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K-State Today

May 5, 2021

Guidelines for supervisors of unclassified professionals and USS regarding COVID-19 impact statements

Submitted by Jay Stephens

Dear Colleagues,

In July of last year, the university announced the suspension of requirements for formal evaluations of unclassified professionals and USS staff for 2020. As supervisors continue to evaluate their staff while working remotely, the following guidelines contain helpful guidance and an appropriate COVID-19 impact statement that can be utilized for 2021 performance reviews. This past year has presented challenges we have never seen and the flexibility, compassion and understanding we show to each other are more important than ever.

If you have any questions regarding the guidance below, please contact Human Capital Services at hr@k-state.edu

Guidelines for supervisors of unclassified professionals and USS regarding COVID-19 impact statements

It is important to acknowledge that the effects of the pandemic may impact the work of unclassified professionals and university support staff, or USS, due to performance of work duties disrupted by remote location.

Supervisors of unclassified professionals and USS

These have been extraordinary times and while remaining committed to recognizing and rewarding high standards of excellence in all areas of work, it is important for units to be mindful of and to approach 2021 goal-setting processes and consequent staff evaluations with creativity, flexibility and understanding that generally has not been necessary to consider in previous evaluations. In doing so, units also need to recognize the unique contributions staff are making to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic both on and off campus.

  • Important considerations
    • The evaluation process should not disadvantage staff members because of the effects of the pandemic. Supervisors are encouraged to highlight employee innovations and new developments in evaluations.
    • It is important that supervisors recognize and account for the atypical circumstances of the pandemic as they evaluate staff members' productivity.
  • Disproportionate effects on staff
    • COVID-19 has been disproportionately disruptive to individuals with caregiving and other family responsibilities, often women and underrepresented minorities (see Viglione in Nature and Cui, Ding and Zhu in SSRN). Supervisors are encouraged to consider these issues as they evaluate staff members' performance relative to their unit standards.

Supervisors are encouraged to infuse the following language into performance evaluations to acknowledge the effects of the pandemic:

In March 2020, Kansas State University required employees to work remotely as much as possible due to COVID-19. This action impacted positions requiring many to set up in a remote workspace or continue duties on campus with adjustments. The university recognizes the atypical circumstances and shifts in work that are impacted as a result.


Jay Stephens 
Vice President for Human Capital Services