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 Scope and Purpose of this Supervisor's Overview

This Supervisor’s Overview has been designed to serve as a quick reference for issues relating to the supervision of employees within the State Personnel Management System (SPMS) of the State of Maryland; however, it merely summarizes information contained in the State Personnel and Pensions Article, COMAR, various personnel policies, and the collective bargaining Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). It does not, in and of itself, create any rights, benefits, or duties. In addition to the topics covered in this Overview, individual agencies may have adopted policies and procedures that apply to their employees. If there are any inconsistencies between these summaries and the applicable laws, policies, or MOUs, the provisions of the applicable laws, policies, or MOUs govern. In the event of a dispute, the provisions contained in the appropriate source documents will govern. This Overview is not a contract and does not constitute an agreement, implied or otherwise, as to the terms and conditions of employment within the SPMS.  If you have any questions regarding the information contained in this Overview, you are encouraged to contact your departmental personnel office.

Introduction To Supervisor's Overview

One of the primary roles of a supervisor is to ensure that employees are working effectively and efficiently.  Supervisors provide direction and guidance, develop employees through training, coaching and mentoring, set performance standards, and, when necessary, take corrective action, including recommending disciplinary action to the appointing authority. 

There are many steps supervisors can take to be proactive and to prevent personnel problems down the road.  One important step is the careful hiring of employees. To improve the likelihood that an applicant will become a successful employee, management should:

  • Verify that the applicant’s skills and abilities are a good match for the position;
  • Perform reference checks to obtain information about the applicant’s attitude, attendance, performance abilities, and reason for leaving prior employment; and
  • Particularly for applicants who are current State employees, obtain a release from the applicant and review the applicant’s Official Personnel File (OPF) to check for any red flags which stand out, and then follow up with the applicant for clarification.

After hire, be sure the employee knows what is expected.  Provide the employee with a current Position Description (MS-22) form and be prepared to orient the employee to the job.  At least annually, review the MS-22 with the employee to ensure that it is accurate.  Discuss how and when the employee will be evaluated and discuss performance expectations, and consequences of failing to meet them. Document these discussions, as appropriate, and provide a copy to the employee.

When coaching or instruction is offered, and problems are recognized and resolved early, the need for disciplinary action often can be reduced or eliminated. Supervisors should instruct employees in a manner that offers employees an opportunity to meet established performance standards and conform to the rules of conduct in effect.

When it is necessary to impose disciplinary action, the effective handling of such matters requires good judgment, common sense, and conformance with applicable laws, regulations, procedures and memoranda of understanding (MOUs).  The primary purpose of discipline is corrective, not punitive.  Remember that discipline may be imposed only by the appointing authority, and only after certain steps have been taken.

It is vitally important that discipline is administered in a fair and equitable manner.

Prior to the point at which discipline becomes appropriate, supervisors should have identified and documented performance or conduct-related problems, and should have had discussions about these issues with the employee, and provided training or other opportunities to improve performance. 

Supervisors must accept responsibility for keeping employees informed on an ongoing basis as to their performance or conduct-related issues.