Human Resources

FAQ’s for Managers Appendix 1

Workplace discussions

Performance to date - objectives and outcomes

These key principles should be reflected in the Progress and Development Review (PDR) or workplace discussion. The main objectives and duties of the role will be outlined in the job description. This, together with the progress and development review documentation, will give you an indication of the performance measures that will help you determine if the employee is achieving what needs to be done. In some jobs performance may be measured in quantitative terms; in others it may be a narrative account of the individual’s contribution to the School or Professional Service Department. Performance can be based on outcomes, i.e. what the employee has delivered.It is good practice to agree these objectives with an employee, and ensure these are `SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Relevant).

Developmental and training needs

Discussing individual performance may identify areas where the employee needs further support or training. Don’t make assumptions about an individual’s needs based on their age or length of experience and remember to treat employees consistently in this area. Employees do not have to undertake further training but if their performance is below what you would expect of them, then you should deal with this. As a manager, you are responsible for ensuring that the employee performs satisfactorily.

Future plans

This discussion is about future plans and aspirations in the short and medium term, essentially going forward over the next couple of years. It is a joint discussion but from two viewpoints, the manager and the employee.

Manager

This is about how the employee’s skills and abilities can be developed to your future School or Professional Service Department plans. It is your opportunity, as a manager, to set out where you see the School or Professional Service Department in the short to medium term and the range of skills and abilities that will be needed. This part of the discussion can cover alternative and flexible working patterns where the business case for the organisation can match the needs of the employee.

Employee

This part of the discussion is about the employee and their plans for the future. The range of issues covered may be very wide; for some it might be their aspirations for different roles within the School or Professional Service Department. You cannot hold an employee to what is said in this part of the discussion. They can change their mind, but it gives you the opportunity to start thinking about the longer term and succession planning.Where an employee indicates that they do wish to retire at some future date they may well want to discuss adjusting their working hours, reducing their duties or altering their job in some other way as a lead up to retirement. However, you do need to think carefully before you change an employee’s job in the light of information given at this stage of the discussion.

Future Performance

Just as part of the workplace discussion is a review of performance and achievement, so, having discussed the School’s or Professional Service Department’s and the individual’s plans, this final part of the discussion looks to the immediate future and it is where you set out your expectations for the employee.

Remember, it is not discrimination to have different objectives for employees undertaking the same roles to reflect training or other reasons, such as returning from a period of absence or as a reasonable adjustment for a disabled employee. Setting objectives differently just because the employees have different ages is likely to be discriminatory.

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Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Email: humanresources@bbk.ac.uk