Step 1: Setting Goals & Expectations

The first step in the YOU@PSU process involves setting performance expectations between a staff member and their manager. Included in the performance expectations are job responsibilities, goal setting, and competencies/behaviors. 

Training Resources

Click on one of the links below to register for an Adobe Connect session to learn how to complete Step One (choose the session that relates to your role within the YOU@PSU process):

Or- If you prefer learning on your own, click on one of the video links below:

Training Materials

Coming Soon

Job Responsibilities

Job responsibilities cover the most critical tasks and activities an individual is responsible for day-to-day.

A thorough review of job responsibilities ensures that:

  • Individuals understand the most critical day-to-day tasks and activities
  • Tasks and activities are aligned with supervisor, department, and University expectations

Individuals will review their job description at the beginning of each year. If the job description is misaligned to responsibilities/areas of focus, the individual will propose edits. After the individual has completed their review, a supervisor will review and approve the job description to ensure that responsibilities are clearly and appropriately reflected. The supervisor will then use this description when evaluating performance throughout the year. If the role has changed drastically, the job will be submitted for a job review for additional approval.

For a helpful resource on completing your job responsibilities worksheet click here.

Competencies and Behaviors

Competencies and behaviors cover key skills and traits that help the individual accomplish their job responsibilities and achieve goals for the year.

Including competencies & behaviors in the new performance management program allows Penn State to evaluate not only what gets done (i.e., the job responsibilities and goals), but also how it gets done.
Penn State employees will have a conversation with their managers about the competencies and corresponding behaviors they are expected to exhibit at the beginning of each performance management cycle. The competencies are those already in use by Penn State as part of the compensation program. After this conversation, they will document how the competencies should be exhibited (behaviors).

The employee’s supervisor will conduct the conversation and will do the following:

  • Before the conversation: Review the Penn State competencies and add any competencies that departments have developed on their own as needed
  • After the conversation: Use these competencies when providing feedback throughout the year as a benchmark for individual performance
  • In the final performance evaluation: Document how competencies were exhibited and compare to expectations set at beginning of the year

To input your job responsibilities worksheet, login using the button below:

Login To The Performance Management System

Goal Setting

This portion of YOU@PSU covers what an individual needs to accomplish to support departmental goals. Use the goal development worksheet to help get you started.

Goal setting ensures Penn State:

  • Aligns groups, departments, and individuals to University strategy and goals
  • Reflects on how individual roles support the mission of Penn State
  • Gives clarity and focus to daily work
  • Sets the stage for value-added conversations around performance
  • Identifies opportunities for development and improvement
  • Makes evaluations more objective

Penn State employees will set goals after reviewing University and department goals and confirming job responsibilities with supervisor.

Individuals will identify 2-5 goals for each performance cycle. At least one goal should support department/unit goals and one goal should support ongoing job responsibilities/professional development

Supervisors should set at least one goal reflecting their supervisory-specific responsibilities such as helping their direct report set relevant goals and having development conversations with their staff each year

Goals may be accomplished over several years, however, only the portion of the goal for the selected performance year should be included in the current year

Individuals will document the following for each goal:

  • Goal description
  • Action steps to achieve goal
  • Metrics/what success looks like
  • Resources needed to achieve goal
  • Target completion date

Once employees have drafted their goals, supervisors will have a conversation with employees to review their goals. Note: This can also be done in conjunction with the meeting to discuss and clarify job responsibilities. In areas where staff members have similar positions, the same goal can be used for all individuals if appropriate. The supervisor will then use these goals when evaluating performance throughout the year.

The majority of units, colleges and campuses have their five-year strategic plans in place for 2015-16 through 2019-2020.   This is an opportunity to help ensure that individual goals are aligned with department goals and ultimately, Penn State’s goals as well.

For more information about Penn State's strategic planning process, and to view the current University and Unit strategic plans, visit the Office of Institutional Planning and Assessment website: or the Strategic Plan area on the Executive Vice President and Provost's website:

To gain understanding on the imperatives set forth by Dr. Barron, read Penn State's news story.

To input your goals, login using the button below:

Login To The Performance Management System