Associate Director, Human Resources (Workplace Relations)
Vice-Chancellor and President
Date of Next Review
9.1.3 Social justice
9.1.5 Roles and responsibilities
9.1.6 Performance planning and review cycle
9.1.8 Employee Review of Supervisor
9.1.9 Outcomes of PPR process and subsequent action
9.1.12 Resolving disagreements
The effectiveness of QUT in achieving its goals depends on the knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance of all of its staff and their proper recognition. QUT has a firm commitment to the implementation of an effective Performance Planning and Review (PPR) process, linked to the achievement of individual, work area and organisational goals.
The PPR process for professional staff described below is a participative process which provides a framework for identifying, reviewing, developing, recognising and rewarding work performance. The success of this process depends on a strong commitment to its implementation by managers, supervisors and their staff.
Supervisors and managers at all levels are accountable for ensuring that one of the performance indicators for their staff is the successful completion and management of the PPR process.
All professional staff classified at HEW Levels 1 to 10 inclusive and employed on an on-going basis or for a fixed term of twelve months or more must participate in the PPR process. This includes staff serving a period of probation and part-time staff.
Staff occupying a temporary position of less than twelve months duration or a casual position may participate in the PPR process or an abbreviated version of the PPR process, to be determined by the staff member and supervisor. In this case, participation may be initiated by either the staff member or the supervisor.
All aspects of the PPR process will be consistent with QUT's social justice policies (A/8). Training in the PPR process will address issues pertaining to culture, belief systems, gender, non-English speaking backgrounds, disabilities, family responsibilities and commitments as a carer, so as to assist participants to consider work performance in its entire context.
The supervisor's own PPR process will include a review of the achievement of their equity responsibilities.
The PPR process is primarily concerned with contributing to the achievement of individual, work area and organisational excellence through facilitating
- clear performance and development objectives that align with the objectives of the organisational area and the University
- enhanced communication between the participants
- enhanced involvement of staff in decisions relating to their performance and development objectives
- identification of areas of development, as they relate to immediate and evolving job requirements and career plans
- recognition of achievements and identification of appropriate rewards
- opportunity to develop future career plans
- early identification of obstacles to the achievement of performance objectives and measures to overcome these obstacles
- the provision of information to assist administrative processes (eg. incremental progression, confirmation of appointment, identification of developmental needs across the University, and reclassification).
Performance planning and review is not a process for managing unsatisfactory performance. If performance is unsatisfactory or there are concerns in relation to ill-health or misconduct, these concerns should be addressed under the appropriate processes contained in the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff).
(a) Staff Member
The PPR process is a participative process in which the staff member and supervisor share responsibility for the development of reasonable and meaningful PPR plans. This requires that the staff member actively participate in:
- determining performance and development objectives and the criteria used for monitoring the achievement of these objectives; and
- assessing the achievement of performance objectives and development objectives.
In addition to being responsible for initiating and maintaining the PPR process, the supervisor is required to
- determine, together with the staff member, performance and development objectives and the criteria used for monitoring the achievement of these objectives
- assess, together with the staff member, the achievement of performance objectives and development objectives
- provide the necessary coaching and support
- facilitate staff development and career development opportunities in accordance with the PPR plan
- make the relevant decisions/recommendations arising from the review of the objectives contained in the PPR plan, including appropriate reward and recognition.
Every staff member will only be directly supervised by one supervisor, and that supervisor will be identified to the staff member.
A supervisor will normally either be classified at HEW Level 6 or above or will be an academic staff member. QUT is aware, however, that some staff classified below HEW Level 6 coordinate and/or oversee the activities of other staff. In such circumstances, this staff member in consultation with their line supervisor will determine who undertakes the actual PPR review of staff.
It should be noted, however, that where the process for managing unsatisfactory performance is invoked, or allegations of misconduct or serious misconduct are made, those processes would normally be co-ordinated by a supervisor classified at HEW Level 6 or above.
(c) Head of the organisational area
The responsibilities of the head of the organisational area with respect to the PPR process include
- ensuring that the objectives determined by the staff member and supervisor are consistent with those of the organisational area
- ensuring all parties are satisfied that the needs of the staff member and the organisational area have been addressed through the PPR process
- approving recommendations arising from the PPR process
- ensuring opportunities exist for the staff member and organisational areas to meet or exceed expectations
- facilitating the early resolution of disputes or conflict arising from the process
- overseeing the supervisor's responsibilities with respect to the PPR process.
(d) Human Resources Department
The responsibilities of the Human Resources Department with respect to the PPR process include
- providing support and advice to supervisors and staff
- providing training in the PPR process for supervisors and staff members
- actioning the relevant administrative outcomes arising from the PPR process (ie. incremental progression, probation and reclassification)
- providing advice on the training and development actions identified in the plan
- facilitating the resolution of conflict or disputes arising from the PPR process
- monitoring the overall effectiveness of the process.
The PPR process will occur over a twelve month cycle, which will normally coincide with the staff member's increment date (usually linked to the staff member's anniversary of appointment). The three elements of the cycle are as follows.
(a) Planning discussion
At the commencement of the cycle, or upon commencement of a period of probation, the supervisor and staff member will meet to discuss and share expectations with respect to performance objectives and development activities during the PPR cycle. Specifically, the discussion should include
- the overall purpose of the position and how it fits into the goals of the organisational unit and QUT
- the performance objectives of the position and the criteria to be used to monitor performance over the cycle
- the development activities required to facilitate the achievement of the performance objectives
- evolving requirements of the position and the development activities necessary to support these
- the long term career aspirations of the staff member and the activities which could foster these goals.
This discussion will result in a PPR plan which will normally include performance objectives, performance criteria, sources of feedback, development objectives and an action plan for the implementation of performance and development objectives. Performance criteria will be specific, achievable, relevant and, where practicable, measurable, thus minimising bias through subjective, value-based assessments.
The planning discussion should be informed by reference to, among other things
- current duty statements
- organisational structure charts
- plans and/or reviews of the University, the organisational area and the individual.
The budgeting and staffing implications arising out of the plan should be identified in the PPR plan.
(b) Interim progress review/s
At least one interim progress review must be conducted no later than 8 months into the 12 month PPR cycle. More regular reviews may be scheduled if the parties agree it is appropriate. Where a staff member is serving a period of probation an interim review must be completed mid-way through the probation period. At all times, the participants should be provided with the opportunity to receive feedback and discuss aspects of the PPR plan. Furthermore, interim progress reviews will allow for
- the sharing of successes and/or concerns with respect to performance and development
- amendment of the PPR plan where necessary to reflect changing priorities or circumstances
- the provision of guidance and support with respect to the achievement of performance and/or development objectives as contained in the plan
- consideration of whether the planned development activities have occurred and whether any additional training and development is required in order to fulfil the objectives contained within the plan.
(c) Formal review
A formal review must be conducted no later than one month before the end of the 12 month PPR cycle, or no later than one month before completion of a probation period. This will provide the opportunity for the supervisor and staff member to jointly and formally review the PPR plan with respect to
- the achievement of performance objectives
- the achievement of development objectives.
With the agreement of both parties feedback need not be limited to communication between the staff member and the supervisor but could also include feedback from other sources such as peers, clients, and reporting staff, who have sufficiently regular contact with the staff member and an understanding of the workplace environment in which they operate to be able to adequately comment on performance in its full context.
As part of the formal review, the supervisor is required to assess the staff member's performance against the PPR plan for the purposes of informing decisions and/or recommendations relating to incremental progression, where relevant, probation and other possible outcomes outlined in B/9.1.9. The supervisor's assessment is based solely on the achievement of performance objectives agreed and documented in the PPR plan. The assessment does not depend on the staff member's participation in or progress towards the agreed development activities contained in the PPR plan. This is to allow for any factors which may have affected participation in development activities.
This stage of the cycle marks the commencement of the next PPR cycle and planning discussions will therefore be held, at either this meeting or a subsequent meeting to be arranged by the supervisor, to develop a PPR plan for the next cycle.
Staff appointed on an on-going basis are required to serve a period of probation before appointment is confirmed. During the period of probation, the staff member and their supervisor will meet to review performance and development. These meetings will be conducted as part of the performance planning and review process. The initial meeting will be conducted on appointment, and a review will be conducted about mid-way through the period of probation. The supervisor will take a record of these meetings, and a copy will be provided to the staff member.
The following periods of probation apply to staff appointed on an on-going basis:
HEW Levels 1-4
HEW Levels 5-7
* In exceptional circumstances a period of probation not exceeding 6 months may apply where the nature and circumstances of the position require a longer period of probation. This will include whether the key functions of the position can reasonably be undertaken and assessed within a 3 month period.
HEW Levels 8-10
A period of probation will also apply to staff employed on their first fixed-term appointment. The Authorising Officer will determine the period of probation to apply to each appointment within a minimum period of three months and a maximum period of six months having regard to the period of fixed-term employment, the nature of the work and the classification level of the position.
Any continuous second or subsequent fixed-term appointment in the same or substantially similar position will not contain a probationary period unless there has been a break of more than 3 months between appointments.
The final review will be conducted at least one month before the completion of the period of probation. At the time of the final review, the supervisor will recommend to the relevant authorising officer that the appointment be
- confirmed or
A decision not to confirm appointment should be made no later than four weeks before the completion of the probation period, so that a staff member may submit a case to the Human Resources Director as to why the decision to terminate should not be approved. The staff member will be provided with a copy of the recommendation of the supervisor.
The provisions relating to probation for professional staff are contained in the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) (clause 47).
The University requires that at least once every two years an employee review of the supervisor's performance will form part of the supervisor's annual performance review process.
The mechanism for this review is the QUT Leadership Survey. This survey is available on HiQ.
The aims of the survey are to:
- provide staff with the opportunity to offer constructive feedback to their supervisor in a range of key areas of supervision;
- provide supervisors with valuable feedback that will assist them in their role as supervisor; and
- offer an additional communication mechanism between staff and supervisors.
The outcomes of the PPR process will inform decisions and/or recommendations relating to the following.
Following the formal review of a staff member completing a period of probation, the supervisor will make a recommendation on whether to confirm the appointment or terminate the employment.
A decision not to confirm appointment should be made no later than four weeks before the completion of the probation period, so that a staff member may submit a case to the Human Resources Director as to why the decision to terminate should not be approved.
The provisions relating to the termination of a staff member's employment following a final probation review are contained in the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) (clause 48).
(b) Annual Incremental Progression
Incremental progression is available for professional staff classified at HEW levels, excluding those staff at the top salary point of the relevant HEW level. On completion of 12 months satisfactory service on each step within a salary scale, a staff member may receive an incremental progression to the next step within the salary scale.
The provisions relating to incremental progression for professional staff are contained in the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) (clause 17).
(c) Accelerated Incremental Progression
Following the formal PPR review and where the supervisor determines that a staff member's performance against the agreed performance objectives outlined in the PPR plan is exceptional, the supervisor may consider making a recommendation to the authorising officer for accelerated incremental progression through more than one salary increment consistent with the University's policy on accelerated incremental progression (B/7.8).
The Executive Director, Human Resources will monitor instances of accelerated progression.
(d) Recognition and Reward Programs
Following the formal PPR review and where the supervisor determines that a staff member has met or exceeded the agreed performance objectives outlined in the PPR plan, the supervisor may consider recognising a staff member's performance through a range of recognition and reward programs (B/5).
(e) Managing Unsatisfactory Performance
The PPR process will circumvent most performance problems before they require more formal intervention. The University recognises, however, that there will be instances of unsatisfactory performance in which a staff member does not meet acceptable performance standards deemed reasonable for their classification level and agreed in the PPR plan. Unsatisfactory performance may result from a number of factors including, for example, the level and style of supervision afforded the staff member, insufficient training, attitudinal problems, workloads, job design and extenuating circumstances.
Where the performance of a staff member is not satisfactory and further action is required to resolve the issue/s, the supervisor will initiate the process for managing unsatisfactory performance as contained in the QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) (clause 53).
The process for managing unsatisfactory performance can be initiated by the supervisor at any stage of the PPR cycle following identification of unsatisfactory performance. The outcomes from the PPR process, including relevant documentation, may be used to inform the process for managing unsatisfactory performance.
(f) Staff and career development activities
The supervisor and staff member will consider the appropriate performance and career development activities required in order to achieve the development objectives contained in the PPR plan.
(g) Changes to duties and reclassification
In considering the nature of the position during the PPR process the supervisor and staff member may feel that the existing duty statement no longer reflects the current job. The PPR discussions provide an opportunity to revise the duty statement to reflect changes in the job.
If the staff member and supervisor feel that the tasks and/or responsibilities of the position have changed significantly enough to warrant consideration of the current classification level, an application for reclassification of the position may be submitted by the head of organisational area.
The official PPR documentation will be maintained on the staff member's personal file in the Human Resources Department. Personal files are only available to the specific staff member and approved senior staff for legitimate information purposes and for relevant approvals. To assist the planning discussions, the supervisor and staff member should maintain a copy of the official documentation for the current cycle and for the previous cycle. Any documentation from previous cycles held by the supervisor or head of organisational area should be discarded provided that a copy of the relevant documentation has been forwarded to the Human Resources Department.
The documentation will be made available to the head of the relevant organisational area for the purposes of information and relevant approvals (eg incremental progression, probation, training and retraining / development expenditure).
Further information, proforma and guidelines for supervisors and staff are available on the Performance Planning and Review process.
A booklet on the PPR process will be provided to all new staff prior to participating in the process.
All supervisors of professional staff HEW Levels 1-10 inclusive must attend training in the PPR process prior to participating in the PPR process.
On-going training will be provided to staff members on a needs basis.
Any matters of disagreement between the supervisor and staff member should first be referred to the head of the organisational area. If the head of the organisational area is the supervisor the matter should be referred to the next level of management. If the disagreement cannot be resolved, the staff member may invoke QUT's grievance resolution process (B/10.1 Staff complaints).
QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) (QUT staff access only)
Human Resources Department
Periodic review - Minor editorial changes only
Revised policy regarding probation
B/9.1.2, B/9.1.6, B/9.1.7, B/9.1.9, B/9.1.10
Revised policy consistent with current probation provisions
Revised policy to comply with Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRR)
Human Resources Department