Probationary Period

Non-Exempt Employees

A probationary period is a trial employment period in which employees demonstrate their ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of their positions. All newly hired non-exempt employees shall serve a six-month probationary period. During a probationary period, non-exempt employees shall receive a written performance evaluation at the following intervals: Mid-way through the initial probationary period and at the end of the initial probationary period.

For the probationary period performance evaluations, the Probationary & Below Standards Performance Evaluation form is used, which can be found on the HR website under the Manager & Admin Toolkit. The supervisor is responsible for the completion of the probationary evaluation form. If the probationary period end date aligns with the Performance Management Process due date, the PMP may be used for both processes by indicating “Probationary Evaluation” in the top margin of the PMP form.

Upon the successful completion of the point of hire probationary period, the non-exempt Regular employee receives a 2.5 percent salary increase. Contingent I and II employees are not eligible for a probationary increase.

Probationary period may also apply to other employment actions, for example position reclassification, please refer to the Staff Employee Handbook and the Memorandum of Understanding for Non-Exempt Employees for additional details.

Exempt Employees

Newly hired exempt employees shall serve a probationary period of one (1) year. Under certain circumstances described in Policy VII-9.01 on Implementation of Phase II - Exempt of the USM Pay Program (January 12, 2000), promoted employees shall also be required to serve a one-year probation. During the probationary period, the supervisor, with the approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer, may reject an employee without reason provided there is a 30 calendar day notification and the notice occurs at least 30 calendar days prior to the expiration of the probationary period. In such cases, the employee has the right to appeal the rejection within five working days of receipt of the written notification on grounds of procedural deficiency.

Performance Management Process (PMP) – For Staff ONLY

Staff performance is evaluated through the Performance Management Process (PMP). This process follows the USM Policy for Performance and provides a method and form to evaluate employee performance on an annual basis. Performance evaluations are required for all PIN and C2 employees and remain optional for C1 employees. 

The performance evaluation form is based on goals and objectives previously agreed upon by the employee and supervisor and performance pertaining to specific job functions, responsibilities or skills required in the employee's position.

All staff performance is evaluated on the following rating scale:

Ratings Rating Descriptions
3 Exceeds Expectations: Staff member exceeds expectations by stepping beyond the scope of their job description. Performance that exceeded expectations was due to the staff member's effort and skill.
2 Meets Expectations: Staff member's performance fully meets the established job expectations and may on occasion exceed expectations. The staff member generally performs well and requires little additional guidance.
1 Below Expectations: Staff member's performance generally fails to meet the established expectations or requires frequent supervision an/or the redoing of work. The staff member does not perform at the level expected for employees doing this type of work. Below standard job performance is due to the staff member's lack of skill or effort.

In order to give staff and supervisors ample time to thoroughly complete evaluations we have extended the due dates for finalized reviews. Since there are a few processes running at the same time, we have provided a timeline below.

May 1, 2024: Performance Management Process Kickoff! Supervisors should begin discussions with employees about performance.

May 3, 2024: The supervisor feedback survey will be sent to all employees, and responses are due no later than May 24th.

May 16, 2024: Training on the performance process generally will be hosted by HR.

Week of May 27, 2024: Trainings will be held to disseminate the supervisor feedback that was collected from the survey.

May 31, 2024: Supervisors must notify HR of any employees receiving “Below Expectations”.

June 6, 2024: Training on the performance process generally will be hosted by HR.

June 21, 2024: All other reviews that “Meet” or “Exceed Expectations” should be turned in in order for staff employees to be eligible for Merit.

Staff Performance Management Process

Salisbury University is a performance-based campus. That means, merit is linked to performance. This can happen in a variety of ways but underscores that annual evaluations are required in order to receive merit. In order to be eligible for merit, employees must receive an overall score of “Meets Expectations” or “Exceeds Expectations.” Employees that are “Below Expectations” will not receive merit during this performance cycle.

The COLA/Merit schedule is provided to the University by the Chancellor and Governors Offices and will be shared with campus as it’s learned but should not delay the performance management process. This process is for Staff only. The faculty performance process runs separately through the Academic Affairs Office. However, if there are faculty members that manage staff, they will need to complete these forms for those individuals.

This year we will be kicking off the performance management cycle with a supervisor survey. Developed in response to Staff Senate’s requests for a means of providing supervisor feedback, this new survey will be sent to all staff employees as an optional portion of the performance cycle. The supervisor survey will allow employees to provide confidential feedback on either their direct supervisor or other supervisors in their division. The responses will be collected by Human Resources and shared with supervisors in a special training session where they will be encouraged to make enhancements based on the feedback provided.

Following the survey, employees and supervisors will begin to work on the performance evaluation using the forms below.

Performance Evaluation Forms

All positions at Salisbury University require an up-to-date Position Description on file. Position descriptions outline the necessary job functions, responsibilities and skills required for employees to perform the job. Position descriptions can serve as a guide during the year and help when evaluating job performance. If an employees position description is out of date, please update the form and send it in along with the annual evaluation.

To evaluate annual performance, one form was developed for both non-exempt and exempt staff employees. The staff Performance Evaluation Form was approved by the union and replaces the old forms to help move the campus towards the upcoming performance tool in Workday. To complete the form, please see the outline below.

Performance Assessment Form Outline

  1. Employee & Supervisor Info
  2. Section 1: Goal Appraisal
    • This section outlines the rating scale and provides space to share the 3-5 goals that the employee was working towards in the past year. Supervisors should assess the employee’s performance towards each goal and provide a rating using the scale below. Employees and/or Supervisors may provide comment or feedback about each goal as they see fit.  
  3. Section 2: Job Responsibility Appraisal 
    • This section should describe the specific duties performed by the employee in this position that are assessed over the performance year. The functions, responsibilities, or skills should align with what is described in the job description on file and vary depending on if the position is exempt or non-exempt. For example, generally exempt jobs are assessed by job function and non-exempt jobs are assessed by responsibility or skill. This section should be consistent with what has been assessed in the past for the position.
  4. Section 3: Employee Overall Self-Assessment & Supervisor Overall Assessment 
    • This section provides space for the employee to evaluate their own performance along with the supervisor. These evaluations should include overall observations about performance in the past year and areas to improve on in the future. Comments should effectively summarize and support the overall performance rating. The overall rating should be consistent with the feedback given throughout the review.
  5. Section 4: Goal Setting for the Coming Year
    • This section provides space for the 3-5 SMART goals for next year. Please describe your expectations of the goal and the action steps or strategy required to meet it. Then, define what success looks like and how you (as supervisor) can support the effort to help the employee achieve the desired outcome.  Finally, share the target completion date for each specific goal. This will set the criteria for the upcoming appraisal year and allow for the measurement of progress until that time. SMART GOALS = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
  6. Section 5: Job Responsibility Outline 
    • This section should describe the specific duties to be performed by the employee in this position that will be assessed over the next performance year. The functions, responsibilities, or skills should align with what is described in the job description on file and vary depending on if the position is exempt or non-exempt. For example, generally exempt jobs are assessed by job function and non-exempt jobs are assessed by responsibility or skill. This section should be consistent with what has been assessed in the past for the position.
  7. Section 6: Review & Discussion Confirmation & Signature
    • Please review all feedback, discuss goals for the coming year and set check-in points. The completed review should be sent to .

Please note that signing this form does not indicate agreement, but acknowledges that performance has been reviewed and discussed.

Performance Training

The HR Department will host trainings to go through the updates for this year and answer any questions managers or employees have about the process. Additional resources will be available soon.

If you have any questions on the PMP review cycle, please contact:

  • Tina Boyd, Interim Director, HR, at ext. 76565 or
  • Michael Papagikos, Director of Employee Experience at
  • Christine Benoit, HR Talent & Organizational Development Specialist for general questions at ext. 75394 or

Employee Relations

Progressive Discipline

Department managers and supervisors should inform nonexempt employees of University rules and regulations. Disciplinary action should be taken as soon as possible after a work rule violation or unacceptable behavior. For repeated but relatively minor incidents of substandard performance, misconduct, or rule violations, corrective counseling and discipline should be progressive. The normal sequence of action is: (1) Counseling or Initial Discussion; (2) Verbal Reprimand; (3) Written Reprimand; (4) Suspension without pay; (5) Discharge from University service. Depending on the severity of the case, action may begin at any of these steps. Any action involving suspension or discharge requires prior review by the Director of Human Resources or her/his designated representative.

Progressive Discipline Steps

Counseling or Initial Discussion: Normally, initial disciplinary action should be in the form of an oral discussion, especially for minor rule violations.

Verbal Reprimand: If the initial discussion fails to produce the desired results, a verbal reprimand is normally the next step. Supervisors should maintain a complete and accurate written notation of the reprimand.

Written Reprimand: A Written Reprimand involves both a formal interview with the employee by the supervisor and an official memorandum to the employee emphasizing the negative effect of the employee's conduct or work performance on her/his record. Consult Office of Human Resources for review of written document before it is presented to employee.

Suspension: "Suspension" means the interruption (without compensation) of the active employment status pending an investigation and decision as to the extent of disciplinary action; or suspension may be disciplinary action in itself. Consult the Office of Human Resources for guidelines regarding suspensions.

Discharge or Release: In cases other than serious offenses, termination from employment should be used as a last resort and be based on an employee’s employment record. Consult the Office of Human Resources before any discharge action is taken.

More information can be found in the Staff Employee Handbook and the Memorandum of Understanding for Non-Exempt Employees.

Progressive Discipline Forms

Other Resources for Supervisors