Employee Performance Management Policy


Columbia College values its employees and the experience, knowledge and value they bring to the institution. The College is committed to supporting its employees to help them achieve high performance and to providing reasonable resources to help them be successful in their jobs.  Employees are expected to demonstrate a commitment to their jobs through, at a minimum, satisfactory performance. To help achieve this, the College strives to provide each employee with clear performance objectives, ongoing feedback and coaching, annual formal performance reviews, professional development opportunities, and recognition for outstanding work. In addition to performing the functions of the job (set forth in the job descriptions), employees are expected to demonstrate professionalism when interacting with other employees, students, and other individuals and groups on behalf of the College.

The purpose of this policy is to set forth the process for helping employees improve inadequate or inconsistent job performance and provide the steps that the College may take if sufficient improvement does not occur in a timely manner.  Occurrences of violations of College policy or rules, unacceptable behavior and misconduct may be addressed under this policy and/or the Employee Disciplinary Action Policy, depending on the individual circumstances of each situation and the nature and extent of correction that is needed.


This policy applies to College employees, with the exception of faculty whose job performance is subject to an evaluation process specifically tailored to faculty set forth in the Faculty Handbook. 


The College appreciates that at times, for any number of possible reasons, employees may experience difficulty meeting the expectations of their position.  When problems arise with an employee’s job performance, generally, the College will provide an opportunity for the employee to correct the performance issue(s) and the College expects the employee to commit to making and sustaining necessary satisfactory improvement.

Examples of inadequate performance, include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to perform assigned job duties timely and satisfactorily
  • Lack of professionalism in delivery of service, quality of communication and demeanor
  • Pattern of inaccuracy in performance of duties
  • Pattern of neglecting or not performing parts of one’s job
  • Substantiated complaints about the level of service provided
  • Failure to meet reasonable deadlines

The process set forth in this policy is designed to provide guidance and help employees develop and improve performance while maintaining accountability.  The time given to each step should take into account the complexity or newness of the position or tasks, workplace circumstances, and organizational impact.  

In the majority of situations, addressing performance problems starts with coaching and then progresses, if needed. However, there may be situations where the severity of the unacceptable performance warrants an immediate written plan, a final plan or termination of employment.

Supervisors who desire to take action outlined in this policy must first contact the Human Resources Department for consultation and to help ensure consistency with the application of this policy College-wide.

Step 1 - Coaching  

In the event a supervisor finds the job performance of an employee to fall below the acceptable level expected by the College, the supervisor should communicate job performance expectations for improvement in a clear and timely manner directly to the employee.  The College believes that a majority of performance concerns can be addressed and resolved at this early informal stage if properly addressed by supervisors.  At this step, supervisors should be prepared to:

  • Discuss in detail and identify the specific deficiencies that give rise to the coaching
  • Provide objective examples of what “success” in the job position looks like
  • Have a conversation with the employee about what they need to do to fulfill their job duties
  • Formulate a plan for ongoing assessment of improvement of performance
  • Establish a timeline to revisit the concerns and determine if performance has improved
  • Explain next steps if performance does not improve
  • Create a record for the supervisor that includes the content and date of the conversation and email the employee a copy of the same, if appropriate

Step 2 - Written Performance Improvement Plan 

If coaching does not yield improved job performance in the reasonable timeframe communicated to the employee, or if the situation is of a nature that requires more formal action without the coaching step, the employee may be issued a written performance improvement plan.  In general, performance improvement plans outline clear expectations for performance with the idea that the employee’s success in the position is the primary goal.  This document can include specific objectives for the employee to meet, identify specific performance deficiencies, a schedule of meetings between the supervisor and employee to evaluate progress and review work product for the desired improvements, and a timeframe in which performance is expected to improve.

Supervisors shall work directly with the Human Resources Department prior to issuing a performance improvement plan to an employee.

Step 3 - Final Performance Improvement Plan  

If the coaching and written performance improvement plan do not result in the expected performance improvements in a timely manner, or if the performance is of a level that requires immediate action without going through the above steps, a final performance improvement plan may be issued to an employee.   The final performance improvement plan generally follows a similar structure as the initial written performance improvement plan, including details of the problem(s), options, expectations, timeframe for assessment and consequences.

Supervisors shall work directly with the Human Resources Department prior to issuing a performance improvement plan to an employee.

Step 4 - Termination of Employment  

In the event job performance does not improve to meet expectations after going through the above steps, or if the performance is of a level that requires immediate action without going through the above steps, employment may be terminated.

Supervisors shall work directly with the Human Resources Department prior to a termination decision being made.

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Human Resources Department.

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