Staff Performance Management Policy




Procedure Number: Version Number: 3
Classification: Effective Date: 5/01/2010
Responsible University Official: Vice President Human Resources


The University is committed to building and maintaining a highly committed, productive, and customer-focused workforce to support its mission. All staff are expected to model the University's Catholic, Jesuit values of competency, compassion, community, conscience and commitment by interacting with others in the spirit of collegiality, cooperation, and respect. Supervisors are responsible for training, assisting, motivating, directing and correcting behavior and performance of staff, including communication of management's expectations. Where problems with employee behavior and performance arise, a supervisor should seek to correct the problem with the least amount of disruption to the work environment, and in a confidential manner. At all times personnel actions must be administered in a fair, equitable, and consistent manner without regard to race, sex, age, sexual orientation, handicapping condition, religion, or national origin. Inconsistent treatment of employees for similar infractions may lead to low morale among employees and potential liabilities arising out of staff grievances and discrimination claims.


This policy establishes guidelines for addressing both performance and behavior issues in the workplace.


This policy applies to all regular full-time and part-time staff employees who have successfully completed their orientation period, with the exception of employees in a collective bargaining unit or employees of the Madrid campus.


Performance Management Issue: An employee's failure to meet expectations and standards due to misconduct, lack of collegiality, productivity, quality, or any other reasons. (Performance Improvement Memorandum)

Performance Improvement Memorandum: Documentation used to initiate progressive discipline to address performance management issues and/or whenever an employee overall does not meet expectations on his or her performance evaluation.

Documentation: Adequate documentation may include, but is not limited to, an authorized PIM form, written memoranda, email or other written documentation that substantially meets the requirements of 7.2 and supports the level of disciplinary action.


Supervisors are responsible for informing employees of expectations regarding satisfactory conduct and performance as issues arise and during the annual performance evaluation process. Supervisors should generally use progressive discipline to correct performance management problems and inform the employee of future consequences if expectations are not met. Progressive discipline may include written warning, suspension, and/or ultimately discharge. The University may discharge an employee for any reason and at any time it determines that progressive discipline would not be appropriate or effective. Employees may also be accountable for behavior outside of work if it has an impact on their ability to perform their job responsibilities or the potential to adversely impact the University's operations and reputation. Documentation is necessary to support performance management related actions. Supervisors who cannot provide documentation may be directed to defer imposing the proposed performance management action. Contact Human Resources staff for guidelines on documenting disciplinary actions.


Supervisors are responsible for effectively communicating conduct and performance expectations and administering the staff performance management policy. Human Resources is responsible for advising supervisors regarding performance management issues including assessment of progressive discipline in individual cases and interpreting applicable University policies.


The following outlines the procedures and levels of discipline, each progressively more serious, that should ordinarily be used to correct performance management issues. This policy is intended to establish a common sense and flexible approach to address performance management issues and should not be interpreted to mandate imposing consecutive steps of discipline before discharge may occur. The supervisor has discretion to impose any level of discipline based upon the severity of the issue, including the impact of particular behavior or performance on the unit, the employee's work history and ability to succeed, and any prior corrective action. A Performance Improvement Memorandum should be used to communicate and document disciplinary actions. Progressive discipline may vary for management personnel because of higher expectations and the potential impact of performance management issues on the unit or the University's operations.

7.1 Pre-Counseling Conference

The supervisor must schedule a pre-counseling conference with the employee prior to initiating the corrective action to ensure that an employee receives an opportunity to present information and facts, and is not wrongfully counseled. The employee should be notified in writing of the date, location, and the purpose of the pre-counseling conference in advance of the meeting if possible. If advance written notice is not possible, a written notice describing the basis for the proposed corrective action and other information about the conference must be presented to the employee when the conference is held.

7.2 Written Warning

A Performance Improvement Memorandum, should be used to initiate progressive discipline to address performance management issues when they arise and whenever an employee receives an overall performance evaluation of "Does Not Meet Expectations." The Performance Improvement Memorandum must contain the following information:

  • a description of the specific performance management issue; the most recent incident and when it occurred;
  • impact of issue on the department and the University; obtain employee's feedback;
  • previous actions taken to correct the problem (if applicable), expectations and acceptable standards of performance;
  • coaching and steps to change behavior or improve performance; action steps to be taken by employee;
  • action steps to be taken by the supervisor;
  • a clear statement regarding future disciplinary actions if unsatisfactory behavior or performance is not corrected.

Typically, a Performance Improvement Memorandum is issued and discussed with the employee in private conference with the supervisor. A copy of the memorandum should be given to the employee and a copy placed in the employee's official personnel record in Human Resources. Progressive discipline that notifies the employee that further performance management issues may result in discharge is commonly referred to as a final warning. An employee who receives a second Performance Improvement Memorandum within a twelve (12) month period or an overall performance evaluation of "Does Not Meet Expectations" will be deemed to be on a final warning, unless the magnitude of the behavior or the performance issues support discharge. Supervisors may seek assistance from Human Resources prior to giving an employee a written warning. Human Resources must approve any final warning before it is issued.

7.3 Suspension

Employees may be suspended without pay for misconduct or policy violations which are serious enough to warrant suspension. The duration of the suspension should be commensurate with the severity of the conduct or violation. Typically the employee is informed of the suspension in private conference with his or her supervisor and other appropriate levels of supervision. The employee is given a letter detailing the basis for the action which specifies: the length of the suspension (beginning and ending dates) and should contain the information in the written warning as outlined above in Section 7.2.

Suspensions are not to be used for any employee who has already received a final warning. Human Resources must be involved in any suspension decision. Generally, a written warning or suspension that is more than twelve months old will not be considered when administering future corrective counseling. However, such work history may be considered in instances where a pattern of unsatisfactory behavior or performance is involved or the employee's record suggests that lesser corrective action would be ineffective.

7.4 Interim suspension

For serious allegations it is usually advisable to suspend a employee pending investigation. This is known as an interim suspension and is for the purpose of investigating a problem and conferring with appropriate officials regarding the decision to discharge and should be so communicated to the employee. If the interim suspension pending investigation does not result in discharge or other corrective action, the employee will be reinstated with pay for any lost work time.

7.5 Demotion

Employees may be demoted to a position of lower duties/responsibilities if the employee is unable to perform the duties of the current position due to serious performance management issues.

7.6 Discharge

Employees may be discharged for failure to meet expectations established through a Performance Improvement Memorandum or performance management issue which is serious enough to warrant immediate discharge. Examples of offenses that may result in immediate discharge include, but are not limited to, theft, intoxication on the job, violence or threat of violence, conviction of a felony, acts of dishonesty, serious violations of University policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, or retaliation; and reckless, careless or intentional performance that results in unacceptable risk or damage to property or individuals. Human Resources must be involved in any discharge decision. It is advisable to discharge an employee in private conference with his or her supervisor and a Human Resources representative. Other appropriate levels of supervision may be present. During this conference the employee is usually given a letter or a memorandum clearly stating the reasons and the effective date of discharge. An employee who has involuntarily terminated or resigned due to misconduct or unsatisfactory job performance is not eligible for rehire.


Staff members who have successfully completed their orientation period and who feel that a Performance Improvement Memorandum was not consistent with University or departmental policy or practice have the right to appeal the action through the University's Grievance Policy. Employment actions involving a suspension or discharge can be appealed through the University's Staff Peer Review Policy. Staff members discharged during the orientation period are not eligible to use these appeals processes. However, any staff member who believes that a disciplinary action was the result of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, may contact the University's director of diversity and affirmative action and file a complaint under the University's Equal Employment Opportunities Policy, even if the staff member is in their orientation period. The dispute resolution process is not available if the staff member chooses to resign, even if the resignation is in lieu of a discharge.


Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy

Staff Peer Review Policy

Staff Grievance Policy


This policy was reviewed by the Executive Staff, the President's Coordinating Council, and the Staff Advisory Committee Executive Board

This policy was approved by:

Lawrence Biondi, S.J.
Saint Louis University