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MassPerform Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most common questions and answers about MassPerform.

Table of Contents

Annual Kickoff

What is an expectation? Can you provide an example? 

Expectations are defined in the MassPerform Program Guide & Toolkit as: “a key result, deliverable, or behavior change by a specified time given by a manager to an employee. A manager’s expectation(s) may be related to the expectations provided by his or her supervisor and cascaded down to an appropriate level.”

Expectations can be brief and high-level, but should help an employee understand how their goals fit into the larger strategic objectives of the business unit and the organization.

Examples of a manager’s expectations and an employee’s corresponding goals:

Expectation: Modernize the grant application process by June 30th to reduce processing time by 15%.

  • Goal: Procure new application processing software by December 15th.
  • Goal: Hire two new employees to support application process by March 1st.

Expectation: Produce accurate annual report detailing program activities.

  • Goal: Create a spreadsheet to track monthly accomplishments to include in annual report.
  • Goal: Provide draft report to program directors for review, allowing at least two weeks for input before publishing.


Any advice for setting expectations?

Expectations can come from a variety of sources – the employee’s job description, current projects/initiatives, expectations cascaded from your own manager, etc.

When determining expectations for an employee, you can ask yourself: What do I want/need this employee to accomplish this year? Or, what business outcomes do I expect from this employee this year?

Road trip analogy for expectations and goals:

  • Think of expectations as the destination of the trip, determined by the manager.
  • Think of goals as the specific route details, planned by the employee (e.g. we will travel by car, depart on date, refuel at x, y, z locations, and arrive by date).


What do I do if an employee takes matters into their own hands to set expectations for themselves before their manager does?

Refer to the MassPerform Program Guide & Toolkit to review the roles and responsibilities of both the manager and the employee. If you are the manager, let the employee know of your expectations for them and confirm that you have documented them correctly in the system. 


What do I do as a manager if I need to modify the expectations for my direct report(s)?

What to do depends on where the form is. If you've submitted the Manager Schedule 1st Check-in & Set Expectations and your direct report has not submitted their Employee Enter Goals form, please contact your MassPerform Agency Coordinator who will work with their C&C Analyst to manually return the form back to you for editing.

If your direct report did complete their Employee Enter Goals form, please use these job aids to update existing or enter new expectations:


If a co-planner is added during FYXX Kickoff, can the co-planner carry over (advance) the manager's previous year's expectations to the current cycle on the manager's behalf?

No, only the manager themselves may transfer past expectations to a new performance review cycle. If you are the manager and know you will be out on leave, please do this before you leave. If you cannot, please contact your MassPerform Agency Coordinator.

More information about co-planners can be found in the miscellaneous section.

Ongoing Check-ins

What can managers & employees do to ensure that MassPerform Check-in conversations are successful? 

“Managers are most successful when they adhere to a cadence for conversations that’s based on business rhythms; determine areas of focus for their Check-ins; discuss performance specifics (i.e., what’s working and what needs to be improved); create goals and action items with each direct report and review them regularly; and always provide timely feedback.

"Employees are most successful when they come to the conversations prepared to discuss the following things: their progress against goals set in the previous conversation; their development needs and ideas for how to grow, for example through training courses or stretch opportunities; and their long-term goals and plans for achieving them[2].”

The MassPerform Resources Page contains many resources to assist with Check-in conversations, including the MassPerform Toolkit, Guide for Conducting Check-in Conversations, a Manager/Employee Planning Tool for Check-ins, and more!

[2] "FAQ." Adobe Captivate-Unlock The Future of Smart ELearning Design https://www.adobe.com/check-in/FAQ.html

What’s the ideal frequency for MassPerform Check-in conversations?

Check-in conversations should be held quarterly at minimum. Don’t wait to provide feedback! Feedback should be thoughtful. However, it must also be timely. Think of a performance issue as a leaky pipe. Would you want to wait for the pipe to burst or for a major flood? Ongoing feedback conversations help managers quickly address any performance issues with constructive feedback before they linger or grow into more problematic issues.

The MassPerform model and resources support, enhance, and clarify your collaborative work in achieving programmatic, departmental or agency strategic objectives. Consider extending that current one-on-one meeting with an allotted period to review expectations and feedback or, better yet, create a new standing MassPerform meeting that best aligns with the cadence of your particular business unit. Get creative! 

Visit the MassPerform Training, Resources, and Job Aids page for helpful resources.

Review the MassPerform Toolkit and Ongoing Check-in resources for more information.


If an employee changes managers mid-year, will the previous comments/goals/expectations carry over so that the new manager can see them?

Yes, everything should automatically carry over if the role is from management to management.


What do I do when an employee transfers from anther Executive Branch agency?

If you are the new manager, use the Expectations and Goals box on the MassPerform welcome page to cancel out any prior expectations that are no longer relevant for the respective employee(s), and add any new expectations. 

Note: Monitor your My MassPerform Action Items on the homepage as you may or may not have an action item depending on the time of the transfer. You might not receive system emails depending on the timing of the transfer (i.e., already exhausted all past-due emails).

The following resources will assist you in updating existing and entering new expectations:


Why are Bargaining Unit (BU) employees in MassPerform?

If you are a manager seeing other BU direct reports in your "team," this does not mean they have performance access. MyPath supports both MassAchieve Learning and MassPerform. All employees have MassAchieve Learner access, and, as such, the manager would see BU employees. 

Please note: If you are a manager, you are never assigned performance tasks for your BU employees.


Are BU employees who are in an M99 acting position MassPerform-eligible?

Typically, acting appointments should be 6 months or less. As such, they usually are not MassPerform-eligible, but we review these requests on a case-by-case basis.


Are post-retirement (PR) employees MassPerform-eligible?

No, PR employees are not eligible. 


What happens to an employee's forms when leaving state service or moving into a PR position?

Any forms related to a person who is no longer active in MassPerform will be removed automatically within a few days of the changes being made in HRCMS.


Tell me more about co-planners and when is it advised to use them?

Co-planners are meant to be used only if a manager is on leave (e.g., vacation, sick, etc.) and cannot complete the action item before the due date. If a manager is going away on vacation or will be on leave, they should do their best to complete their responsibilities before leaving or upon their return as most action items give managers multiple weeks to complete. If they will be gone for the duration and truly cannot complete their tasks, it's best practice for them to add a co-planner before leaving as to not delay any form advancement or miss any deadlines.

When someone is added on as a co-planner, the original manager, the co-planner, and the employee (manager's direct report), all receive an automated email notification. Additionally, the action item will remain with the original manager but will also display in the co-planner's action items. When the manager or co-planner submits the action item, the action item will disappear from both the manager's and co-planner's list of action items.

Please note: When a co-planner is added to an action item, this is task-specific (i.e., if you add a co-planner for a Kickoff action item, this doesn’t carry over to Wrap Up, and vice versa). Additionally, if a co-planner is added, the co-planner will remain in effect even if a step is reverted back to the manager (i.e., it will go back to the original manager and the added co-planner).


If a manager is out on an approved leave, should they be evaluated and receive a MassPerform rating? Should I assign expectations?

Employees on an approved leave for 6 or more months during the performance cycle do not need a performance review. Assign expectations unless you know the employee will in fact be absent for more than 6 months of the performance year. If an employee has been on an approved leave for less than 6 months during the performance cycle, they must be evaluated and assigned a rating in MassPerform.

MassPerform Overview

What are the guiding principles of MassPerform?

Employees and managers should feel empowered through training and resources to actively participate in two-way performance conversations. As such, Adobe originally created a “Check-in” model to allow employee growth and development and help the employees keep pace with the fast-pace changes in their business. We found this model to be the most impactful and it aligned with our mission to "find a better way.” Through the use of a Creative Commons (CC) license, we built on the exemplary work at Adobe to create the MassPerform Coaching/Check-in model.

We believe that almost no person is born with exemplary coaching and feedback skills. These core management skills are learned and developed through practice, over the course of a career.

For the pilot, we started with very simple, flexible, and lightweight resources focused on the increasingly lost art of conversation. We want managers to take ownership of the full performance continuum: Expectations, Feedback, and Development.

What are the advantages of MassPerform?

Work is more meaningful when employees understand how it fits into the larger strategic objectives of the organization and business unit. By having multiple Check-in conversations throughout the year, both managers and employees should have clarity in expectations, creating SMART goals, key upcoming dates, and what to do when performance expectations or deliverables aren’t being met.

This was apparent during the pilot as the initial anonymous survey feedback was very positive! Employees and managers reported close to a 60% improvement in baseline satisfaction from the annual (ACES) model to the MassPerform Coaching/Check-in model.

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