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The Performance and Development Review (PDR) process is used to review job performance and set goals for future training and development. Taking place every year, the PDR gives professional staff opportunities to develop themselves and their careers.

When and who?

The PDR meeting takes place between September and the end of November, and is conducted between the employee and their manager. New staff should be reviewed towards the end of November if possible, to allow a period of at least eleven weeks to demonstrate performance ability in their role.

Download the PDR Guide (PDF)


There are several key steps to the PDR process which need to be completed by a particular time:

PDR Timeline
2 September onwards Reviews undertaken
29 November 2019 Reviews completed
13 December 2019 Divisional approvals completed
Week of 16 December 2019 Salary outcome letters produced

The PDR process is compulsory for all Professional and Management Band staff.


If staff have been on secondment the home manager and secondment manager will liaise with each other to determine how the PDR process will be managed. This will determine who has primary responsibility to complete their PDR. Depending on the timing and duration of the secondment, it may be appropriate for the manager of the secondment position to undertake the review.

Shared Services

It is expected that where staff provide support to other areas (e.g. client services) that feedback will be sought from those areas.

Fixed term staff

If it is likely that a fixed term employee will be employed in 2020 then they will take part in the PDR process. This does not bind the University to provide employment beyond the term of their current agreement.

Information sessions

The PDR Information Sessions provide staff with an awareness of the purpose and importance of the PDR process, and an understanding of the preparation needed to get the most out of the review.

These sessions are free, and cover:

  • What is PDR about?
  • The PDR process
  • The competencies
  • PDR preparation

Enrol in a PDR information session

What happens in the PDR meeting?

The formal PDR involves a discussion between the staff member and their manager. The manager will fill in the PDR form based on the discussion, which will then be sent to the staff member for confirmation. Staff should review the PDR form to make sure it is an accurate record of the meeting, and sign the form by 30 November.

Reflecting on the past year

The first part of the discussion should focus on reflecting on the previous year. The manager and staff member should consider the goals that were set in the previous PDR, as well as the responsibilities in the job description.

Staff are encouraged to prepare for their PDR reviews before the meeting to make the most of the process. To prepare, staff should consider:

  • What was expected over the last year (read the PDR form, notes from meetings and the job description)
  • Think about your performance over the last year, gather information and evidence about what you have achieved
  • Think about what you would like to achieve over the next year

Download the Preparing for your PDR form (Word)

Planning and development for the coming year

The second part of the PDR discussion should focus on planning and development. The manager and staff member should consider what can be achieved, and identify resources and staff development options.

View a range of development resources

If you are looking for something else, contact

There are a wealth of development resources relating to the Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho / Language and Culture competency.
Find out more about Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho / Language and Culture development resources

Download the 'PDR Process and Your Professional Development' booklet (PDF)

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Salary review

While a fiscal cap will not be applied in 2019, staff salaries will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  1. The performance expectation both in terms of outcomes and competencies increases from the bottom of the salary range to the top of the salary range.
  2. A one-step salary increase within the appointment range will be awarded when performance is assessed as working satisfactorily towards full competency.
  3. An accelerated increase (2 steps) within the appointment range will require an assessment of Exceeds Expectations or Outstanding.
  4. A salary increase within the merit range is on the basis that outcomes and the appropriate level of competence has been met.
  5. An accelerated increase (equivalent of 2 steps) will require an outstanding assessment. In the merit range it is expected that this will reflect a trajectory of heightened performance.
  6. If the manager believes that the staff member is remunerated appropriately, considering their current salary and performance level, their salary will remain at its current level.
  7. Staff who have their salary protected and where that protected salary is above the top of the new grade will not receive an increase.
  8. All increases will take affect from 1 February 2020.

Requirements for movement within scale

Progression steps
Required Overall Assessment Approval level
Appointment range Standard increase Working satisfactorily towards Full Competency or Fully Competent Manager
Appointment range – accelerated progression Standard increase x 2 Exceeds Expectations or Outstanding Director/Dean/PVC
Move from Appointment to Merit range Standard increase Exceeds Expectations Manager
Move within Merit range – Lower half Standard increase Exceeds Expectations or Outstanding Director/Dean/PVC
Merit range – Upper half Standard increase Outstanding Director/Dean/PVC
Merit range – accelerated progression Standard increase x 2 Outstanding Director/Dean/PVC

The standard increase in Scale 1 is one step within the appointment range, three steps with the merit range of levels 1-3 and four steps within the merit range of levels 4-8.

NOTE: Staff in the upper half of the merit range require an assessment of Outstanding in order to be considered for a PDR increment.
View a copy of the salary scale with the upper half identified.

The Department Head will issue a letter to staff that were successful in the salary review,. Letters will be produced the week of 16 December.

If a salary increase was not recommended, the staff member will not receive a letter as this will be documented on the PDR form.

Salary increases take effect on 1 February of the following year.

Refer to the PDR policy section on Salary Reviews
Download the guidelines for acknowledging and rewarding staff (PDF)
Find out more information about employee benefits at Otago

Progress reviews throughout the year

You should have regular progress reviews with your manager throughout the year. This should be an extension of the regular discussions you have about how your work is going and the impact of training and development on your work.

By having these conversations all year, you improve your working relationship with your manager and reduce preparation time before the formal PDR review. You can use the final page of the PDR form to make notes in these sessions.

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Management Band PDR

The Management Band PDR is similar to the Professional Staff PDR in that the overall process is the same. Additional things to consider for the Management Band PDR are:

  • A higher level of performance is expected from staff on Management Band
  • The PDR Competency “Leadership and People Management” is a compulsory competency when making an overall assessment.
  • Divisional Heads have been given delegated authority by the Vice Chancellor to award salary increases of up to NZ$2,000. Any salary increases above this must be approved by the Vice Chancellor.

Download the Management Band PDR Guide (PDF)

Management Band PDR Form (PDF / Word)

Guide to using the PDR Web Application

The PDR Web Application is used to record the outcomes of the PDR discussions and authorise any salary increases.

Find out more about the PDR Web Application

PDR forms and letters

Managers need to download forms and letters from the PDR Web Application and Business Objects as part of the PDR process.

Find out more about downloading PDR forms and letters

Who to contact

If you have questions about the PDR or want to talk about it with an independent person, there are a number of people you can contact.

Divisional Human Resources support

The Divisional Human Resources Managers and advisers are your first port of call of Human Resources enquiries.

Find the contact information for your DHRM

Other useful contacts:

HR Professional Development +64 3 479 4101
Jennifer Anderson, University Mediator +64 3 479 5679
Philip Edwards, Tertiary Education Union (TEU) +64 3 479 5492
Keith McFadyen, Public Service Association (Organiser) +64 3 474 7400

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