Performance Review and Development (PRD)

PRD is an ongoing conversation between you and your manager that outlines your personal and work goals that align to the strategic objectives of UON, clarifies your manager's expectations of you, and identifies opportunities for professional development.

The PRD process is a great opportunity to have honest and open discussion with your manager to showcase your achievements and highlight any challenges you face in reaching your goals.

All full-time and part-time staff in ongoing roles, or staff on fixed term contracts greater than six months are required to participate in PRD. Conversations about goals and performance for non-tenured staff is also encouraged.


The PRD cycle

The PRD process has 3 main phases throughout the year:

GOAL SETTING: January to March
· Agree/set performance and development goals for the year.

ONGOING CONVERSATIONS: April to October
· Ongoing conversations to record regular updates between staff and manager.

YEAR END REVIEW: November to January
· Review performance from the year and begin planning for the year ahead.


What do managers/supervisors need to do?

Performance Review and Development for Managers


SuccessFactors – your new online PRD

At our University we use SuccessFactors to help staff and managers record and manage PRD discussions. While the key to successful performance review is regular quality conversations, a good system to support this is also important to record and track progress.

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I want to know more

For more information, visit our Resources pages.

Understanding PRD

What is PRD?

Performance Review and Development (PRD) is a collaborative, ongoing process between a staff member and their manager. The purpose of PRD is to:

  • Provide staff with clarity as to what is expected of them
  • Align individual and University goals
  • Identify areas for staff learning and career development.

Regular communication between staff and their managers is critical to successful PRD outcomes. Meaningful conversations between managers and staff are more likely to result in agreed goals that are supported by development and career planning.

Who is required to participate in the PRD process?

All staff members who are employed in full or part-time continuing positions, or are employed on fixed term contracts for a period of greater than 6 months are required to participate in PRD.

Whilst participation in formal PRD is optional for fixed term staff members with a contract of less than 6 months and staff on research funding, participation in conversations about goals and performance is still encouraged.

The PRD cycle

The PRD process has 3 main phases throughout the year:

Goal Setting: January to March 
Agree/set performance and development goals for the year.

Ongoing Conversations: April to October 
Ongoing conversations to record regular updates between staff and manager.

Year End Review: November to January
Review performance from the year and begin planning for the year ahead.

Who conducts my PRD?

Your PRD is conducted by your direct manager except where the Head of School allocates a PRD Supervisor to initiate the PRD process on their behalf (only in the case of academic staff). If you require clarification, you can discuss this with your direct manager or skip-level manager, or alternatively contact your HR Business Partner.

Why do I need to participate in PRD?

The PRD process is in place to provide role clarity and direction to staff members of performance expectations as well as provide an opportunity to facilitate personal and career development. It encourages open and honest dialogue between managers and staff.

For individual staff members:

  • Provides opportunity to clarify what the performance expectations are in current role and discuss aspects that requires consideration when setting performance goals
  • Empowers staff to 'own' the goals in their performance plan
  • Staff receive updates and feedback on how things are going, and provides opportunity to notify their manager if there are challenges or obstacles to achieving goals
  • Showcases staff accomplishments and acknowledges value of staff member

For managers/PRD Supervisors:

  • Ensures staff clearly understand what is expected of them in their current role
  • Enables individual staff goals to be formulated in line with Faculty/School or Division/Unit corporate plans
  • Helps managers to keep track of their staff members’ progress, identifying if additional support is required to develop strategies to improve performance
  • Highlights staff members’ development needs and opportunities to increase skills and capabilities

How often should PRD conversations occur?

There should be at least one discussion between staff members and their managers/PRD Supervisor that reviews annual performance at the year-end (sometime between November and January). However, it is recommended that ongoing informal conversations are undertaken to ensure that the objectives agreed at the beginning of the period remain appropriate and performance is on track. There should be no surprises at the time of the year-end PRD meeting.

What is a PRD Supervisor in the PRD process?

Where a School has a large span of control, the Head of School may select another academic staff member to act as PRD Supervisor. PRD Supervisors conduct PRD meetings as a direct manager would and should meet regularly and/or informally with staff throughout the year to review progress and provide guidance on strategies to achieve performance and development goals.

PRD Supervisors provide feedback to the HOS on progress of their delegated staff members. HOS are still required to meet formally with every academic staff member at least once throughout the year to discuss performance and career aspirations.

It is recommended that the PRD Supervisor should be from the same or similar discipline as the delegated staff member, or at least be a level higher than them to be able to offer mentoring advice.

For more information regarding the PRD Supervisor appointment process, roles and responsibilities see the PRD Supervisor guide.

I still have questions about PRD, who should I speak to?

In the first instance, any queries or concerns regarding the PRD process should be discussed with your manager or PRD Supervisor. Alternatively, you can contact your HR Client Services or your HR Business Partner. For further details on who to contact see the SuccessFactors Quick help information.

PRD Preparation

What information is available to help me prepare for, and participate in PRD?

The PRD Handbook provides information on how to make the most of your PRD conversations, and further resources that help you to prepare for PRD conversations are located on the PRD Resources webpage. It is also useful to discuss with your manager their expectations regarding preparation required for the PRD meeting.

There are 3 frameworks that can also assist staff with setting of performance goals and development activities:

  • Leadership Framework – provides insight on what one 'would expect to see' or 'would not expect to see' at different staff levels. Staff are also encouraged to examine their behaviour and provide specific examples that highlight their strengths or development gaps, in accordance with the six Leadership Capabilities by undertaking the Leadership Capabilities Assessment in PRD online.
  • Performance Expectations Framework for Academic staff – supports ongoing performance discussions and provides clarity for academic staff regarding their qualitative expectations and quantitative performance indicators and targets that are required by academic level. Each level defines progressive expectations regarding the impact of an individual's activities in research and innovation, teaching and learning, and service engagement.
  • Capability Matrix for Professional staff – describes the functional capabilities required to perform effectively as a higher education professional and is used as a tool to drive career and capability development

What performance data is available to help me prepare for PRD?

Academic staff members’ PRD discussions will review performance over a rolling three-year period. Some of the information that helps inform HOS and PRD Mentors on staff performance has been summarised into individual reports for each Academic staff member. These reports will be discussed and shared with staff by their relevant Head of School and/or PRD Mentor. The reports are intended to be a starting point of the type of information to demonstrate a staff member’s performance and activity of the rolling three year period.

Staff may wish to bring further examples of teaching, research and service activities to discuss during PRD conversations. This could include other information available through the University’s data warehouse via NINA.NINA stores information such as student enrolment and teaching load, student success/retention as well as HDR completion, research income and publications data.

How does PRD help with my development?

Staff are encouraged to discuss their career aspirations and future direction. The development planning phase of the PRD is used to identify what development opportunities are required to achieve their career aspirations. You should plan your development based on the requirements of your role and your future career aspirations.  PRD process informs an individual's professional development through the identification of current skill gaps and/or career planning conversations. PRD also enables a manager and their staff member to agree on what good performance looks like, to identify opportunities for mentoring and professional support to encourage development, and to prepare for promotional and succession opportunities.

The Leadership Framework (PDF, 971.85KB) and Performance Expectations Frameworks are useful guides in setting development goals. Additional information is also available on the Workforce Development webpage.

How do I ensure goals are meaningful?

Writing quality goals is essential to a meaningful PRD process. Quality goals provide clarity and focus, define accountability and foster a shared understanding of how work will be done to achieve outcomes aligned with University objectives. Goals should be informed by Faculty/Divisional Corporate Plans, position descriptions, Performance Expectations Frameworks and the Leadership Framework.

When setting performance goals, the S.M.A.R.T principle can be applied. S.M.A.R.T goals are; Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Relevant/Realistic and Time framed.

Additional resources to help you to write quality goals are located via the PRD Resources webpage.

PRD Concerns

Do I need to participate in PRD if I am on the Special Studies Program (SSP) that year?

Participation in PRD is required even if you are on SSP; however, your SSP should be taken into account when establishing goals and reviewing performance.

If you are on SSP during the review and goal setting period (Nov-Feb), you and your supervisor or PRD Mentor are required to hold the review and goal setting meeting when you return from SSP.

What happens when performance needs to be improved?

PRD provides a supportive opportunity to discuss potential challenges or obstacles staff may encounter throughout the year in their work, identify learnings and explore possible remedies.

Managers should address performance issues as soon as identified so that the appropriate remedies can be put in place to assist the staff member. Managers and PRD Mentors should record performance meetings and discussions where under-performance is a concern.

For additional support in managing performance concerns, contact your HR Business Partner or refer to the Enterprise Agreement for more details.

Can I request a different PRD supervisor or PRD Mentor?

Academic staff members can request an alternative PRD Mentor from their relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor, stating the reasons for that request. If the request is declined, the academic staff member will be provided with reasons for the decision in writing.

What if I don't agree with the performance goals set by my manager or PRD Mentor?

Performance goals should be founded on the area’s Corporate Plan, relevant academic or professional staff Performance Expectations Framework and position descriptions (for professional staff).

If you have concerns regarding your performance goals, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with your manager or PRD Mentor in the first instance. If your concerns are not addressed, you can contact your HR Business Partner for advice.

My PRD was not taken seriously, what do I do?

If you did not receive a meaningful PRD it is recommended that you raise this with your manager or PRD Mentor in a respectful manner. You may wish to raise points regarding preparation, active participation and collaboration, agreeing outcomes and commitment to action, and/or follow-up.

If you do not feel comfortable to raise this with your manager or PRD Mentor, it may be relevant to discuss with your skip-level supervisor or contact your HR Business Partner to discuss your concerns.

What happens if my manager or PRD Mentor tells me I am not meeting expectations?

It can be difficult to receive feedback that you are not meeting your performance expectations. However, it is important to remember that the PRD process is intended to provide staff members with clarity as to performance expectations, and collaborative discuss with their managers what avenues for support may be needed to help achieve those goals.

If performance concerns are raised during your PRD discussion, it is important to remain calm and reasonable. Seek to understand your manager's point of view, even if you may not agree. If you remain unclear on the feedback provided, you are encouraged to ask questions and seek clarification or examples so that issues can be addressed. Managers and staff should always remain respectfully of each other’s opinions.

The PRD conversations can then focus on the future and how success can be achieved in the coming year. You may also instigate more regular meetings with your manager or PRD Mentor to discuss and monitor your progress.

What do I do if I disagree with my manager or PRD Mentor?

If you disagree with the explanation or examples regarding your performance indicated by your manager or PRD Mentor, you may consider:

  • Acknowledge their feedback i.e. "I understand what your saying is that I appeared disrespectful to my colleague in the meeting". This does not indicate agreement, rather it demonstrates you have heard and understood the message.
  • Question the timing of the feedback where appropriate i.e. "if you observe this in the future please feel that you can discuss it with me immediately so I can address it"
  • Clarify an alternative response i.e. "what alternative response would you have expected to see from me in that situation?"
  • Summarise feedback i.e. "I understand your views and this highlights to me the importance of receiving timely feedback about how I am performing, along with advice on how I could perform better. I would like to meet more regularly in the future so I can address these issues in a more timely manner.”

If you require further assistance you can seek advice from your HR Business Partner.

What can I do if I don't agree with the comments my manager or PRD mentor has recorded in the PRD system?

The PRD system provides a mechanism for the manager and the employee to both record their comments from the PRD process. In the instance that you don’t agree with the comments recorded by your manager or PRD Mentor, you can make a record of this in the comments section.