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Conducting annual performance reviews during remote work

Many MSU employees are working remotely during this unprecedented public health situation and the following guidance should help supervisors continue to conduct annual performance reviews.

Individual major administrative units (MAU) must determine if they want their supervisors to continue conducting annual performance reviews during this period of remote work. Please contact your HR representative if you’re unsure whether you should be conducting annual performance reviews.

Please Note: We will not be changing review dates in the system, which means review reminders will continue to be auto-generated the last business day of each month until the review is completed. On-time completion data will be footnoted relative to the current COVID-19 emergency.

Virtual Annual Performance Review Guidance

Steps to Complete the Review

  1. Follow the usual steps to prepare for the Annual Performance Review discussion and the Performance Planning for the next performance cycle. Find tips to prepare here.
  2. Follow your unit’s defined process for performance reviews. Complete all internal unit requirements and procedures as directed.
  3. Provide a copy of the completed review form to the employee prior to the meeting. We recommend sharing the form with the employee in advance of the meeting by email, so they have time to prepare for and fully engage in the discussion. At a minimum, share your screen during the virtual meeting so your employee can see the completed review form.
  4. Hold the Annual Review meeting using remote collaboration tools. Find tips to prepare here and tips to conduct the meeting while working remotely below:
    1. Conduct the review using video chat options to allow for a more personal connection with your employee. MSU has great collaboration tools available.
  5. Complete the Performance Planning Form for the following performance cycle. Find tips to prepare here.
  6. Schedule regularly occurring times for ongoing coaching and feedback throughout the next performance cycle.

How to Send in Completed Forms

When physical or electronic signatures on Performance Excellence documents are not an option during this period of remote work, you may instead submit forms using the steps below. The following are required for processing:

  • The supervisor and employee must both be cc’d on your email to HR.
    • As usual, do not send the Employee Self-Review, Goal Planning and Development Form, or any unnecessary documents that are not specifically referenced in the Annual Review Form as additional source documents.
  • The date the annual review and performance planning meetings were completed must be listed in the body of the email.
  • Attach the annual review and performance planning forms to the email.
  • Send the email to central HR at or follow your unit’s specific process for reviewing and submitting documentation. Reminder: supervisor and employee must also be cc’d on this email.

Additional Considerations

Annual performance reviews are a great way to connect with employees during this unprecedented time. Utilizing technology is key to ensuring the annual review is a meaningful experience for both employee and supervisor.

In many cases, the process of performance reviews can help provide some sense of normalcy and allow employees and supervisors to step outside of the current space to connect and reflect. Discussions regarding successes of the previous year and opportunities that exist for the upcoming year can help clarify and further define priorities for ongoing remote work.