Human Resources

Line Manager Guidance

Payments are awarded on the basis of exceptional contribution. This is defined as contribution that, on a sustained basis, substantially exceeds that normally expected in an individual’s or team’s role.

The period of performance under consideration runs from the start of the summer term (April 2017) to the end of the current spring term (March 2018). 

Line managers must consider whether the nominee, or team, has performed exceptionally during the period, meeting the criteria for exceptional contribution based on both the outcomes and quality of work.


The application must evidence the exceptional achievements of the nominee. These should be in relation to the duties outlined in their job description and ideally be those discussed and set as part of the PDR process.

The documentation produced as part of the PDR will be a good starting point for any considerations. Whilst all roles will have objectives set which delineate the annual progression expected within a role, it is by reviewing what has been achieved beyond these that the assessment of exceptional can be made.

In this context exceptional means that the outcomes have resulted in a significantly greater impact than that expected or planned. The achievement should be greater than the targets that are set within the expected ability of the nominee in relation to the role e.g. if the expectation is that the role routinely exceeds an annual target then exceptional is to increase the scale by which that target is measured.

The achievement of exceptional outcomes may be demonstrated by the following:

  • achievement of a greater number of objectives and/or targets than would be expected for the role;
  • greatly enhanced ability to perform in the role as a result of  learning and application of new knowledge and/or skills (e.g. application of learning from a professional qualification);
  • outstanding innovation in the job (e.g. consistent innovative improvements to a School/department’s processes and procedures, resulting in improved services to students/staff);
  • outstanding performance in the way in which outcomes are achieved (in relation to the Quality of Work criteria);
  • implementation of a process or improvement to workflow that has resulted in a positive impact on operational efficiency, on external business efficiency or substantive cost saving thereby contributing to the College’s Operational Excellence programme.

Quality of work

In order to be eligible for a contribution-related pay award, staff must perform consistently well or exceptionally well against all the following criteria:

  • Initiative
  • Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Staff/Student Focus
  • Working With Others
  • Organizational Communication
  • Managing Performance (applicable to line mangers)

Definitions of these criteria are in appendix A, Criteria for Exceptional Contribution.

Whilst exceptional achievement should be recognised and rewarded it must not be at cost to the performance of the substantive requirements of the role. Therefore the minimum standard to be considered for a contribution-related pay award is ‘consistently well’.

Equality impact

It is important that line managers base the decision to nominate on the criteria and within the scope of the College Equal Opportunities Policy Statement. Whilst all staff should be considered in the same way, line managers should be mindful of personal circumstances which may affect an individual’s output.

You are encouraged to indicate, with the consent of the nominee, any individual circumstances that you feel may have significantly impacted upon the volume of output. Specific details do not have to be described (e.g. you do not have to describe a disability) and a range of personal circumstances can be taken into consideration. The following is not an exhaustive list:

  • Absences due to maternity, adoption, parental or carers leave
  • Periods of part-time working
  • Breaks in employment due to non-consecutive fixed term contracts
  • Disability, including temporary incapacity lasting for more than six months
  • Absence due to ill-health or injury
  • Special leave of absence on secondment to other organisations

Where any of these apply, please include the dates and details of reduced working hours.

Any information that you provide will be shared in confidence, with Human Resources, and with the promotion Panel. If you have any concerns about this information being made available as described, please discuss the matter, in advance and in confidence, with Chetna Kanji, Head of HR Operations (

Discuss and submit the nomination

The nomination must be discussed with the nominee. Any corrections, amendments or additions can be discussed and a finalised nomination produced. This process ensures greater accuracy in the nomination but it is also important for the nominee to have the recognition of achievement within the context of their team.

If you are making recommendations for more than one individual then these should be prioritised. The rationale for prioritisation, if more than one nomination is made, must then be submitted along with the nomination(s) to the School Manager or Director of Professional Service by the local deadline.

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX