Frequently Asked Questions
How does the Performance Development Framework (PDF) differ from traditional Performance Appraisal?
PDF differs from traditional performance appraisal schemes because it:
recognises the critical importance of career progression for staff as well as the promotion of organisational performance
focuses on an organisational unit context
is owned and driven by you, your colleagues, and your supervisor
focuses on setting expectations up-front through mutual discussion and agreement and on developing and improving performance continually
bases evidence of performance on objective data
clarifies key goals and performance indicators for the University, your work unit and for you
aims to provide performance and development goals that are challenging and which assist you to develop new skills and abilities which contribute to long-term career aspirations.
What happens if my workload focus changes during the PDF Cycle?
Ongoing discussions between you and your supervisor will assist to identify changes that may have occurred and should involve a review of your workload focus and/or allocation.
How often is the PDF Cycle undertaken?
PDF is an ongoing process that requires strong commitment from staff and supervisors. The cycle must be undertaken at least on an annual basis, generally between October and February. You and your supervisor should discuss the timing of Performance Feedback and the Review Discussion during the Planning Discussion.
Can the PDF be applied on a team basis?
The Performance Development Framework process and documentation can also be applied on a team basis. Goals may be set at the organisational unit and group level and need to be discussed and agreed upon by all team members. Development activities are to be tailored according to each individual's development needs.
Are the Planning and Review Discussions the only discussions held during the cycle?
You and your supervisor should hold feedback discussions aside from the Planning and Review discussions according to the needs of yourself, your supervisor and your organisational unit.
What is the difference between a Performance Plan and a Development Plan?
Performance goals are short to medium term objectives related to work in the employee's current position. They are aligned with the University Strategic Plan through the School/Divisional Operational Plan, and are written in S.M.A.R.T format. The Development Plan looks at required development activities where there are skill gaps or anticipated needs of the organisation. They also look at career planning for the staff member and may focus on opportunities outside the current role.
What happens if my goals change during the cycle?
It is inevitable that work priorities and unit goals may change during the cycle. Your Performance and Development Plans should be adjusted accordingly with your supervisor to ensure alignment of your effort with the organisation’s goals.
How do I write a performance goal?
Your Performance Plan will be pre-populated with three Key Result Areas (KRAs): 'Teaching', 'Research', and 'Service'. Your Performance goals will be aligned with the School/Divisional Operational Plan, and categoried into these KRAs. Performance goals should then be written according to the S.M.A.R.T principle, that is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timeframed. Please refer to Appendix 1 of the PDF Online User Guide for further information.
How many goals should I have?
Three to five goals are generally recommended, although this can vary depending on you and your role.
What if agreement cannot be reached during the process?
If agreement cannot be reached between you and your supervisor during the Performance Development Framework cycle, advice should be sought from the relevant Head of School / Director in the first instance. Support and advice can also be obtained from Human Resource Services. Where a disagreement is not resolved informally it may be referred to an Inquiry Officer for resolution.
Who is my supervisor for the purposes of the Performance Development Framework?
Overall responsibility for the Performance Development Framework process rests with the Head of School, manager or immediate supervisor. However, following discussions with you, your supervisor may delegate PDF responsibility to an agreed alternative PDF supervisor. Where this is the case, the alternative PDF supervisor will generally be a senior member of academic staff, holding the position of Professor or Associate Professor.
The Head of School may still choose to participate in your PDF even if primary responsibility for it has been delegated to an alternative supervisor. In all cases, alternative arrangements will be discussed with you.
In accordance with the Enterprise Agreement you may also make a request to the appropriate Pro Vice-Chancellor for the nomination of an alternative PDF supervisor, stating the reasons for the request. Where such a request is declined you will be provided with reasons for the decision in writing.
What records are kept as part of the PDF process?
The current Performance and Development Plans and the three most recent years will be accessible on the Review page of PDF Online. This is the first page you see after logging into the system. Only yourself and your PDF Supervisor have access to this information through PDF Online. Older plans will be archived in the database. If you wish to access these archived plans email the system administrator on email@example.com with your request.
As a staff member engaged in the process you may wish to keep a hard copy of the Performance Development Framework forms and any notes which you make. You are also encouraged to make and keep records which document your achievements. These may support you as part of the Performance Development Framework process.
The entries in your Performance Diary however will be deleted once the plans are signed off electronically by you and your supervisor. Therefore, if you wish to retain copies of these entries you should print them off prior to signing off your plans.
How long will these records be kept?
The University is obliged under the State Records Act 1998 to protect and appropriately manage its records, regardless of format. With respect to the records relating to the Performance Development Framework for individual staff, these must be retained for at least seven (7) years. It is an offence under the Act to destroy these records before this period has lapsed.
Any records kept outside of the online system, eg emails, hard copies of records, must be retained for at least three years after action, although if they are duplicates of records in the online system they may be destroyed at any time.
Records for senior / executive staff must be retained for seven years after they leave the University.
Who will have access to the Performance Development Framework records?
Records or files which contain personal information, must be maintained in accordance with the Information Protection Principles in Part 2, Division 1 of the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. In particular they should be protected by reasonable security measures and protected from unauthorised use or disclosure.
Supervisors should ensure that any hard copy records are always stored securely, preferably in a locked container. In particular, the records:
should be accessible to the individual staff member to whom they relate.
should only be accessed by those with the need and authority to do so.
should relate to the individual staff member only. (For example, if a document contains information about another person, then that information must be removed or obscured, even in circumstances where several people are mentioned on a document or piece of correspondence.) This is a requirement of the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.
should not be left in public view or where unauthorised people can access them.
- must be retained for at least three years.