B/9.3 Performance planning and review for senior staff
The Performance Planning and Review - Senior Staff (PPR-SS) cycle features a series of formal discussions between senior staff and their supervisors with the aim to plan and review performance on an annual basis. A performance pay scheme was incorporated into the PPR-SS scheme from 2000.
The formal PPR-SS discussions will involve the following:
The PPR-SS applies to the following categories of staff:
(a) Performance objectives
The PPR-SS process has the following performance objectives:
(b) Performance pay objectives
The PPR-SS process has the following performance pay objectives:
(a) Senior staff member
The PPR-SS process is a participative process in which the senior staff member and supervisor share the responsibility for the development and the review of the performance agreement. This requires the senior staff member to participate actively in the planning and development of performance objectives and the criteria used for reviewing these objectives.
The supervisor refers to the officer to whom the position reports. In addition to being responsible for initiating and maintaining the PPR-SS process, the supervisor is required to:
In relation to the Vice-Chancellor, the Chancellor is responsible for undertaking the role of supervisor and making recommendations direct to Chancellor's Committee.
(c) Authorising Officer
The authorising officer is the head of an organisational area, usually the executive dean of faculty / head of division or otherwise nominated officer.
The responsibilities of the authorising officer are to:
(d) Performance Pay Committee
The central role of the Performance Pay Committee is to consider recommendations and make annual determinations on the level of performance pay bonuses for eligible senior staff (SSG1-SSG5). The Committee also has a role in reviewing salary movement decisions as and when required.
(e) Chancellor's Committee
Chancellor's Committee considers recommendations and makes annual determinations on the level of performance pay bonuses for the Vice-Chancellor and eligible senior staff (SSG6).
The elements of the PPR-SS cycle comprise:
Regular intermediate reviews can occur if requested by the senior staff member being reviewed (for example, if the priorities or expectations were changing) or by the supervisor (for example, the reviewee is on probation, or if a problem regarding performance has been identified).
The PPR-SS cycle will apply uniformly to all participating in the scheme as follows:
Performance planning initiates the PPR-SS cycle and involves senior staff and their supervisors negotiating and finalising a performance agreement for the PPR-SS cycle. It includes negotiating a development plan to help meet agreed objectives for the next twelve-month period.
Supervisors and senior staff need to determine a suitable process of meetings to develop and agree upon the performance agreement.
A suggested process for performance planning follows.
Step 1 Initiating the process
The supervisor is responsible for initiating the performance planning discussions with the senior staff member for each twelve-month period. For newly appointed senior staff, the Human Resources Director advises the senior staff member via the appointment letter, that a performance agreement needs to be established with the relevant supervisor.
Step 2 Preparation for planning meeting
The supervisor meets with his/her manager, (for example, the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, head of division or executive dean of faculty as appropriate) to clarify performance expectations for the relevant senior staff position.
The supervisor then arranges an initial meeting with the senior staff member. Prior to this meeting, the supervisor and staff member should obtain a copy of the duty statement/position description for the position, the QUT Institutional Plan and the relevant faculty/division and school/department strategic and operational plans (see A/2.2 ).
Step 3 Initial meeting
At the initial meeting between the supervisor and senior staff member, performance is broadly reviewed and feedback provided. The initial review should be based on the duty statement as well as outputs and outcomes for the previous 12 months or since the last review of performance. Priorities and expectations for the next twelve-month period should then be discussed.
It is important, during the initial discussions, that the expectations and desired outcomes of both parties are clarified and agreed upon as this sets the framework for the annual performance review.
In some instances the supervisor may ask the senior staff member to prepare a draft performance agreement, based on initial discussions, to be negotiated and finalised at a subsequent meeting.
Step 4 Developing performance agreement
Performance agreements usually incorporate the key responsibilities (or accountabilities) for the position based on the position duty statement, performance expectations and strategic priorities. A format for the performance agreement should be clarified and agreed upon.
Performance agreements may also include performance indicators, which ideally refer to both outputs and outcomes of performance. Performance indicators are informed by relevant strategic and operational plans. Performance indicators should also, where possible, identify measures that can be used to determine how a key responsibility has been met. Such measures may include the outcomes of leadership surveying (see below) and Operational Performance Targets (OPT).
During discussions regarding the desired outcomes the supervisor should clearly identify the standards of performance required to achieve an assessment of satisfactory level of performance.
The responsibilities of heads of school include both academic and management responsibilities. These dual responsibilities require careful consideration when preparing the performance agreement.
Senior staff performance agreements need to be tailored for particular roles and focus on strategic priorities for the position. However, the following items (termed accountabilities) are likely to be included in all performance agreements for senior staff members at QUT:
Upon development of the performance agreement, the Agreement must be signed by both the supervisor and the senior staff member.
Step 5 Personal development plan
A discussion of appropriate development activities is undertaken once the performance objectives for the following period have been negotiated and agreed upon by the senior staff member and supervisor. It involves discussion and identification of the senior staff member's development needs in light of the performance agreement and long-term career goals. The performance agreement provides for a personal development plan that identifies agreed development activities for the following period, and specific faculty/or other University sources of resource support.
In the latter part of any renewal of the contracted period where a senior staff member has indicated an intention not to seek a managerial appointment again, development planning can be directed to assist the staff member to pursue an alternative career path in the University.
Step 6 Changes to position descriptions
For non-academic managers, where changes to a position are identified as part of the performance planning process, the position description should be updated and a copy forwarded to the Human Resources Department (Client Services) for inclusion on the incumbent's personal file.
Progress towards performance plans will (at a minimum) be reviewed annually. More frequent performance reviews may be beneficial in some instances, especially where a senior staff member is in a new position or where priorities are changing rapidly.
The period of review for the purpose of the annual performance review and performance pay is the previous calendar year.
Annual performance reviews address the following issues:
Items to be discussed in any annual performance review meeting between the senior staff member and his/her supervisor will typically include the following:
Following the completion of the annual performance review the supervisor and senior staff member should sign the completed document.
Where performance is assessed by the supervisor as less than satisfactory, the supervisor will indicate this on the PPR-SS Action form and pursue with the staff member the recommended strategies as outlined in the Managing Unsatisfactory Performance policy (see B/9.5 ).
The performance pay scheme incorporates two mechanisms for performance payments - salary movement and performance bonus. To be eligible for salary movement and performance bonus a senior staff member must work in the position for at least nine months of their PPR-SS cycle. Recommendations in circumstances when the senior staff member has worked for less than nine months of their PPR-SS cycle will only be approved in exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances may include new appointees to senior staff positions who have completed less than nine months of their PPR-SS cycle and who are able to demonstrate sufficient achievement against agreed objectives. All periods of approved paid leave are defined as time worked in the position.
(b) Salary movement (SSG1-SSG4)
Subject to B/9.3.7(a) senior staff (SSG1-SSG4) who are positioned at a salary point within a range are eligible for salary movement.
As part of the annual performance review the supervisor will consider the performance objectives achieved throughout the 12 month period and recommend an amount of salary movement to be awarded to the senior staff member.
Recommendations on the amount of salary movement will be based solely on the performance of the staff member.Following the annual performance review meeting where the supervisor decides that performance is satisfactory (or better) a recommendation to increase the base salary of the senior staff member within the salary range for that position will be made to the authorising officer. The authorising officer will consider the recommendation and hold discussions with the supervisor if required. The authorising officer will consider recommendations taking into account a staff member's overall level of performance and relativities across senior staff within the Division/Faculty.
Within a month of the performance review meeting the authorising officer will finalise the decision regarding the overall performance rating (above satisfactory, satisfactory, not satisfactory and unsatisfactory) and the amount of salary movement and advise the supervisor of the outcome. The supervisor will meet with the senior staff member to provide feedback on the level of performance and to inform them of the salary movement decision.
Any adjustment to base salary will take effect as of 1 January in the year the decision on salary movement is made.
See below for review mechanism for salary movement decisions.
Performance pay as a result of salary movement will be an addition to the base salary for the staff member. It will be superannuable and subject to the terms of the Flexible Remuneration Scheme (see section B/6.6 ).
(c) Bonus pay
Subject to B/9.3.7(a) all senior staff (SSG1-SSG6) and the Vice-Chancellor are eligible for a performance bonus.
In recommending and determining the size of a bonus payment two factors are considered; the staff member's individual performance as outlined in the performance agreement for the previous 12 month period and the relevant organisational unit's performance over the same period. The relevant organisational unit (ie University, faculty/division, school/department) is the level above the location of the senior staff member. For example, a head of school's individual performance is assessed combined with the performance of the faculty.
The performance of the relevant organisational unit is determined as follows:
As part of the annual performance review the supervisor will consider the performance objectives achieved throughout the 12 month period. Where the supervisor determines that the performance by the senior staff member during this period exceeds a satisfactory level, ie high or exceptional, the supervisor will:
The authorising officer will consider the recommendation and hold further discussions with the supervisor if required. The authorising officer will then forward the final recommendation (PPR-SS Action form) to the Performance Pay Committee or Chancellor's Committee as appropriate.
The range of bonus payments available for the duration of the QUT Employee Collective Agreement (Senior Staff) 2009-2012 is 0-10% of the senior staff member's total remuneration salary.
Bonus payments are one-off payments made as a lump sum, awarded each year, are non-superannuable and subject to PAYG tax. A staff member may elect to salary sacrifice all or a percentage of their bonus payment into their relevant superannuation fund. This election must be made prior to the period during which the bonus payment is earned.
(d) Bonus pay - exceptional circumstances
In exceptional circumstances the Vice-Chancellor may award a one-off bonus payment in excess of 10% to a maximum of 20% of the senior staff member's total remuneration salary as part of / or outside of the staff member's annual performance planning and review cycle.
Exceptional circumstances under this provision mean where a senior staff member, through outstanding performance, contributes significantly to the University's position as a leading teaching and research provider.
The Vice-Chancellor will consult with members of the Performance Pay Committee or Chancellor's Committee as appropriate in making a decision to award such a one-off bonus payment.
Bonus payments made under this provision are one-off payments made as a lump sum, are awarded at the time of the decision by the Vice-Chancellor, are non-superannuable / non-salary sacrificeable and subject to PAYG tax.
The Performance Pay Committee comprises the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy-Vice-Chancellor (Academic), and the Registrar.
The Performance Pay Committee's role is to:
The Committee will consider all recommendations on bonus payments for the senior staff group in light of individual achievement, corporate achievements for the preceding twelve month period, affordability, parity across the senior staff group, as well as any other relevant information such as reclassification of a position.
The Chancellor's Committee (see A/3.4 ) role is to:
The Committee will advise supervisors of its decision. There will be no further review of the supervisor's recommendation to the Committee.
Senior staff members with supervisory responsibility are required to undertake a Quality Leadership Profile (QLP) as part of PPR-SS. The QLP should be utilised twice in a five-year period (eg in the case of fixed term staff, two years into a contract and in the fourth year prior to review). The QLP helps inform performance planning and review discussions at the appropriate times. The Human Resources Department coordinates the QLP process. Senior staff members should contact the Senior HR Officer (SMDP) for further information on QLP.
A senior staff member may or may not be appointed for an additional term of office in the senior staff position when their fixed term appointment expires.
At least six months prior to expiration of a fixed term appointment, the Human Resources Director will write to the senior staff member seeking advice as to whether the senior staff member is seeking a renewal of his/her contract. The senior staff member will provide this written advice to the Human Resources Director within three weeks.
Where a senior staff member seeks a further appointment, the Human Resources Director will request from the supervisor a recommendation to the authorising officer regarding the offer of a further appointment. His recommendation will be based upon the needs of the University and the on-going performance achievements of the senior staff member during the fixed term appointment, with specific reference to documentation arising from the annual performance review meeting conducted with the staff member. Where necessary, the supervisor may need to meet with the senior staff member to gather additional information in support of the final recommendation.
In some instances the timing of the fixed term appointment renewal process may not coincide with the PPR-SS cycle. In such cases the supervisor should be aware ahead of time, of the fixed term appointment end date and take this into consideration when completing the PPR-SS process.
Executive deans of faculty / heads of division approve renewal of fixed term appointments to senior staff positions (SSG1 - SSG3) and the Vice-Chancellor approves renewal of fixed term appointments to senior staff positions (SSG4 - SSG6). Council approves renewal of the position of Vice-Chancellor.
At the completion of a PPR-SS cycle, the Performance Agreement and PPR-SS Action form will be filed on the appropriate file in the Human Resources Department.
Aggregated development data sourced from personal development plans may be made available upon request to organisers of the QUT Senior Management Development Program within the Human Resources Department.
In the situation where a negotiated performance agreement is not forthcoming in discussions between the supervisor and senior staff member, either party may seek the assistance of the supervisor's manager to help reach a mutually acceptable performance agreement. The supervisor's manager may meet with either or both parties to clarify and resolve the issues. QUT Council acts as the final board of review for disputes arising from the PPR-SS scheme.
Where a staff member has concerns regarding the process undertaken by the supervisor to assess performance and/or perceives bias in the decision on salary movement within the ranges, the following process will apply.
Step 1: The senior staff member will notify their supervisor of their concerns and an attempt will be made to resolve the matter.
Step 2: If an attempt to resolve the matter at the local level has already been made and a resolution has not been achieved, the matter will be referred to the supervisor's manager as appropriate.
Step 3: If the issue remains unresolved the matter will be referred to the Performance Pay Committee. The senior staff member will indicate in writing to the committee the grounds for the decision to be reviewed. The Performance Pay Committee will advise its decision, in writing, to all parties involved. Where a member of the Performance Pay Committee has been involved in the process outlined in Steps 1 and 2 above, the committee member will be absented from the committee. The Performance Pay Committee's decision will be final.
All aspects of PPR-SS shall be consistent with QUT's social justice policies (see A/8).
The University will provide to supervisors and senior staff members training or briefings relevant to all aspects of PPR-SS.
B/12.16 Senior Management Development Program
B/9.5 Managing Unsatisfactory Performance - Senior Staff