Human Resources Newsletter

June 2013

Newsletter Masthead


Welcome to the June issue of the HR newsletter. Featured in this issue:

  • Two employer awards that AU received in June, confirming that AU is a great place to work!
  • The PMP Year end Appraisal process, overall rating scale, and what to expect next in the Merit Increase Process
  • Benefit providers' mobile websites and apps for smartphones to keep you connected to your benefits
  • 403(b) rebalancing tools to help optimize your investment mix
  • July 2013 Professional Development Calendar

To go directly to an article, click on the Quick Links on the right.

American University – A Great Place to Work!

We already know that AU is a great place to work, but it’s gratifying when outside organizations recognize our hard work and our supportive culture.

On June 17, American University was a recipient of the 2013 AARP/SHRM Best Employers for Workers Over 50 Award. Beth Muha, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, and Thomas Minar, Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations, accepted the award at SHRM’s annual conference in Chicago. 

American University also has been selected as one of the top workplaces for information technology professionals by Computerworld. This honor is part of the bi-weekly IT publication’s 20th annual “Best Places to Work in IT” survey, and was featured in the June 17, 2013 issue of Computerworld and online. The top 100 organizations are recognized for challenging their IT staffs while providing the most competitive benefits and compensation. AU ranked among the top 100 Best Places to Work in IT for the first time, with a respectable first-time ranking of 96 among Fortune 500 companies. The university also ranked fifth in the Overall Benefits category. 

Leadership, benefits, and compensation are all factors in these awards, but employee sentiment is the most influential factor when determining an excellent workplace. Thanks for making American University such a great place to work!

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Performance Management Program

The Performance Management Program (PMP) Year-end Appraisal is the last phase in the performance management cycle and is an opportunity for managers and staff to reflect on last year’s results to plan for next year.

The Process

  • Rate and substantiate your ratings in the comments section of your self-appraisal in AsuccessfulU, by June 28.

    • Get tips on how to best write your self-assessment by attending one of the optional public workshops, Performance Management Program (PMP) Year-end Rating Goals Workshop (see schedule below).
    • Your comments will allow your manager to understand your ratings.
    • This year, you will only rate core competencies, not your job competencies.
  • Your manager will review your ratings and comments, and add his or her own comments to the form. This is identical to the Mid-year Discussion except that your manager will only rate your goals and core competencies.

  • Meet in person with your manager to discuss your goal achievement and your demonstration of competencies.

  • After your in-person discussion, your manager finalizes his or her ratings in AsuccessfulU. Unlike the Mid-year Discussion, the system calculates an overall performance rating for the Year-end Appraisal.

  • Review and electronically sign the finalized form to acknowledge the ratings and comments you discussed with your manager.

  • Once you have signed the form, your manager electronically countersigns it.

  • Begin the goal setting process for the next performance period.

  • Your manager will finalize your Year-end Appraisal by July 31. Its outcome - the overall performance rating - will be one factor considered in the merit increase process.

The Overall Rating

The Five-Point Rating Scale:

  1. Does not meet performance expectations
  2. Partially meets performance expectations
  3. Meets performance expectations
  4. Occasionally exceeds performances expectations
  5. Exceeds performance expectations

We use an overall performance rating that supports the university's pay-for-performance philosophy. Also, our staff has asked for greater transparency in how pay decisions are made - particularly merit pay decisions. The overall performance rating is the way that we connect performance and pay, and is one factor in determining rewards.

  • The overall performance rating is determined when the Year-end Appraisal is complete. It reflects your performance against goals that you and your manager set at the beginning of the year - and the demonstration of your competencies.

  • The overall rating is calculated using your manager's final ratings, taking into account your self-appraisal and your one-on-one discussion.

  • The ratings on your performance against goals make up 70% of the overall performance rating. The remaining 30% is based on your demonstration of competencies. That means 70% of your overall performance rating is what you achieved and 30% is how you achieved it.

  • The overall performance rating is always rounded up to a whole number - not a decimal. If the number had been 3.4 or below, it would have been rounded down to a 3. Any number 3.5 and above would be rounded up to a 4.

  • High or low ratings on goals have more of an effect on the overall performance rating than competency ratings do, but both goal and competency ratings play a part.

  • It's important to note that everyone is rated using the same method.

The Merit Increase Process - Coming Soon!

Once your manager submits your Year-end Appraisal by July 31, the merit increase process begins. 

In early July, the required training module, Compensation at AU, will be available on AsuccessfulU. The training covers changes to the staff compensation program including an updated pay band structure, the methodology of job assignments within the structure, a discussion of the merit increase process that links pay and performance and ensures that we have alignment of the pay structure with competency levels to provide enhanced career development opportunities. 

Watch for the notice that the required online training has been added to the learning plan.

Performance Management Program: Year End Rating Goals Workshop
Date Title Time Location
Wed, June 26
PMP: Year-end Rating Goals Workshop (for staff and managers)
9:30-10:30am MGC 245
Tues, July 2
PMP: Year-end Rating Goals Workshop (for staff and managers) 1-2pm MGC 203/MGC 205
Thurs, July 11
PMP: Year-end Rating Goals Workshop (for staff and managers) 9:30-10:30am TBD
Tues, July 16
PMP: Year-end Rating Goals Workshop (for managers) 1-2pm TBD
Wed, July 26
PMP: Year-end Rating Goals Workshop (for managers) 1-2pm TBD

Merit Increase Process: Workshop for Managers
Date Title Time Location
Wed, June 26
Merit Increase Process: Workshop for Managers
10:30am-12pm MGC 245
Tues, July 2
Merit Increase Process: Workshop for Managers 2-3:30pm MGC 203/MGC 205
Thurs, July 11
Merit Increase Process: Workshop for Managers 10:30am-12pm TBD
Tues, July 16
Merit Increase Process: Workshop for Managers 2-3:30pm TBD
Wed, July 26
Merit Increase Process: Workshop for Managers 2-3:30pm TBD
Thurs, August 1
Merit Increase Process: Workshop for Managers 1-2:30pm TBD

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Benefits on the Go

Today’s mobile phones do so much more than make calls that it’s hard to imagine life without them. More than half of all adults in the U.S. own smartphones and the number of apps to customize your smartphone is astounding. As an American University employee, many of our benefit providers have mobile websites and apps that can: 

  • View account information
  • View ID cards
  • View benefits and eligibility
  • Find providers and facilities
  • Order prescription refills
  • File claims
  • Check your balances

Each provider offers different features on their mobile websites and apps, so explore the features that are available for the AU benefit providers that you have selected.

CareFirst (Medical)
Mobile website:
CareFirst apps available to for iPhone® or Android™ smartphones.

Kaiser Permanente (Medical)
Mobile website:
Kaiser Permanente app available for Android smartphones and soon to be available for iPhone.

Express Scripts (Prescription Coverage for CareFirst Participants)
Mobile website: not available
Express Scripts apps available for iPhone, BlackBerry® or Android smartphones.

Delta Dental (Dental)
Mobile website:
Apps currently not available.

PayFlex (Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts)
Mobile website:
PayFlex Mobile Apps currently on iPhone, BlackBerry and Android smartphones.

Fidelity (403(b) Retirement Account)
Mobile website:
NetBenefits app available for iPhones and Android smartphones.

TIAA-CREF (403(b) Retirement Account)
Mobile website:
TIAA-CREF Savings Simplifier app available for iPhones.

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HR Newsletter Archives

Read past issues of the Human Resources Newsletter

How to Contact Us

Human Resources
(202) 885-2591

PMP and AsuccessfulU Questions?

Do you have a question about the revamped PMP? Having trouble finding or logging in to set up your goals in AsuccessfulU? Email and a member of the HR team will help you.

Don’t Forget To Rebalance Your 403(b) Investments

It is important to rebalance your 403(b) investments periodically. Rebalancing realigns your portfolio if it has deviated from your original asset allocation goals. Both TIAA-CREF and Fidelity have rebalancing tools to help you optimize your investment mix.


Fidelity offers Automatic Rebalance to help keep your account consistent with the investment strategy you’ve chosen. Simply identify an initial investment combination, adjust your account to that mix, and let the service do the rest.

Rebalance Notification alerts you by email any time your account’s investment mix strays from your original specification. You decide whether to rebalance and can take action immediately by clicking on a link delivered with the email message.

To learn more about this service:

  • Go to your retirement savings account
  • Click “Change Investments”
  • Select “Rebalance”
  • Or call 800-343-0860 to speak to a representative.


TIAA-CREF’s Annual Rebalancing service rebalances your portfolio automatically. You choose an initial investment mix and TIAA-CREF will rebalance your portfolio annually on your birthday (or the next business day).

To sign up for Annual Rebalancing:

  • Visit and log into your account.
  • From the Account Home Page, select Manage My Portfolio and click the Annual Rebalancing tab.
  • Select the retirement contract you want to rebalance, and follow the instructions.

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Professional Development

Supporting A Culture of Innovation and High Performance

Register for the instructor led courses listed below by logging into AsuccessfulU, AU's online training registration system via the portal.

How to Access the Learning Module in AsuccessfulU:

  • Click here to access AsuccessfulU's portal page
  • Click the "Go to AsuccessfulU" button in the middle of the page.
  • From the "Home" tab on the top left of the page click on "Learning" from the drop down menu.
  • This will lainch your personal profile in the "Learning" tab. You can search and register for training sessions here.
For further assistance navigating the Learning module, please refer to the PDF User Guides listed on the AsuccessfulU portal page.

For detailed information regarding the courses below please consult your Professional Development and Wellness Education catalog or view the description in AsuccessfulU.

Date Time Course Title
Thurs, June 6
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Introduction to Project Management
Hughes Formal Lounge
Thurs, June 6 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Presenting Yourself with Impact
MGC 247
Thurs, June 11
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Creative Problem Solving for Individual Innovation
MGC 200
Thurs, June 13
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Personal Empowerment: Using Your Initiative
MGC 200
Thurs, June 13 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Coaching for Success
MGC 247
Thurs, June 20
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Preventing Harassment, Promoting Respect: Staff
MGC 200
Thurs, June 25
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Creating a Service Culture
MGC 203/205
Thurs, June 25 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Political Savvy
MGC 245
Wed, June 26
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Generations in the Workplace
MGC 247
Wed, June 26
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Critical Thinking for Peak Performance
MGC 203/205
Wed, June 27
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Reaching Agreement in Teams
MGC 245

Please contact the Workplace Learning and Development team at with any questions.


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