reactor, employees who work with children in the Psychology Department, and Community Safety.  The background checks for Community Safety are conducted through the DPSST (Department of Safety and Security Training) certification process. The reactor department completes the background checks for the nuclear reactor.

All job offers for these positions must be made contingent upon an acceptable background investigation. In most cases, the background investigation will be conducted only on the final candidate to whom we intend to make a job offer.  However, in order to expedite the process, the hiring manager may want to ask all finalists to complete the paperwork in their final interview.   Reed College will be the sole determinant as to an employee’s acceptability based on the background investigation. 

The Human Resources Office will contract with an appropriate background investigations company, establish what information is to be collected and for what purpose, and maintain all records in files separate from the employee’s personnel file.   The budget for background checks will be developed and maintained by the department requiring the background checks. 

To initiate the background investigation, the following steps must be taken by the hiring supervisor;

The potential employee must complete the Reed College application form and sign it.  This document details the consequences of incomplete or inaccurate information, an essential requirement;

The potential employee also reads, completes and signs the following forms:

Submit the forms to Human Resources who will then send the information to the background investigation companies. 

An applicant who refuses to sign the forms is no longer considered eligible for employment.

Human Resources will notify the supervisor of the results of the background investigation immediately upon receipt.  If the background investigation is acceptable, the supervisor then notifies the potential employee that the hiring process can proceed. 

If the potential employee is denied employment in whole or in part because of the information obtained in his/her background check, the person will be informed by the background investigation company and given the name, address and phone number of the screening provider to contact if s/he has specific questions about the result of the check or wants to dispute its accuracy.  The potential employee will have 5 business days in which to dispute the results during which time, no final hiring decision may be made.  After 5 business days, the final notification will be sent to the potential employee and the hiring process may proceed with other candidates. 

A potential employee who provides misleading, erroneous or willfully deceptive information on an employment application, resume, or in an interview is immediately eliminated from further consideration for employment with Reed College. 

M. Pre-employment physical

Some positions require the selected candidate to take and pass a pre-employment physical as a condition of employment.  Only the candidate who was offered and has accepted the position will be required to take the physical.  Contact Human Resources to arrange for the candidate to take the physical with the physician who is on contract with Reed College to provide these services.

N. Notifying other applicants

After the candidate has accepted the job offer, notify the candidates interviewed or all applicants, if preferred, that the position has been filled.

Since Human Resources accepts applications and résumés only for a position currently being recruited, notify applicants that future positions will require a new application.

O. Records

Applications and résumés must be retained in accordance with the College’s record retention policy.  All records related to the process along with the application and/or résumés should be forwarded to Human Resources for filing and retention.

P. Personnel/Payroll Action Form (PPAF)

Prepare a PPAF for the new hire, forwarding it to the appropriate higher-level authority for signature, prior to forwarding to Human Resources. Attach the new employee's résumé/application materials and a copy of the letter of appointment along with the PPAF.

Q. Sample interview questions

The best predictability of future behavior is past behavior. Ask questions related to experiences and problems candidates have dealt with in prior positions and it will likely be how the candidate will handle similar experiences in future positions.

Past work experience in general

  1. Please describe your present responsibilities and duties.
  2. How do you spend an average work day?
  3. How has your current position changed from the day you started until now?
  4. Describe the most complex problem you had to solve in your last (current) position.
  5. Discuss some of the problems you have encountered in past positions.
  6. What do you consider to be your most important accomplishment in the last three positions you have held?
  7. What were some of the setbacks or disappointments you experienced in the last three positions you have held?
  8. Why did you leave your last employer/why would you consider leaving your current employer?
  9. What would you want in your next job that you are not getting now?
  10. Describe your involvement with committees, your role on the committees, and what you learned from each experience.
  11. In previous positions, how much of your work was accomplished alone and how much as part of a team effort?
  12. What was the most radical idea you ever introduced to an employer, and what was the result?
  13. Give me an example of a time when you questioned a policy or procedure when it might have been better or easier to go along with it.
  14. What kinds of policies and procedures have you created, and to whom did you take them for approval?
  15. Describe the most difficult interpersonal challenge you have been faced with, and what you did about it.
  16. What experience have you had in public speaking, what audience, and what was the purpose: selling, informing?
  17. Give an example of a potentially volatile situation or individual that you successfully calmed down and how you went about it.
  18. Describe a time when you went "beyond the call of duty" to accomplish a task.
  19. Describe the most difficult person you have ever worked with and how you handled it.
  20. Describe a situation in which it was necessary for you to mediate or negotiate a solution or compromise.
  21. What kinds of work pressures do you find the most difficult to deal with?
  22. Describe what you mean by "on the job stress."
  23. Describe a time when you felt you "lost your cool" on the job, and what was the result?
  24. Describe the best boss you ever had.
  25. Describe the worst boss you ever had.
  26. Tell me about a failure in your working life and why it occurred.
  27. What could your last employer have done to keep you?

Relevant education and training (do not ask for dates which could lead to age-related information)

  1. Why did you choose the particular college you attended?
  2. What determined your choice of major?
  3. How do you think college contributed to your overall development?
  4. In what way do you believe your education and training has prepared you for this position?
  5. What special training do you have that is relevant to this position?
  6. What licenses or certifications do you have that are relevant to this position?
  7. What professional affiliations do you have that are relevant to this position?
  8. Can you perform the essential functions of this position; if not would you need any accommodations because of a disability, and if so, what accommodations could you suggest?

The college's vacant position

  1. In what way does this position meet your career goals and objectives?
  2. If you were to obtain this job, in what areas could you contribute immediately, and in what areas would you need additional training?
  3. What changes and developments do you anticipate in your particular field that might be relevant to this position?
  4. What are your salary expectations if offered this position?

Attendance and punctuality

  1. What do you consider to be good attendance?
  2. What do you consider a legitimate reason for missing work?

Clerical/secretarial work

  1. Describe the kinds of telephone and receptionist duties you have had, being specific about the number of calls and walk-ins you received in a typical day.
  2. Describe your past experiences in scheduling appointments.
  3. Give me an example of a task you performed that required attention to detail, and what you did to ensure accuracy?
  4. What are some of the more unusual assignments you have been given?
  5. What kinds of filing systems have you used and/or created?
  6. What decisions could you make on your own, and what did you refer to your boss?
  7. What kinds of reports did you develop, create, or produce?
  8. What volume of mail do you typically process in a day?
  9. What kinds of correspondence have you written on your own initiative?


  1. Describe the positions in which you have had supervisory responsibility: how many people supervised, what kinds of positions, hiring/firing authority?
  2. Give an example of a time when you were disappointed in the lack of accomplishment of an employee(s) and what you did about it.
  3. What are the generally accepted steps in progressive discipline?
  4. What kinds of things have you found worked to motivate an employee?
  5. Describe what you mean by "problem employee."
  6. Describe a "sticky" situation with an employee and what you did about it.
  7. Describe an innovative way you handled a conflict with two or more of your subordinates.
  8. What kinds of things can a supervisor do to create a positive environment?
  9. What training and experience do you have in "listening skills"?
  10. Approximately how many people have you personally hired in your career?
  11. Describe an effective performance planning and review process.
  12. What communication methods have you found most successful with subordinates?
  13. What recognition and reward systems have you found most effective with subordinates?
  14. What is the role of a supervisor, in your opinion?
  15. What are the major responsibilities of a supervisor, in your opinion?
  16. What is an effective training and orientation program for a new employee?
  17. Describe the most serious complaint an employee brought to your attention, and what you did about it.
  18. Give an example of the most novel idea an employee presented to you, and what you did about it.
  19. What is a "protected class" under civil rights law?
  20. What is the difference between an exempt and non-exempt employee under wage and hour law? 


  1. What was the level of your decision-making authority in past positions?
  2. Describe a decision you made in which you were ultimately unhappy with the result.
  3. Give me an example of a decision you made that backfired, and what you did about it.
  4. Give an example of a decision you made that turned out better than you believed possible.
  5. Describe a time when you made a decision where there was no clear policy regarding the issue.
  6. What experience have you had where political pressure interfered with your getting the job done?
  7. Describe your experience with setting goals and objectives.
  8. Describe your experience in developing and monitoring budgets.
  9. What fiscal authority have you had in past positions?
  10. Give an example of a situation in which a budget overrun was necessary in order to accomplish a goal.
  11. What is the most effective method for setting priorities, in your opinion?
  12. If we were to ask your current (past) employer about your ability to organize your work, what would your employer respond?
  13. Describe a time when your goals conflicted with the goals of the organization, and what you did about it.
  14. What is the most innovative thing you have ever accomplished?
  15. What is the most creative idea you have had that was turned down?
  16. What experience do you have with writing?
  17. What have you done in the past five years to improve your writing skills?
  18. What have others said about your writing ability?
  19. What experience have you had with public presentations? For what purpose, what visual aids did you use, what kinds of notes do you use?



R. Sample letter of confirmation


Name and address


On behalf of Reed College, I am pleased to offer you the (exempt, nonexempt, hourly) regular full time (include the established workweek of either 37.5 or 40) (part time: include number of hours and FTE) position of                                  with the                                 Department.  Your annual salary is                             your monthly salary is                    (note if paid over 12 months) and your starting date is                                         .  

(Indicate if the hire is contingent upon passing a pre-employment physical)


Reed College has a comprehensive benefits package offering a variety of choices to meet individual needs Human Resources will review all benefits plus terms and conditions of employment, including the fact that Reed College is an at-will employer, when you arrive on campus.  If you would like information in advance, please feel free to contact them at (503) 777-7700.

(Moving allowance if applicable)

(A paragraph personally welcoming the employee to Reed College and indicating that you look forward to your professional association.)

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at                                .

Please indicate your acceptance of this offer by signing one copy of this letter and returning it to my office no later than                     .  A copy has been included for your own records.




(hiring supervisor)



I accept the terms of this appointment.


Signed,                                                                                                             Date                                          


cc:             Human Resources


III. Getting a new employee started

A. Signing in

Human Resources will meet with new employees in the Human Resources Office on their first day of work.  The law requires all new employees to complete an I-9 form and furnish appropriate supporting documentation.

New employees are given a complete packet of information, including all benefit information and information and links to the staff policies and procedures manual.

D. New employee checklist (NEO)

Supervisors are responsible for the orientation of new employees as outlined in the New Employee Checklist (NEO) checklist.

At Reed College, we want employees to have a smooth transition into their new role and provide them with the knowledge, tools, resources, and support they need in order to be successful.

Orienting a new employee takes a partnership between the supervisor, the employee’s coworkers, Human Resources, and many other departments. By working together we can increase the employee’s satisfaction and retention, encourage strong performance, expedite an employee’s ability to perform and contribute and create a sense of belonging to our community.

Orientation begins as soon as employees begin their employment and continues through at least the first 90 days. It also includes upfront planning and several steps to assist new employees as they transition into their new roles. To assist in this process, a comprehensive checklist / packet has been created.

New Employee Supervisor and Employee Orientation Packet
Supervisors should pick this packet up from Human Resources prior to the employee’s first day. This packet gives the supervisor a detailed list of duties that should be completed before the employees first day, information that must be provided to the employee on their first day of employment, as well as additional information about Reed and the community.

New Employee Welcome Packet
Employees should pick up their packet in Human Resources on their first day.  This packet includes information on their benefits, payroll information, timesheets and procedures.

Once the supervisor and the employee have completed the NEO packet there is an acknowledgement of completion form that will need to be completed and signed. Please return completed form to Human Resources within 30 days of date of hire.   This form will be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

E. Probation or trial service periods

Because Reed College is an at-will employer, employees are usually not put on probation or trial service periods as a condition of employment or continued employment.

Contact Human Resources if considering placing an employee on probation or on trial service.

IV. Performance review and planning

A. Performance reviews

It is the policy of Reed College to provide a regular and consistent approach to conducting performance reviews for all members of the staff.  It will serve at least these purposes:

Performance reviews are based on a person's job description. While there is a common and consistent approach to performance reviews, members of the staff are evaluated with regard to those tasks and responsibilities that are contained in his/her specific job description.

Performance reviews are both reflective (appraising work completed) and forward-looking (setting expectations and objectives for the future).

There will be a written appraisal at least once each year, and this written appraisal will be the basis of a discussion between a staff member and his/her supervisor.  There will be on going feedback over the course of the year.  Normally, a performance problem should not be addressed for the first time in the annual review.

Supervisors initiate the formal performance review and planning process on an annual basis.  This cycle can be based on the employee's anniversary date, on the fiscal year, calendar year, or any basis that works most effectively.  The supervisor must, however, indicate in advance to his/her supervisor and to the employee what the annual cycle will be. 

Two versions of forms for conducting the formal performance review and planning process are available in the Human Resources Office.  Supervisors may also develop a form, as long as the criteria is the same and the form is approved by the Human Resources Office.

Regardless of the format of the form that is used, the performance review and planning process begins at the start of the evaluation year by the supervisor and employee jointly establishing job responsibilities and/or objectives for the upcoming evaluation year.  The supervisor and employee should also agree at what intervals during the year they will meet formally to discuss progress toward goals and level of performance. 

It is critical that there be on-going discussion and review throughout the year in order for the process to be most effective.

B. Basic guidelines for the 'CHART FORM'

Click here for more information.

C. Basic guidelines for the 'OPEN FORM'

Click here for more information

D. Correcting performance problems

There may be occasions in which a more detailed description of a performance problem or deficiency would be helpful.  A supplemental form, "Problem Solving" , is also available and should be completed by the supervisor to give specific direction for correcting the problem.

E. Supplemental feedback

Supervisors may wish to seek feedback concerning an employee's performance from co-workers and other sources, as appropriate.   This should be done with the employee's knowledge and should be done very carefully since this can often be difficult and sensitive.  Information should be collected only from individuals having direct knowledge of both the individual's position responsibilities and performance.  Supervisors wishing assistance with this process and sample forms may contact Human Resources.

F. Continuing education

Employees are encouraged to detail in the comments section any work-related classes, seminars, workshops, etc. taken over the course of the evaluation year.

G. Preparing for the year-end discussion

There are a number of options in preparing for the year-end discussion.  The supervisor and employee may each wish to separately complete the "Review Summary" and then compare results.  The supervisor and employee may agree that only one of them will complete the "Review Summary" in preparation for the discussion.  In any case, the supervisor has final responsibility and authority for performance review and planning, including the "Review Summary."

Some examples of questions for the supervisor and/or employee to consider in preparation for the discussion are:

  1. What changes have been made, or attempted, to improve the quality or quantity of work performed?
  2. Evaluate interaction with other staff, with students, and with faculty. Are there ways that those interactions could be improved?
  3. What are examples of the types of errors made, and what attempts have been made to reduce those errors?
  4. What are examples of the time necessary to respond to different levels of requests? Could there be improvement, and how?
  5. Would any efforts over the last year translate into dollars saved? If so, how much?
  6. Was the work performed within budget? Why or why not?
  7. Was extra work taken on? If so, please explain why and describe the task(s).
  8. Is additional training desired or necessary? If so, in what areas?
  9. Is additional responsibility desired and/or possible? If so, in what areas?
  10. Has decision-making authority been appropriate to decision-making ability? Give examples.
  11. What are examples of cooperation with others to accomplish tasks?
  12. How is criticism received? Are desired changes made?
  13. Is initiative adequately encouraged and supported?
  14. What would make it possible for the present job to be done better?
  15. What are the most enjoyable aspect(s) of the job?
  16. What job tasks have provided the most satisfaction?
  17. What steps have been taken to make the job easier, more enjoyable, more satisfying?
  18. What tasks were performed particularly well?
  19. Where is improvement desirable?
  20. What additional work would be appropriate?
  21. What training or additional skills would be necessary to be considered for promotion?
  22. How will you and the employee accomplish required training or follow-up?
  23. What is an appropriate schedule for meeting necessary improvements and follow-up?


H. Conducting the year-end discussion

Schedule the review meeting in advance and have all materials prepared before the meeting.  Meet in a quiet, private place with no interruptions.  Keep the discussion simple, direct and relaxed.  Listen, exchange information, reach a clear understanding, and follow-up.  Schedule the follow-up meetings before ending the discussion.

Don't let the review form or procedure become more important than the exchange between the supervisor and employee.

Evaluate the review and planning process: Is communication improved?  Has personal and/or professional growth occurred as a result? Will work be more productive?  Did the review and planning process foster a positive work environment?  Was there a productive discussion of the work being reviewed? Were there any surprises in the formal review?

I. Final steps

The supervisor and employee sign the form, it is forwarded to the appropriate higher level supervisors for review, and then to the senior department head or Vice President for signature.  It is then forwarded to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee's personnel file. 

J. Common mistakes to avoid in the performance review process

V. Performance award program

A. Performance awards

The performance award program is a separate process from performance review.  However, the performance review and planning process provides one measure in creating an equitable basis for awarding performance based increases. 

The performance award program is designed to reward and recognize employees who have achieved exceptional performance over the past academic year.  This level of performance must be consistent and must occur over an extended period.  The decision as to granting or not of performance awards and amount of the awards is determined and announced prior to the beginning of the academic year. 

The criteria for evaluating the superior performance:

(consider projects, assignments, tasks, streamlining, improving the effectiveness of the department, increased productivity, specific cost savings expected or realized, improved morale, what was new about the achievements, what was different about the achievements, what is not being done anymore as a result of the employee's contributions)

(consider communication skills, listening skills, analytical ability, decision making, organizational ability, innovation, dealing effectively with change, initiative, creativity, exceedingly high quality of work, beating deadlines without compromising quality, and related topics)

(consider enthusiasm, cheerfulness, cooperation, collaboration, strong service orientation, interpersonal skills, dealing effectively with conflict/confrontation, desire for creating a positive image for the department and the college, and related topics)

Complete this question if the employee is a supervisor or managerial employee.

(consider selection, training, performance evaluation, corrective action, effective delegation, understanding and motivating employees, managing change, human and financial resource allocation, strategic planning, policy development, organizational design, program design, empowerment, inspiring innovation and creativity, and related topics)

B. Eligibility

All regular full-time and part-time employees are eligible for consideration after one full year of employment in an eligible class.  After meeting eligibility requirements, employees are eligible once each year. 

C. Amount and timing of increase

Any performance award increase is added to an employee's base pay normally effective on July 1st.  However, if an employee's base pay exceeds the maximum of the salary range, the performance award increase is given as a one-time bonus.

D. Procedures

In February of each year, the college sends a memo to all supervisory staff to advise them of the deadline for submission of performance award requests.  

Supervisors are responsible for assessing the performance of each subordinate and making a determination as to whether the employee has achieved a level of performance that is truly exceptional.  Although the performance review process is separate from the performance award process, the most recent (and within one year current) performance review for the employee must be attached to the performance award request and be consistent with the request. 

The supervisor must prepare each request in writing on the request form available in the Human Resources Office.

The supervisor has the option of informing the employee of the decision to recommend or not recommend the employee for a performance award at this time. 

The written request with a copy of the employee's most recent performance review (as outline above) is forwarded by the supervisor to the appropriate vice president or dean for review. 

The vice president/dean may deny the request at this point and inform the supervisor. 

When all requests have been reviewed and a final decision is made, the dean/vice presidents notify each supervisor in his/her area of responsibility of the final decision regarding each request. 

Employees are notified of their performance award increase first by the supervisor upon notification by the appropriate vice president, and then in the salary letter distributed by the President in June of each year.

The written request for a performance award, whether approved or denied, is forwarded to Human Resources for inclusion in the personnel file of each employee.    If the supervisor has not yet informed the employee that the performance award request was made, the supervisor must notify the employee at this time and indicate that a copy of the request is being forwarded to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.  

VI. Employee assistance and complaints

A. Employee assistance program

The employee assistance program at Reed College is administered by Cascade Centers (refer to Section VII, Benefits in the Staff Polices and Procedures manual).  Counselors are available to assist employees and dependents with personal problems.

The employee assistance program can also provide an additional tool for supervisors when an employee's problem is affecting his or her job performance.   Supervisors often do not know when or how to approach an employee with a problem and it can have a negative impact on the work relationship. 

A troubled employee may or may not have problems that affect job performance, but when it does affect performance, the troubled employee becomes less productive. "Some of the characteristics of an employee who may be affected by personal problems are 1) increased absenteeism; 2) on-the-job absenteeism; 3) high accident rate; 4) difficulty in concentration; 5) confusion; 6) erratic work patterns; 7) lowered job efficiency; 8) poor employee relationships on the job.

The supervisor's analysis of the situation should only relate to the requirements of the job and the employee's performance.  Do not attempt to diagnose the problem or ask for personal information.  The supervisor may, on the other hand, ask the employee if there are personal issues or problems affecting performance that may be helped through the employee assistance program. 

Supervisors may refer an employee for counseling as part of a discipline process or "last chance agreement."  Contact Human Resources for further information.

B. Workers compensation and accidents

Refer to Section III, Employment Law, and to Section IX, Safety and Health in the Staff Polices and Procedures manual, for a complete explanation of both the law and Reed College procedures. 

Supervisors have a responsibility for providing employees with a safe working environment, assisting employees in reporting accidents immediately, and cooperating fully in the early-return-to-work program of the college.

C. Investigating complaints

Supervisors may be approached by an employee with a complaint or concern about any number of issues that go beyond the scope of the work performed.  Some examples are observing unethical, inappropriate or illegal activity or behavior, being treated in a discriminatory manner by another community member, sexual or other kinds of harassment, etc. 

When a supervisor has been approached by an employee with a problem or complaint of a serious or unlawful nature, the institution has been "put on notice" that the problem exists, and it creates an obligation on the part of the institution to investigate and correct the problem.  Supervisors must immediately notify the appropriate college representatives and notify the employee that the information cannot be kept confidential.

In the case of sexual harassment, refer to Section III, Employment Law in the Staff Polices and Procedures manual, for the college's policies and procedures relating to a sexual harassment complaint.

Failure or refusal to cooperate in or interference with an internal investigation is grounds for discipline up to and including discharge.  

VII. Corrective action

A. Purpose for corrective action

Corrective action is taken for the purpose of assisting the employee in understanding what performance standards are not being met and what the employee needs to do to meet them.  The goal is to ensure that the college has taken reasonable steps to correct the problem, so that the employee can be successful in his/her job.

Because Reed College is an at-will employer, a supervisor has the right to recommend that an employment relationship be discontinued, with or without cause or prior notice, just as an employee has the right to discontinue the relationship under the same terms.  However, Reed College also has a practice of making reasoned decisions that are not arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, discriminatory and/or an abuse of managerial discretion.

When performance problems arise, supervisors have flexibility in selecting the option or options most appropriate to that particular situation, and are not required to go through any specific number or particular order of steps.  However, supervisors should be careful to apply policies and corrective action procedures consistently among all employees, treating similar situations the same from one employee to the next. 

In addition, the college has an obligation to treat all employees fairly and consistently across the campus.  Therefore, supervisors must discuss performance problems with Human Resources prior to taking any formal corrective action, that is, a written warning or more serious action, so that the corrective action can be evaluated in the larger context.

B. Documenting performance problems

When a supervisor realizes that a performance problem exists and there is a potential for corrective action, the supervisor should begin a log of critical incidents.  The log should be a factual and objective summary of the problems as they occur and the discussions held with the employee about the problem including specific details such as dates and times.  These discussions should occur as problems develop, so that the supervisor and employee have an understanding of the issues and can work together to resolve them.  Collecting or saving them until performance review time will do little to resolve the issue.

C. Key factors in assessing a performance problem

  1. What are the facts surrounding the problem?
  2. What kind of assessment/investigation was done to determine the facts?
  3. What was the employee's response or reasons given during the assessment/investigation?
  4. Is this an ongoing problem or an isolated incident?
  5. How serious is the problem?
  6. Are there mitigating factors in this case?
  7. In the case of an isolated incident, how much time has elapsed since the incident?
  8. Is this a problem that could be corrected if the employee were given additional training or information?
  9. Is this problem within the employee's ability to correct, or is it a problem over which he/she has no control?
  10. What is the employee's work history relating to past performance problems and other corrective actions taken?
  11. What is the risk in not confronting the employee and letting the problem continue?  What is the impact on other employees? What is the impact on the department and attaining departmental goals?
  12. Is there any possibility this employee would be singled out if corrective action were taken, or has the college applied the policy/standard consistently?
  13. Is the problem related to a disability or protected status?  (If so, contact Human Resources)

D. Investigating an incident

Always investigate an incident that may lead to corrective action prior to making a decision.  Ask the employee what occurred and why it occurred.  Interview witnesses and anyone else who might have pertinent information about the incident, if necessary to make an informed decision. 

Contact Human Resources for assistance during the investigatory process or to conduct the investigation on behalf of the supervisor, if needed. 

E. Deciding to take corrective action

  1. What are the specific performance problems that will need to be discussed with the employee?
  2. What specific examples can be used to illustrate the problem?
  3. What suggestions can be given to the employee to correct the problem?
  4. What are the possible reactions from the employee during this discussion, and what is the appropriate response?
  5. Is there a logical timeframe within which this problem must be corrected?
  6. Does the corrective action fit the violation or problem?

F. Deciding what kind of corrective action is necessary

Supervisors should set reasonable performance expectations, inform the employee of the expectations, discuss problems as they arise, suggest ways to correct the problem, and follow-up to ensure the problem is corrected.  When an employee is unable or unwilling to correct the problem, the supervisor needs to consider the appropriate next steps to take. 

If an employee is unable to perform, the options a supervisor might want to consider could include additional on-the-job training, workshops or classes in the area of deficiency, assigning a mentor or job expert to assist the employee, transfer to another position, or demotion.  If those options do not correct the problem, or are not feasible, the employee and supervisor may need to begin discussions leading to a mutually agreed upon termination of employment. 

If an employee continues to be unable to perform or is unwilling to perform, the supervisor may also consider the following (this list is not all-inclusive nor are these mandatory steps).

1.  Oral warning

The employee is told in clear terms that an oral warning is being given, why it is being given, what performance standards must be met, and what the employee needs to do to meet them.  At the conclusion of the conversation, the employee should know what is expected and how and when it is to be accomplished. The supervisor must immediately document the conversation.

2.  Written warning

The employee is told in writing and orally that a written warning is being given.  Written warnings become part of the employee's personnel file.  The written warning should include a signature line to indicate that the employee has a copy of the written warning and has discussed the warning with the supervisor.  During the discussion, the supervisor needs to ensure that the employee understands the action taken and what he/she needs to do to improve. 

3.  Final written warning

The employee is told in writing and orally that this is the final warning he/she will receive if the performance problem continues.  The employee is put on notice that he/she will be discharged as the next step in the corrective action process. 

4.  Suspension

In some cases, paid or unpaid suspension may also be appropriate. Suspension may also be appropriate when investigating an incident.

5.  Discharge

In most cases, an employee would receive one or more warnings or corrective actions prior to discharge.  However, for some serious infractions, the supervisor will need to consider immediate discharge with no prior warnings.  In addition to notifying Human Resources, the supervisor must inform the appropriate Vice President of a pending discharge.  Generally, an employee is released immediately upon being notified in writing of the discharge, and the employee's final pay must be included with the letter.

G. The discussion

Employees are allowed to have a co-worker of their choice present during any discussion that may reasonably lead to or is for the purpose of corrective action.  However, the college is not required to offer a witness; the employee must specifically request one.  The co-worker may participate in the discussion but may not be unduly disruptive. 

There are three purposes for the corrective action discussion:

It is not necessary for the employee to agree but it is important for the employee to understand.  At the same time, it is important for the supervisor to listen for any new information that might have an impact on the decision made.  If that is the case, the supervisor should suspend the discussion, consider the new information, and meet again with the employee within a short time, usually within 24 hours, to either continue the corrective action discussion or to modify it in some way.

H. Follow-up

Employees have the right to feedback from the supervisor when a problem has been corrected or performance has been improved.   In all cases, there should be a discussion between the supervisor and employee as progress is made, and in some cases, the supervisor may want to follow up in writing.

If, however, there is not sufficient improvement, supervisors have an obligation to continue the process of corrective action.

I. Sample written warning letter

Paragraph #1:  What has transpired to this date; be specific and include dates...

                  Example:  We have had several conversations regarding your tardiness...


Paragraph #2: What transpired to cause this action...

                  Example:  Yesterday you were 15 minutes tardy....


Paragraph #3: What this is...

                  Example:  Therefore, this is a written warning that will go in your personnel file...


Paragraph #4: What your expectations are including immediate and sustained improvement...

                  Example: Effective immediately, you must be at your work station....


Paragraph #5: What will happen next...

                  Example: Failure to meet these standards on an on-going basis may result in further

                  discipline or in discharge.

VIII. Employment references

A. Employment references

Written or oral requests for verification of employment should be forwarded to the Human Resources Office for completion.  These requests often come from banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, etc. to verify information on a loan request. 

Employees, current and former, will occasionally ask for a written reference or recommendation from a supervisor.  Supervisors may wish to write such a reference; however, the letter should include only information that can be documented and supported and should be reviewed by Human Resources.  If possible, return the original letter to the employee requesting it, who can then use the letter at his/her own discretion. 

Forward a copy of the letter to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.

Supervisors who give information that is subjective, not completely factual, or is given to someone who does not have a business need to know, whether on the phone or in writing, may be subject to a lawsuit and named personally in the suit.  In other words, the supervisor is held personally responsible, and personal assets are at risk.  Telephone references are particularly risky and should be avoided since it is difficult to prove exactly what was said.

IX. Personnel/Payroll Action Form (PPAF)

A. Personnel/Payroll Action Form PPAF

A Personnel/Payroll Action Form (PPAF) must be completed by the supervisor whenever there is a change in an employee's status.  This includes hiring, changes in pay rates, hours worked, title changes, unpaid work time, and termination.  The form is forwarded to the appropriate Vice President or higher level authority for signature, and then forwarded to Human Resources. 

Upon review and signature, Human Resources forwards the PPAF to the Vice President/Treasurer for review and signature.  It is then sent to the Payroll Office for processing.

The PPAF is included in the employee's personnel file after being processed. Blank forms are available in Human Resources

X. Data security

A. Data security

Although the protection of confidential college data is expected of all Reed employees, it is the responsibility of supervisors to take reasonable steps to ensure that data security procedures are followed by their staff.  Protection of computers and computer-based materials is especially important since such materials are prime targets for hackers, identity thieves, and others.

Unauthorized access to confidential college data can expose affected individuals –– as well as the college –– to serious financial and legal consequences.  Should data be compromised as a result of supervisory or staff negligence, the impact on the college could be even greater. 

A printed security brochure is available for supervisors to distribute to their staff and student employees. Detailed guidelines for data security are available on the Reed web site at:

Administrative Computing Services (ACS) performs periodic data security assessments of administrative offices and will provide data security training, documentation, and other assistance to supervisors upon request.  Please contact ACS at ext. 7600 if you have questions about security procedures or training.

If you believe that electronic security has been breached, that confidential materials have been compromised, or that computer equipment has been stolen, please contact the Chief Technology Officer immediately at ext. 7254 (503-777-7254).  In the case of computer theft, the Director of Community Safety should also be contacted at ext. 7379 (503-777-7379).

Supervisor Policies