Why do managers and supervisors hold calibration meetings?

Performance calibration meetings help to ensure that the standards used to rate performance are balanced across the school, college, division, and ultimately, UC Davis.

Calibration meetings create a common, consistent language from which to clearly communicate performance management standards.


How do calibration meetings fit into the overall performance appraisal process?

Ideally, calibration meetings occur after a draft employee performance appraisal is written by the manager/supervisor and before the draft is shared with the employee. Following is a flowchart outlining the sequence of events in the performance appraisal process.

calibration 101 flowchart

What happens at a calibration meeting?

The goal of the meeting is for participants to discuss the most important criteria to differentiate top performers; review the proposed ratings of employees; and determine the alignment with the criteria identified for top performers. After discussion, the participants agree on performance ratings for each employee, making adjustments as appropriate. This helps drive greater consistency in the rating process.


What is considered as supervisors rate and differentiate employee performance?

Here are some questions that might be considered as supervisors rate and differentiate employee performance:

  • What behaviors were observed?
  • What impact did the individual’s accomplishments have on the unit, department, college, school, division or the university?
  • What significant accomplishments were above-and-beyond the employee’s job requirements?
  • What unusual circumstances took place this appraisal year that presented an opportunity for excellence?

What are the performance ratings for “top performers” and how are they differentiated?

The five ratings range from “Exceptional” to “Expectations Not Met” with “Fully Achieved Expectations” as the standard for employee performance. If we look at “top performers,” we need to start with what behaviors constitute “Fully Achieved Expectations.” View the 5-Level Appraisal Ratings Scale.

Fully Achieved Expectations – key differentiation questions Exceptional – key differentiation questions
  • Were all critical goals met?
  • Were achievements as expected of an experienced performer, and at times, perhaps surpassing expectations?
  • Did the individual demonstrate the required skills, knowledge and abilities essential for the individual’s area of responsibility?
  • Was the individual’s behavior consistently professional and supportive of positive organizational culture?
  • Were all critical goals completed at an exceptional level?
  • Did the individual’s performance consistently exceed all standards and expectations?
  • Did the individual demonstrate extraordinary skills, knowledge and abilities?
  • Did the individual consistently serve as an organizational role model?
  • Did the individual make ongoing, meaningful and valuable contributions to a positive organizational culture?

What else should be considered when conducting or participating in calibration meetings?

  • Performance ratings should be grounded in results and behaviors, not employees’ efforts, intentions or improvement.
  • Performance ratings should reflect only the effort and accomplishments of the appraisal period.
  • Culture shifts, including the use of calibration meetings, take time and practice.
  • The application of merit dollars is a process separate and apart from the rating and calibration processes.