Carnegie Mellon University

Employee Relations

Maintaining a positive, productive work environment is critical for all managers. You accomplish this by engaging in:

  • mentoring and coaching your staff
  • regular feedback, including annual performance reviews
  • open and honest communication regarding group, unit and university business issues
  • change management strategies
  • employee engagement and empowerment
  • fairly, assertively and promptly addressing workplace challenges and problems

Addressing declining performance or poor personal skills is an unwelcome but necessary function. Unacceptable performance and conflicting relationships can quickly impact the productivity and workplace environment for the entire group. Your HR Manager is a wonderful resources for helping you to address employee relations or performance issues.

The Carnegie Mellon Strategic Plan strongly emphasizes an accomplished university community. One of the strategies to achieve that goal is for managers to give regular performance feedback and establish clear lines of communication with their employees. Ongoing feedback should clarify expectations, standards, and perceived performance throughout the year and bring to light the issues that may contribute to or distract from achieving those goals.

The university expects that each member of the university community will receive a performance review each fiscal year (by June 30). Employees are encouraged to complete a self-assessment as part of the review process.

If a staff member's work performance is not satisfactory, or if the staff member has violated university policy, it is your responsibility as a manager to address the issue. Please contact your HR Manager to partner on a resolution. Disciplinary guidelines are detailed in the Staff Handbook [pdf].

The Performance Improvement Plan [doc] is implemented at the discretion of the supervisor. It facilitates a constructive discussion between the staff member and supervisor and clarifies work performance to be improved.

Once the plan has been developed, the supervisor and employee review the document to confirm the plan will help the staff member attain the desired level of performance. The supervisor monitors and provides feedback regarding the staff member's performance and may take additional disciplinary action, if warranted, through the university’s progressive discipline process.

  1. Be Flexible — Understand that employees have a personal life outside of their work life. Be as flexible with work schedules as you can to allow for employees to take care of personal matters. Learn more about the university's Flex Time Policy.
  2. Communicate — Its important for everyone to be part of the team and be in the loop with the latest information available.
  3. Recognize Success — Recognition does not always have to come in the form of a financial award. A "Thank You" note or a "kudos" email go along way in showing your appreciation. There are also many programs at the university to recognize outstanding service to the university community:
    • The Andy Awards are a tribute to the spirit of teamwork and dedication embodied by the staff at Carnegie Mellon University.
    • The Celebration of Education Awards recognize the accomplishments of faculty who exemplify the university’s standards of excellence in education.
    • The Alumni Awards recognize alumni, faculty and students for their service to the university and for their achievements in the arts, humanities, sciences, technology and business.
  4. Offer Developmental Opportunities — Provide employees with the ability to grow and learn more than just performing their current duties. Offer on-the-job training, plan and budget for developmental opportunities, and encourage your team to participate in professional development opportunities.
  5. Build Trust — You build trust by saying what you are going to do and doing what you say you are going do.
  6. Give and Receive Feedback — Provide honest performance feedback to your staff members and allow them to provide you with feedback.
  7. Promote a Sense of Purpose — It is important for every employee to see where their role fits in with the university and how their work contributes to the success of Carnegie Mellon.