A fundamental aspect of the Employee Performance Review is the discussion and identification of development needs, and subsequent learning and development plans. These may come about because of ongoing skills enhancement, self-development, a specific improvement need, etc.
Either way the process is the same and the key thing is that development planning cannot and should not be done in isolation; it should relate back to School / Department / Research Institute plans and priorities.
For example there may be areas of skill development critical to a given area (e.g. incorporating new or updated technology into a course, or developing consultancy or business interaction skills) that needs to take priority - training and development resources need to be used in the most effective way overall.
However this does not mean that individual needs are ignored. There is always a balance between individual needs and the wider organisational need, and this is why the procedure is as follows:
- At review meetings (or at any time learning and development should be discussed) discuss both ongoing learning and development and development needs, but always in the context of the role or future roles:
a. Always consider the longer-term aim (2-3 year horizon) for the individual
b. Put the development need into context with the School / Department / Research Institute objectives / plans – is there a good fit?
c. Decide whether the development under discussion is relevant, critical, etc – will it have impact in a reasonable time-frame?
d. Hold at this point pending review at School / Department / Research Institute level prior to confirming development plans
- At an appropriate School / Department / Research Institute level management meeting discuss all development needs, and put them into context with the priority development areas. Agree on prioritised development for particular employees
- Feed this back to the employee and where external courses are involved, proceed to book the agreed training.
- Check on progress – training agreed as a priority needs to be undertaken, and not dropped due to other work commitments unless absolutely necessary.
A particularly important point is to ensure that learning and development activity, once agreed, is actually done and the new skills are used. Failing to do this (by treating development as a secondary issue) means we fail to develop critical skills that have a significant organisational impact. Always consider the wider implications before delaying or cancelling development.
Note that training that is funded centrally by HR must be approved in advance by using the PDR (Personal Development Request) form – available from the HR Staff Development website.