Foundation Administrators Network Meeting: Effective Employee Performance Appraisals

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 -
8:45am to 10:30am EDT
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 630 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2550, NYC
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WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Members who have responsibility for foundation administration, including human resources, finance, and operations.


Philanthropy New York's Foundation Administrators Network is a resource for those working in foundation administration.
The network meets quarterly to give participants an opportunity to connect with colleagues in person, discuss topics of interest in a confidential setting, and meet Philanthropy New York staffers who support the network. New members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Meeting Agenda

We will discuss effective employee performance appraisals at the next quarterly Foundation Administrators Network meeting. Performance appraisals provide employees and their supervisors with the opportunity to discuss areas in which employees excel and those in which they need improvement. Appraisals also offer the chance to identify training needs and form the basis for decision making on salary increases, promotions, and disciplinary actions. Often times, though, appraisals are rushed, not held in constructive settings, or not done at all. This leads to employees feeling a lack of interest or concern from their supervisors and results in poor performance.   
Fellow FAN members, Annette Ensley (Director, Administration/Human Resources, The Nathan Cummings Foundation), Jeanne Haws (Director of Operations, Wellspring Advisors), and Kathy Makowski (Personnel Officer, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation), have offered to share their respective approaches to employee performance appraisals as a basis for the discussion.
Attendees are encouraged to review the following discussion questions and bring additional questions and comments to the table (i.e. successes and challenges at your own organization, your experience with 360-degree feedback or peer-to-peer reviews):
  • What are your organizational goals for your employee performance appraisal process?
  • How is your process aligned with the culture of your organization?
  • How do you create organizational buy-in for the appraisal process and ensure that all supervisors conduct appraisals appropriately? 
  • Do you use metrics? If so, how do you set common standards for each rating level so there is consistency across the organization? If you use a rating scale, do you benchmark employees against each other?
  • Is your process tied to compensation?
  • Do employees review their supervisors or provide feedback on overall organizational structure?
  • How often do you conduct formal performance appraisals? Do you have informal appraisals in between? Are there other follow-up actions taken in between formal appraisals?
  • How do you track an employee’s growth and improvement from year to year?
  • What approach do you take with employees who are not performing up to expectations?
  • Have you made changes to your process?  If so, what was your previous process and what didn’t work about that process?
Request for Materials:
Prior to the meeting, we are asking participants to share the following: (a) a description of your process, including when you start the process and how long it takes; (b) any specific policies or practices you emphasize; and (c) any forms or other printed matter (including instructions, etc.) you can pass along. We will compile the materials into a packet that will be given out at the meeting - removing all information pertaining to specific organizations so all will remain anonymous. If you would like to contribute, please send your materials to Kristen Ruff ( by noon on Monday, May 17th.
Reminder: As always, creating a confidential space at network meetings is very important.  Please do not share specific details from the meetings with individuals outside the network.
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