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Key dates

The Performance and Development Review (PDR) is an annual process for all eligible professional employees. It includes a formalised review period in the second-half of the year, and regular progress updates throughout the year.

The regular progress updates are an opportunity for you to meet with your manager and set expectations, ensure that your goals and objectives are on track, receive feedback, and address any concerns.

August, September, October Review period
31 October Copy of completed PDR forms given to staff
15 November Divisional approvals completed
1 December Salary outcome letters given to staff
Upcoming review period Regular progress updates

If you’re a new employee, you should be reviewed towards the end of October (if possible). This is so you have enough time to demonstrate competencies in your role.

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How to prepare

Preparation is key to an effective PDR discussion.

Download the 2020 PDR Guidelines for more detail (24 pages, Word) – this document covers the same material as these PDR webpages, but goes into much more detail.

PDR information sessions are held in the lead-up to the review period. You might also find it helpful to consider:

Specific examples from the past year are essential to your overall assessment.

Reflect on your overall performance

  1. How well have you completed the expected outcomes of your role? Consider progress, achievements, learning and development undertaken, positive changes, and things that have gone particularly well.
  2. What have the challenges been? Were there any tasks or outcomes which you could not complete? If so, what were the barriers to completing them?
  3. Reflect on your key work and stakeholder relationships. Depending on the relationship, consider factors like customer service, collegiality, effectiveness, trust, constructive, confidence. If asked, what feedback would they provide?
  4. If you’re a manager, reflect on your leadership and people management skills. If asked, what feedback would your direct reports provide?
  5. Compare your answers with the PDR competencies (PDF) or PDR competencies for Clinical Research Nurses (PDF). How are your specific examples aligned? Where would you place yourself?

Consider future planning and development

  1. Which goals, objectives, and expected outcomes are you keen to work towards? Alignment with division / department and team priorities and University strategies is encouraged.
  2. Are there skills you would like to develop, to enhance competence in your current role?
  3. Refer to the values and behaviours framework (PDF). Which of the University of Otago values – respect, integrity, curiosity, or community – are going to be the focus for you?
  4. What are your short- and longer-term career goals? Where do you see opportunities for career growth?
  5. What learning and development opportunities would support you to achieve your goals, objectives and expected outcomes? Refer to the learning and development programme, professional development toolkit, and resources related to the Ngā taonga tuku iho / language and culture competency for more information and to access courses.

Each department / team will normally have a budget allocated to learning and development opportunities that cannot be met through what is provided in-house (which you’re encouraged to use in the first instance). Normally, the process would be for you to present a short case for funding to your manager, which would then be assessed on merit in line with PDR objectives.

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What to expect

Sometime during August, September, or October, you’ll meet with your manager (‘reviewer’) for a formal review.

You’re welcome to bring a support person with you. They might be whānau, a colleague, or a union representative. (In fact, if you feel a support person would benefit your PDR, we encourage you to invite them.) Please let your manager know, and clarify your support person’s role, before the meeting.

  • If you’ve changed manager in the past year, your previous manager should update your current manager on your overall performance and progress towards your goals. Your current manager will consider this information to make an overall assessment of your performance for the year, and to set goals for the year ahead.
  • If you’re in the Shared Services Division and your reporting manager is based elsewhere, your reporting manager will manage your PDR. They will get feedback from the area(s) you support.
  • If you’re on secondment, your manager and your secondment manager should liaise with each other to determine how the PDR process will be managed, and who will have responsiblity for completing the PDR.
  • If you work in two or more roles, you will have separate PDRs for each role.
  • If you’re on parental leave, the timing and process for the formal review may be different. Please refer to the PDR and parental leave guidelines (Word).

What will happen during the meeting

You and your manager will:

1. Reflect on your performance over the past year

This may include referencing:

2. Discuss future plans, goals, and development opportunities

This may include:

  • Goals, objectives, and outcomes you want to work towards, over the next year
  • Aligning your goals with division / department / team priorities and University strategies
  • Identifying skills you would like to develop, to enhance competence in your current role
  • Identifying which of the University’s shared values (respect, integrity, curiosity, community) you’d like to focus on
  • Talking about your short and longer-term career goals, and opportunities for career growth
  • Exploring learning and develpoment opportunities

Communicating effectively during your PDR discussion

The PDR process is an opportunity to have quality discussions with your manager. However, the nature of the discussion means that it can sometimes seem personal.

Feedback allows us to strengthen our strengths and work on our weaknesses. We all have things we do well, but we may also have things we could do better. Generally, everyone wants to do well at work and have a sense of a job well done. This is what the PDR process is in place to support, so it’s important to consider the feedback as it is intended – an opportunity for you to develop your skills.

Receiving feedback positively

Park your ego – Feedback that you are receiving is about workplace behaviour, not you as a human being. If you do receive a comment that you take personally, stop for a moment, try to separate yourself from the comment and focus on the solution.

Don’t dwell – Don’t spend time dwelling on excuses, justifications or shifting of blame. It is important to understand why something happened, but only in so far as it allows you to prevent it happening in the future. Stay positive and focus on the solution.

Communicate constructively and assertively – Choose your words carefully and try to avoid being overly defensive. Be aware of your own natural communication tendencies. Assertive communication will allow you to express ideas, both positive and negative, in a way that is respectful, honest and direct without judgement. Assertive communication takes practice, and the more that you focus on communicating this way, the more effective you will become.

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What’s next?

After the meeting, your manager will determine an overall assessment of your performance, using the competency tables.

Learn more about PDR assessment and outcomes

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