Working Test Period
Pursuant to Section 4A; 4-5.1 of the New Jersey Administrative Code, all regular appointments to a title in the career service shall be subject to a four-month probationary "working test period." The working test period begins on the date the employee is appointed from a certification list.
- The working test period does not include time served under a provisional, temporary, interim, or emergency appointment.
- An approved leave of absence shall extend the working test period for a period of time equal to the leave when the employee returns to work.
- Employees appointed to entry level law enforcement titles shall serve a 12-month working test period. A law enforcement title is one that encompasses the use of full police powers.
- While serving in a working test period, an employee shall not be eligible for a promotional examination from the title.
- The supervisor shall prepare progress reports during the employee’s working test period, a first report at the end of the second month, a second report at the end of the third month and a final report at the conclusion of the test period. Employees shall be furnished with a copy of all progress reports. The original shall be retained in the employee’s personnel file.
- The University may extend the probationary period for an additional two months.
Performance Evaluation System Procedures
Classified employees are evaluated annually consistent with the process set forth by the NJ Department of Personnel and any applicable negotiated agreement. There is a standard fiscal year rating period, which runs from July 1 to June 30 of the next year. An interim evaluation is completed at the end of December and a final evaluation is completed at the end of June.
Employees whose overall work performance is deemed unsatisfactory for any given evaluation period shall be placed on a structured improvement plan and re-evaluated at the midpoint of the next evaluation cycle. Employees who fail to perform satisfactorily during their initial evaluation period or who evidence a pattern of unsatisfactory evaluations in a subsequent year(s) shall be subject to termination at the end of the current assessment period, or before, if warranted.
Performance Improvement Plans
A performance improvement plan is a formalized, structured plan of action designed to assist employees in bringing their levels of performance up to standards required for their particular jobs. Standards of performance should be established for all major job tasks, so that employees know exactly what is expected of them in the performance of their job duties.
When a Performance Improvement Plan is Required
A performance improvement plan is required whenever a gap exists between the employee’s actual performance and the expected levels of performance as described in the established performance standards.
Procedures for Implementing a Performance Improvement Plan
The following steps should be taken when a performance deficiency exists:
- The supervisor identifies the specific area(s) where the employee’s performance is below standard. Examples of areas in which improvement may be required are: accuracy of work, quality of work, productivity levels, organizational skills, written and/or oral communication skills.
- The supervisor schedules a meeting with the employee to discuss the specific area(s) needing improvement.
- The supervisor prepares a list of the specific improvements that the employee needs to accomplish to bring performance up to a standard level.
- The supervisor identifies appropriate methods and possible sources of assistance to help the employee improve performance; e.g., specialized training, restructuring of tasks, monitoring, coaching. The Organizational Development and Training office in the Division of Human Resources will provide consultation in identifying training opportunities for the employee, if desired.
- The supervisor establishes a realistic timetable for completing improvements, including periodic dates when performance will be reviewed and progress assessed if different from the midpoint of the next evaluation cycle.
- Following the meeting, the supervisor provides the employee with a written summary of the improvements required, along with target dates for a review of progress and completion of improvements.
- The supervisor follows through with the implementation of the performance improvement plan, the review of performance, and constructive feedback to the employee.
If there is no significant improvement
Performance evaluations should be ongoing and the feedback the employee receives should be immediate, specific, and constructive. Performance deficiencies that persist after the implementation of an improvement plan should be reflected in the employee’s formal performance evaluation. If serious performance deficiencies persist after appropriate intervention has occurred, disciplinary steps may need to be taken for failure to perform job duties, up to and including termination.
The performance evaluation process is a critical part of the reappointment process. It begins with a self-evaluation consisting of a brief description of job duties and an analysis of accomplishments for the assessment period that demonstrates the staff member’s personal and professional growth and development. In addition, the professional staff member specifies his/her goals for the next evaluation period. The evaluation document is reviewed at each level of supervision and a written evaluation and recommendation concerning reappointment made up through the divisional vice president. The President reviews the document and has final approval authority concerning reappointment.
The performance evaluation process for managerial staff occurs in the spring of each year. It begins with a self-evaluation in which the manager provides a written analysis of accomplishments for the current fiscal year and includes suggested goals for the next fiscal year. In addition, the manager outlines the areas in need of improvement for the coming year.
The evaluation document is reviewed at each level of supervision and a written evaluation and recommendation concerning reappointment made up through the divisional vice president. The President reviews the document and has final approval authority concerning reappointment. This document also informs the decision concerning salary increases for the manager.