Frequently asked questions

  • It is a review of your progress - what you have done well and not so well, how far you have achieved your objectives, what challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them, what you have learned from your experiences and how you can build on this for the future.

    Objectives are work-related and developmental (personal, professional and career) and are aligned with faculty or directorate objectives.

    It consists of an annual PDR meeting with a reviewer (between April and July each year) and is normally supported by regular 1:1 meetings throughout the year. 

    A PDR form supports the annual PDR review.  Part 1 is a section for you to reflect your progress during the past year and propose your priorities and objectives for the coming year.  Part 2 is completed by your reviewer after your annual PDR meeting to give their comments, identify other issues discussed and agree your work-related and developmental objectives for the coming year.

    Research active staff are asked to reference your Personal Research Plan (PRP) in your annual PDR and attach a copy to your PDR form.

    To enable you to perform effectively in your job and fulfil your personal, professional and career ambitions - for your benefit and for the benefit of Brookes in a context of continuous improvement.

    The PDR has always involved discussing both performance and development. We have introduced 'performance' into the title to make it clear that discussing performance is just as important as development. 

    The positive reasons why we are strengthening the performance element of the PDR scheme are to:

    • Enable staff at Brookes to be better placed to meet our current and future challenges (e.g. NSS, TEF, REF, KEF, student recruitment etc).
    • Ensure that everyone is working in the same direction and is fully aware of how their work contributes to our overall success. 
    By facilitating discussions at your annual PDR and your 1:1 meetings about your progress and helping you to identify you your work-related and developmental objectives for the coming year.  To support this, we are now training reviewers to adopt a coaching style which involves active listening, asking questions and giving feedback. 

    There is no prescribed number of staff for each line manager/reviewer.  It will depend on the nature of staff roles, the level of support they require and what other responsibilities the line manager/reviewer has.

    Normally, it is recommended that a line manager/reviewer has no more than 10 to 12 direct reports.

    Normally, the best person to conduct your review is a line manager.

    The role of the reviewer is to facilitate the reviewee's reflections and planning via a supportive discussion using a coaching style. To help reviewers to carry out this role, essential coaching skills are now part of PDR reviewer training. This means that reviewers don't necessarily need to have an in-depth understanding of everything that the reviewee has been doing during the year because they draw on the reviewee's experience of their own work to coach them. 

    It is important that all reviewers know what the faculty or directorate priorities are and that they are aware of any issues that need to addressed (e.g. from NSS results or module evaluations).

    At Brookes, performance management is the full range of activities which support, motivate, engage and value staff to make a significant contribution within a culture of continuous improvement (which, in a few cases, may mean managing underperformance). This includes the PDR.

    In the small number of cases where a staff member is underperforming, their line manager will meet with the individual concerned at a 1:1 meeting to present details of the perceived underperformance. This will then be discussed and if, there are still concerns about the individual’s performance, the line manager will propose a programme of action for improvement. Further details of the informal and formal stages of the Capability procedure are available.

    The annual PDR meeting is not the appropriate place to raise underperformance for the first time.  

    Each dean or director (or a member of their senior team) has responsibility for ensuring that everyone in their faculty or directorate has an annual PDR.  After each annual PDR round, OCSLD/HR will check progress with completions and undertake sample quality checks.
    Talk time is an alternative to the PDR scheme for staff at grades 2 - 4 in Estates and Campus Services and Learning Resources. It has been revised on similar principles to the PDR. Further information is available on the Talk time webpage.