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Your PDR

The management band PDR is similar to the professional staff PDR, in that the overall process is the same. However, the Management Band PDR Form is used instead. It is recommended you have your PDR discussion with your own manager before having PDR discussions with your staff, so there is alignment with departmental / divisional cascading objectives.

Preparing to run PDRs

Preparation is essential for an effective and constructive PDR discussion.

Reference materials may include:

You will require a copy of the relevant PDR form:

Complete notes to inform your discussion, based on the above materials, and/or draft some answers in the relevant PDR form.

Contact your staff member well in advance, to arrange a date and time for the discussion. Offer them the opportunity to bring a support person.

If your staff member is embedded in a different area of the University, ensure feedback is obtained from their client group(s).

At the meeting

Ensure you have a suitable space for the PDR discussion, that the room is prepared appropriately, and that your discussion won't be interrupted.


Reflect on your staff member's overall performance over the past 12 months:

  • Things that went well
  • Things that didn't go well
  • Any challenges
  • Feedback that has been received
  • Progress and achievements since the last review

Nothing should come as a surprise to your employee – successes will ideally have been recognised when they happened, and any performance issues should have been dealt with when they occurred.

Future planning and development

  • Draft goals, objectives or expected outcomes to work towards for the upcoming year (and beyond)
  • Alignment with division / department team priorities and University strategies is encouraged, for example:    
  • Alignment with the University of Otago shared values:    
    • Respect
    • Integrity
    • Curiosity
    • Community
  • Development opportunities to support the employee to achieve these objectives
  • Career aspirations and opportunities for career growth

Meeting tips

  • Clarify what will happen during the discussion
  • Use the relevant PDR form as the basis of the conversation, and enquire with open-ended questions
  • Seek your emplopyee's views and feedback, and share your views and feedback
  • Summarise and make notes of key points in order to complete the relevant PDR form
  • Give effective feedback:    
    • Be specific
    • Focus on the behaviour, not the person or their intentions
    • Be honest and sincere, with the intention of helping the employee improve their performance
    • Focus on areas that can be changed
    • Be objective, don't include advice or subjective opinions
    • Ensure feedback is timely
    • Ask what was done, or how it was done – not why
    • Check the employee has understood what you communicated
    • Be consistent across all employees

Record outcomes in the PDR Web Application

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

You can also download PDR forms and letters from the PDR Web Application and Business Objects.

Guide to downloading PDR forms and letters

Tips for the salary review

It's important to understand the process outlined in the PDR guidelines and what it means for the employee before the PDR discussion, including what level of authority you have for salary review decisions.

Discuss the staff member's salary review with them and explain the salary review process. All salary recommendations for merit increases are moderated and finalised at divisional level. Therefore, before confirming any salary increases you must be sure about your decisions and you may need a second discussion to discuss the salary review.  Depending on the authority that has been delegated to you, you could say things like:

  • “As you are in the appointment range and are performing satisfactorily, you will be awarded a salary increase to step x, $xxx”. Make sure that the new step is within the appointment range.”
  • “As you are in the merit range and your overall performance assessment is 'fully competent', you won't be awarded an increase this year”. You should discuss what improvements the employee could make over the next year and examples of how they could demonstrate improvement towards outstanding performance.”
  • “As you are in the merit range and your overall performance assessment is 'outstanding', I will be recommending your salary increases to step x, $xxx. The Divisional Head will be considering all merit increases for the Division and I will let you know of the outcome as soon as I know.”
  • “You are in the appointment range and your overall performance level is 'exceeds expectations'. You will be awarded a standard salary increase to at least step x, $xxx. I am recommending that the Divisional Head considers an accelerated increase for you. The Divisional Head will be considering a number of cases and will be making a decision by xxx date. I'll let you know the outcome as soon as I know and you'll get a letter confirming the outcome.”

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