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Personal Development Review (PDR) 2018 - frequently asked questions

Our personal development review (PDR) process for 2018 is now underway. These ongoing conversations between reviewees and their reviewers form a crucial part of working at Warwick, so we've put together some FAQs to make sure you know exactly how you can complete your PDR in 2018.

Click on a question below to jump to the relevant answer:
Why do we have a PDR process?

The PDR provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the part we all play in creating and maintaining an environment of diversity, dignity and inclusion at Warwick, and to discuss how your work supports your long-term work aspirations, your department, and the University's wider objectives.

Why Personal (and not ‘Professional’ ) Development Review?

Following much discussion when the scheme name was amended in 2017, we decided to use ‘Personal’ as opposed to ‘Professional’ to reflect the diverse range of development needs of colleagues across Warwick. These could be professional, career, technical or soft skills development needs.

Is the PDR process still separate from Merit Pay and SPRR?

Yes - the PDR remains distinct and separate from Merit Pay and SPRR.

Do I have to complete a PDR?

There is an expectation that all staff will take part in the PDR process - it's in our own interest to discuss our development, achievements, contributions and career aspirations.

When will I be expected to have completed my PDR discussion by?

We'd like all colleagues to have completed their discussion by Friday 20 July, but please check locally for any department-specific arrangements.

How does the PDR work?

The PDR simply enables reviewees (those being reviewed) and reviewers (those facilitating the discussion) to have conversations around a number of core themes.

Firstly, it’s really important that people get together on a regular basis for both a 'look back' and a 'look forward'. A PDR shouldn’t just take place once a year, so there should be no surprises when a conversation takes place in the formal PDR window during the summer. This really should be a conversation, designed to sum up those more regular discussions.

Who will see the information recorded on my PDR?

Discussions and records of any PDR meetings are generally confidential between the reviewee and the reviewer, and in some departments this may be shared with the head of department. Departments are also asked to collate information relating to training need and so line managers may be asked for this information.

Which form/process should I use?

If you work in a an Academic role - or in a support role in an Academic department - we’ll ask you to use the relevant paper-based PDR form this year. This form is similar to what was used in 2017. It’s our wish moving forward that that all colleagues across the institution will use the online form via SuccessFactors, and we'll keep you updated on this.

We’ve also developed a paper-based version of the PDR form for colleagues in grades 1a –3 roles within Professional Services and CCSG, who may choose to use this if they feel it is more aligned to their local working contexts. This form can also be used where managers feel it is appropriate to better enable the conversation. Please discuss locally with your manager.

My department has its own PDR process - can we still use this?

It’s worth noting too that some departments have adopted some really good local practice in helping to further shape and guide conversations. Although these aren't explicitly referred to in the forms or in the how-to guide, we would absolutely endorse the continued use of schemes that are working well locally. PDR is about the quality of the conversations that take place in people’s own contexts, so do look out for additional communications relating to any local arrangements.

What should I talk about in the 'look back' part of my PDR?

In any reflective conversation, people might typically look back on their key achievements and contributions during the last year, and take the opportunity to discuss any particular challenges they might have encountered.

What about the 'look forward' part?

In the ‘look forward’ part of a conversation, the reviewee and reviewer will typically focus the discussion on what needs to be worked on in the future. An individual's goals should align with the work of their team or department, or the wider University in terms of its strategic aims. The reviewee might wish to discuss career development and the kind of support they may need in relation to this.

The most important thing about the PDR is that reviewee and reviewer have quality conversations throughout the year. Don't get too hung up about the process or the forms - it really is just a framework to enable this discussion.

What's different for 2018?

There are some changes to the PDR process this year. We’re currently introducing SuccessFactors, the University's new self-service HR tool, which provides the functionality for PDR conversations to take place online. So, for this year if you work in Professional Services and CCSG and have regular access to a PC you’re being strongly encouraged to use the system when it’s available and the timing is appropriate.

We’ve also developed a paper-based version of the PDR form for colleagues at grades 1a–3 in Professional Services and CCSG who may choose to use this if they feel it is more aligned to their working contexts. This form can also be used where managers feel it is appropriate, to better enable the conversation. Please discuss locally with your manager

What's changed about the Professional Services/CCSG form?

Colleagues in Professional Services and CCSG who are grade 4 and above are being encouraged to consider each of the goals that were agreed in previous PDR conversations, and to rate their achievements against each goal. Reviewers will also do the same prior to the discussion actually taking place - or, if it suits both parties, this can be left to the pick up at the discussion itself.

The point of this is to provide an objective and consistent approach to discussing the degree to which each goal has been achieved. It’s important that people don’t agonise or wrangle over this but aim to treat it as an opportunity to discuss and explore any differences.

I'm a Professional Services member of staff at grades 4-9. When will SuccessFactors be available so I can complete my PDR form?

SuccessFactors is Warwick's new self-service HR tool - we're working hard to roll this out to all colleagues during the summer term, and we apologise that it will not be available for the start of the PDR process launch (8 May). However, we expect discussions to take place until 20 July, which should give every employee plenty of time to complete conversations with their reviewer. We will keep you updated via heads of department, inbox insite and the main PDR page, and we appreciate your patience in the meantime.

What's changed about the Academic paper form?

As mentioned above, the paper-based PDR form is very similar to the form that was used last year, apart from some small adjustments to language and terminology. The key change is that in the forward-looking part of the Academic form, colleagues will be asked to consider how their goals align with the critera listed in the new framework for academic promotions. Find out more about this criteria

In all forms, we’re asking people to consider not just what they do in terms of their activity and outputs, but how they go about their work. There is a considerable drive across the institution to support the overall dignity, inclusion and respect agenda, so all colleagues are being asked to consider how they personally demonstrate support for this agenda as an integral part of their PDR conversations.

How should the PDR process be managed for academics on study leave?

Staff on study leave should be encouraged to complete the PDR form. The reviewee should clearly state they are on study leave on the form, as it is possible that they won’t be able to complete all sections. If the reviewee is unable to attend a PDR meeting, the process could be undertaken by correspondence, or by video messaging where appropriate

I am on a term time only contract - does this impact my PDR?

No - individuals on term time only contracts should not be treated any differently and should still undertake the PDR.

What about joint appointments - who undertakes the PDR?

In situations where an individual holds a formal joint appointment, both departments should conduct a review for their part of the appointment. Alternatively, if departments agree, one of them can conduct the PDR for both appointments, providing input is sought from the other. It is the responsibility of the heads of department to communicate with each other and co-ordinate a response.

What about people on a fixed-term contract that's due to come to an end, or those on maternity leave - do they still need to complete a PDR?

All employees are entitled to have the opportunity to engage in the PDR process with their reviewing manager. Discussions at the PDR meeting should be tailored appropriately, to reflect the outputs anticipated within the timescales of the individuals remaining contract or the time spent in work during the review period.

I am on a career break – do I need to have a PDR?

Prior to your career break, you will need to undertake a pre-break interview with your manager to establish how you will keep in touch and arrangements for your return; this could form part of a PDR meeting. A further meeting will be held with you on your return.

What training is available to support PDRs?

There’s a range of support materials available on the main PDR page:

  • How-to guide: a detailed guide which provides a comprehensive overview of the PDR
  • Reviewee guidance
  • Reviewer guidance
  • Top tips
  • A Moodle for reviewers and reviewees which will provide guidance on the process, the approach and the skills required to make the most of these conversations

If you’re unable to find what you’re looking for on the website, or if you have any additional queries, please do speak to your line manager or HR adviser.