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The performance and development planning (PDP) process is a significant part of the University’s way of aligning individual abilities, activities and aspirations with University aspirations and operational needs. The University as a community, values and encourages self-improvement, personal initiative, and high levels of individual responsibility. As far as it is possible to do so, the conduct of this process by both staff members and managers should stress and reflect those community values.
The performance and development planning process aims to:
To help individual staff members to review and improve the performance of their duties and to identify career and professional development opportunities; and
To align individual performance contributions to the overall goals and objectives of the University; and
To provide managers and staff members with a clear understanding of the objectives that have been agreed for the following year; and
To ensure appropriate development, training and/or support is provided to assist continuous improvement.
The PDP interview is a formal process through which the expectations of the manager and staff member are aligned, agreed and recorded.
Ideally, the annual PDP interview should be held before the beginning of the new academic year. It is therefore expected that PDP annual interviews, particularly for academic staff, will take place in October or November each year.
The annual PDP interview should be the formal culmination of formal and/or informal discussions that have been held during the academic year between the staff member and his/her manager on progress against objectives, identified development needs, further support or changes to the objectives themselves or the PDP Plan. These discussions do not have to be by way of a formal meeting, unless either party has concerns or issues they wish to raise in a formal meeting. Informal discussions can occur as staff and their managers meet in a variety of work situations and talk informally about how things are going.
Informal but regular discussions during the year are invaluable for ensuring that both parties remain committed to the objectives set and are agreeable to the rate of progress being achieved. Further, issues of difference or concern can be raised by either party as they occur and the parties can look to resolve them.
Checklists which set out the basic requirements for preparing for the annual interview are available -
An extract from the Strategic Research Capability Policy may also be a useful resource as this document sets out university standards for research and research training.
These forms should be completed with the aim of encapsulating the discussions which have occurred during the PDP interview. The structure of these documents should reflect the key accountabilities of the job profile.
During a PDP interview, a manager and staff member may agree that any part of the discussions can be confidential and not recorded in the review. The staff member may bring a support person to their PDP interview. The support person will not be a participant in this meeting however.
The performance and development plan review should be completed by comparing what was planned for the current year with what has been achieved.
Each staff member should gather relevant material to support their achievement against the agreed performance plan. This material should be presented to their manager before the PDP interview so that it might be considered by their manager and discussed with them at the interview. Academic staff in the positions of lecturer through to professor shall submit their research evidence portfolio’s for assessment and discussion on progress in accordance with the strategic research capability policy.
Supporting material can include evidence of teaching quality, relevant research material, external or internal comment on the standard of delivery or service achieved, project or other documentation that attests to progress or completion, customer/client survey information etc.
The manager should discuss with the staff member their view of the standard of performance achievement and the reasons for that view. These reasons should be supported by factual information. The discussion on performance achievement should contain no surprises for the staff member as any concerns or problems should have been raised and discussed during the performance year as they occurred or were identified.
Where agreement on the performance review recorded outcomes and/or comments cannot be reached between the manager and the staff member after repeated attempts, the matters in dispute should be referred to the manager’s manager. When the matter is referred upward, the manager’s manager may consider whether assistance from third party mediators could resolve the dispute. In the event that the matters in dispute are not resolved, the decision of the manager’s manager will be final. The staff member may be represented in any dispute.
Performance and development plans should be relevant to the staff member’s core duties, responsibilities and accountabilities. Core duties, responsibilities and accountabilities should be discussed at the annual interview to ensure they are current and relevant.
Performance and development plans must be focused on specific work objectives for the staff member. Such objectives must be measurable, achievable and time-bound. Any identified staff development needs that are identified should also be expressed as an objective, e.g. to complete training programme on a particular matter by a certain date.
As a minimum, the performance and development planning discussion should focus on the continuous improvement of the individual staff member’s knowledge and application of skills.
Performance and development plans for all staff members should be structured under the key activities of the staff member’s core duties and accountabilities of the job profile.
Performance and development plans should be discussed and agreed by the manager and the staff member as part of the PDP interview. However, the plans should also be flexible enough to be changed or adjusted throughout the performance year, wherever the staff member and their manager agree this is necessary.
Where agreement on the performance and development plan cannot be reached between the manager and the staff member, the matters in dispute should be escalated to the manager’s manager. Before escalation however, the manager and the staff member are required to meet again to try to resolve matters. When the matter is escalated, the manager’s manager may consider whether assistance from third party mediators could resolve the dispute. In the event that the matters in dispute are not resolved, the decision of the manager’s manager will be final. The staff member may be represented in any dispute.
Staff members should be encouraged to set out their professional and personal development requirements as part of their performance and development plan. These development priorities should be linked to the improvement or enhancement of their knowledge, skills and/or application in the current position and their career aspirations within the University sector.
For example a staff member may want to:
The manager may identify professional and personal development options, which the staff member may agree to include in their performance and development plan. If an improvement in performance is necessary, the manager may require a staff member to take up a nominated development option as part of their performance and development plan.
The manager and staff member should also consider and agree the level of support that may be needed to achieve the objectives contained in the agreed performance and development plan. This support could access to coaching, temporary assistance with workload, additional resources, collaboration with other staff, more feedback sessions with the manager, etc.
Additional information on both functional and behavioural competencies is available at this section:
Annual leave management is an important part of planning the distribution and timeframes of performance objectives, in addition to ensuring that the staff member enjoys necessary breaks from the workplace. In conjunction with the development of the performance and development plan at the annual interview, consideration should be given to when the staff member intends to take any annual leave in that performance year or to apply for any leave in accordance with university leave policy. These periods can then be factored into any time-bound objectives.
If the staff member is firm on the dates he/she wants to take as annual leave in the new performance year when developing the performance and development plan, and these are agreed by the manager, the dates can be recorded in the annual leave plan, appended to the performance plan and entered into MyHR.
The staff member may periodically be required to complete an annual leave plan. If an agreed leave plan is not in place, one should be established through the PDP discussion. The taking of leave as contained in the plan constitutes a work objective and progress against the plan reviewed regularly. The leave plan will be entered into MyHR when completed.
If a manager considers that a staff member is not meeting the core duties, responsibilities and accountabilities of their position or is not making adequate progress on performance objectives agreed in their performance and development plan, the manager must raise the matter directly with the staff member. The manager will raise any such issues as and when they occur so that these can be addressed immediately rather than wait until the PDP. The manager will also refer to earlier discussions on such matters in the context of a wider performance discussion at the time of the PDP.
The manager must set out clearly the areas of concern and discuss options for how the staff member’s performance can be improved and over what timeframe. The manager must also support and assist the staff member to improve his/her performance in the first instance. The staff member will be informed that they may be represented prior to any discussion on performance concerns.
The performance and development review meeting is not to be used as a disciplinary meeting for unsatisfactory performance. Concerns about performance can however be raised in a performance and development review meeting and actions to improve performance can be agreed and recorded in the performance and development plan.
The staff member will be informed that they may be represented prior to any discussion on performance concerns.
The forms requiring completion are located within the Performance and Development Planning and Review Procedures.
The manager will complete the performance and development planning forms within two weeks following the PDP interview, based on the discussion and agreements made at that meeting. The forms will be sent to the staff member to sign and make further comment. Where there is agreement, the signed forms will be returned to the manager for his/her signature. When signed by all parties, the original forms and any attachments will be filed on the staff member’s local personal file held in their manager.
If the parties cannot agree on the content of the forms, the manager and the staff member should meet again to try to resolve any differences. If this does not result in resolution, the issues in dispute should be escalated to the manager’s manager. The manager’s manager may consider whether assistance from third party mediators could resolve the dispute. In the event that the matters in dispute are not resolved, the decision of the manager’s manager will be final. The staff member may be represented in any dispute.
Signed and completed performance reviews will be held on the staff member’s local personal file, along with any supporting attachments. Performance and development plans will be held by managers as working documents until completed. At the point they are completed, they will be filed with the relevant performance and development planning review on the staff member’s local personal file. All information held on staff personal files will be held securely and in accordance with the requirements of the principles of the Privacy Act 1993.
The review documentation held on the staff member’s local personal file may be used to support university processes. The staff member will be advised if this information is to be used in this way.
Terms used in these procedures are defined as follows:
The three or four most significant areas of work activity for a staff member. For example, for lecturers through to professors, core duties are undertaking research, teaching, administration and community service. For professional staff, core duties will relate specifically to the particular position, the duties of which can range from administrative to specialist functions.
An activity or an area of activity which the staff member has the delegated authority to manage. For example, an academic staff member might be responsible for the design and delivery of a course offering and a professional staff member may be responsible for the timely outcome of a project or a manager for the combined outcome of his/her area of work.
A statement setting out the minimum standard of performance for some aspect of the staff member’s activities or responsibilities. It must be clear to both the manager and the staff member what criteria could or would be used to determine whether the set standard has been met or exceeded. For example a head of school might be accountable for the completion of 90% of PDP’s in their school in a calendar year.
A document, also called a job description or an accountability statement, which sets out all the core duties, the responsibilities and the accountabilities of the staff member. This document should be reviewed and updated as necessary and should always be current.
A statement setting out the desired standard of performance for some aspect of the staff member’s core duties or responsibilities that is to be achieved within a clearly defined period of time. It must be clear to both the manager and the staff member what criteria would be or could be used to determine whether the set standard has been met or exceeded. For example, an academic staff member might be expected to submit two substantive papers to international journals in a calendar year, a professional staff member may be expected to process a number of applications within an agreed timeframe and a manager may be expected to make savings in a particular area to meet his/her budget by the final quarter of the financial year.
The Head of a Department, School, Institute, Unit, Centre, or his/her delegated nominee.
A member of the senior leadership team or his/her delegated nominee.
The staff member’s personal file which is held by People and Organisational Development.
The staff member’s personal file which is held by the manager of his/her local work area.
Page authorised by AVC People and Organisational Development
Last updated on Friday 13 January 2017