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Staff Performance: Feedback, Evaluation, Misconduct, and Professional Development

Continuous Feedback | Annual Performance Assessment Process | Transfers and Promotions | Misconduct, Progressive Discipline, and Corrective Action | Progressive Discipline

Continuous Feedback

Supervisors should continuously provide staff members with ongoing feedback. Feedback should include reviewing position descriptions, setting goals and expectations, and periodically reviewing progress. Human Resources is available to provide additional training and guidance to both staff and supervisors regarding effective performance management.

Annual Performance Assessment Process

Opportunities for periodic assessment of staff performance will be provided at least once each year, allowing time for discussion of overall performance, a review of the past year, and an opportunity to set goals and priorities for the next year.

Transfers and Promotions

One of the ways that individuals broaden and deepen their career experience is through professional transitions within Swarthmore. Any transition to a position with a different position ID number is considered a position transfer. Transfers may or may not include a change in salary depending upon the level of the former and new positions. Typically, a staff member must be in their current department for a minimum of one year before an application for transfer will be considered.

The Staff Promotion Policy can be found here.

Misconduct, Progressive Discipline, and Corrective Action

Issues of poor performance or misconduct compromise both the individual and the institution. For this reason, Swarthmore expects and upholds high standards of performance and professional conduct at all times. 

Supervisors, in consultation with Human Resources, may exercise discretion as appropriate when determining the appropriate level of counseling or discipline. Disciplinary action generally occurs when performance improvement counseling has not had the desired effect or when misconduct warrants it. The disciplinary actions are intended to correct the behavior or performance issue. They are described below and distinguish between lesser or more serious actions of misconduct. Please note that matters which fall under the College’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy’s are not governed by this section.

Human Resources is available for consultation at any step of the performance improvement counseling process and should always be consulted before commencing disciplinary action.

Progressive Discipline

Unsatisfactory Job Performance

Providing direction, coaching, and feedback to staff members on job performance is an important part of a manager’s job. It is every staff member’s responsibility to meet the College’s job performance expectations. 

When a staff member’s on-the-job contributions do not meet minimal position standards, managers may take corrective action to apprise the staff member and to emphasize that, while their manager remains available to help, correction of deficiencies is the staff member’s obligation. Managers should consult with Human Resources prior to administering corrective action.

Human Resources is also available to answer any employee questions relating to corrective action.  

Forms of Corrective Disciplinary Action  

Disciplinary action for an unsatisfactory job performance may include verbal counseling, written warning, suspension with or without pay, or termination of employment. The appropriate action imposed will be determined after consultation with Human Resources. Performance issues are fact dependent and as such the College does not guarantee that one form/level of corrective action will necessarily precede another. Decisions as to where to begin this process are solely at the discretion of the College. For the avoidance of doubt, except where otherwise mandated by law, nothing in this policy alters the at-will nature of your employment, meaning the College may end your employment at any time and for any reason, with or without advance notice.

Misconduct Warranting Immediate Discharge

Actions that involve dishonesty, violation of the law, or material risks to College operations or to the safety or well-being of oneself or others are grounds for immediate dismissal for cause. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized removal or destruction of property belonging to others, including the College, co-workers, or students, and including discarded, excess, or found property
  • Unauthorized use of College resources for personal gain
  • Possessing an unauthorized weapon on College time or premises
  • Threatening or assaulting another person on College time or premises
  • Insubordination
  • Falsifying College records, including employment application and time records
  • Making unauthorized changes to one’s own personal data in College systems
  • Unauthorized absence from the worksite that is not accurately reflected on time records.
  • Conviction of a crime or other behavior that impacts suitability for employment
  • Failure to report a criminal conviction to one's supervisor or Human Resources within seventy-two (72) hours of conviction
  • Use, possession, or distribution of drugs or illicit/excessive use of alcohol on College time, or reporting to work under the influence 
  • Gross negligence that may result in significant injury or loss
  • Absence of three consecutive workdays without prior authorization or medical documentation
  • Violation of the College's non-discrimination or harassment policies
  • Failure to respond to official on-call responsibilities
  • Disclosing information, the College considers proprietary and/or confidential
  • Violation of the College's Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Information Security Plan 
  • Inappropriate use of College technology
  • Dishonesty that may harm others or the College

Decisions to terminate employment should only be made after consultation with Human Resources who will discuss the matter with the appropriate member of senior leadership. 

Eligibility for Transfer While on Performance Improvement Counseling/Disciplinary Action

Staff members who are engaged in performance improvement counseling or another form of disciplinary action are not eligible to transfer to other positions within the College.