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Performance Development and Reward Scheme

Effective staff performance and development is key to Aston’s ability to deliver to its 2020 Strategy. The Performance Development and Reward Scheme is designed to support, retain and develop existing staff and attract new staff to Aston. The purpose of this guide is to set out information about the means by which performance and contribution is encouraged, assessed, reviewed and recognised. The document also covers the criteria used for the assessment of accelerated and contribution increments and one-off performance payments for all staff on Grades 1 to 10.

Guidelines, documents and training to support Performance Development Review

In summary, the timetable for implementation of the Performance Development and Reward Scheme this year is:

  • All performance Development Review meetings to be concluded by 31 July 2014.

  • Contribution Pay considerations will be made during August-September 2014.

  • Contribution Pay for Consistent Exceptional Performance will be made with October 2014 salary payments.


 

INTRODUCTION

Effective staff performance and development is key to Aston’s ability to deliver to its 2020 Strategy. The Performance Development and Reward Scheme is designed to support, retain and develop existing staff and attract new staff to Aston. The purpose of this guide is to set out information about the means by which performance and contribution is encouraged, assessed, reviewed and recognised. The guide also covers the criteria used for the assessment of accelerated and contribution increments and one-off performance payments for all staff on Grades 1 to 10.

The Performance Development Review element of the scheme ensures that each member of staff has at least one structured meeting with his or her line manager or an appropriate individual nominated by the Executive Dean/Head of Department, during the year. This meeting should be considered as the documented stage of an on-going process, and other informal meetings may be arranged in order to provide a more frequent review of progress, in accordance with specific School/Departmental requirements.

PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT REVIEW

Performance Development Review meetings are an opportunity to discuss an individual’s performance, to chart progress, to identify achievements, to consider the individual’s contribution. The process should also identify barriers to more effective performance, and identify training and development needs.

Line managers are encouraged to ensure that staff receive regular and continuing feedback about their performance throughout the review period. This should include ensuring that staff have their contribution recognised and achievements acknowledged. This activity will culminate in the Performance Development Review meeting.

The Performance Development Review should promote effective two-way communication between staff at all levels positively impacting on morale and motivation.

It is recommended that the formal annual review meeting should be undertaken in two parts (which may take place at the same meeting) but Schools and Departments may develop their own processes provided that they broadly take account of the guidelines set out below.

Stage One – Role and Performance

This part of the meeting will include a discussion about progress and achievement in the work that has been undertaken over the review period. The reviewer and reviewee will discuss performance and one of the following performance ratings will be recorded:

  • Exceeds expectations: All in this category will have demonstrated a positive contribution to the University and their overall performance will have markedly exceeded expectations and their objectives.

  • Meets expectations: This applies to an individual who has met their objectives and has made a positive contribution to their team or department that adds value to the University.

  • Fails to meet expectation: This applies to a member of staff whose performance is being managed under one of the formal procedures set out in the University’s Performance Management Procedure.

Examples of performance indicators for Meets Expectations and Exceeds Expectations are set out in Appendix 1.

This meeting is also an opportunity for discussion about the role requirements in general and the factors that have assisted and/or hindered the individual in terms of meeting their objectives.

Stage Two – Role and Development

The purpose of stage two is to determine the objectives for the following review period. The discussion between the line manager and the member of staff should:

  • identify the aims and objectives for the forthcoming review period together with the resources needed to achieve them;

  • identify areas of development which will enable an individual to enhance their contribution to the University. (It may be appropriate for participants to consider drawing up an action plan and/or seek guidance from the Human Resources, Staff & Graduate Development team);

  • reflect on how the individual’s abilities are being used;

  • identify areas which will enable an individual to enhance their contribution to the University.

The review report and objectives will be confirmed and signed by the reviewer’s manager. This is a key part of ensuring fairness, consistency and transparency and is also an opportunity to highlight the achievements of more junior staff to senior managers in the University.

For individuals the benefits of the reviews are:

  • to provide an opportunity for staff members to celebrate success and achievement and to identify and discuss any problems and difficulties in a supportive context

  • to help staff to understand how their work contributes to School/Departmental and institutional objectives

  • to provide individuals with an opportunity to identify training needs, and to discuss career planning.

The University will benefit from the scheme because:

  • it will provide an opportunity for sectional, departmental and institutional objectives, and the roles that individuals play in these, to be communicated to staff;

  • it will contribute to School/Departmental planning, allowing opportunities for work allocation and provide a tool for training needs analysis;

  • it will support the achievement of the University’s aims and priorities by ensuring that these are disseminated throughout the organisation;

  • the upward flow of information generated through the Performance Development Review process will help to provide, among other things, a planned and focused approach to staff training and development, ensuring that staff receive the support they need.

Where appropriate Performance Development Review meetings should be arranged in advance for staff who are about to commence maternity or study leave.

Probation

The Performance Development Reviews for newly appointed staff who are subject to probationary procedures should incorporate and take account of all aspects of the processes and procedures set out in this part of the document.

RECOGNISING CONTRIBUTION AND PERFORMANCE

Purpose

The University wishes to recognise exceptional performance. To enable this to be done fairly, performance will be assessed by taking into account the full scope of what people do, the level of skill and competence they apply and the results they achieve. The University aims to attract, retain and motivate the best staff. It is committed to deliver equal pay for work of equal value and therefore has a rigorous job evaluation/role analysis methodology. Basic salary, up to the contribution threshold for each grade, reflects the normal performance expectations for each grade. The Performance Development Review process sets objectives for each member of staff and identifies their development and training requirements.

Overall University Performance

On an annual basis the University will give consideration to making a one-off payment to staff based on their performance. This payment will depend on affordability and be based on achievement measured by reference to the University’s key performance indicators. The level of payment will be determined by the Executive Operations Group (usually in May/June) and it is anticipated that the payment would normally be subject to a maximum and minimum payment (for example if the University decided to pay all staff a 0.5% of salary payment, a minimum of £100 could be paid and a maximum of £500 could be paid (pro rata for part-time staff). In order to qualify, staff must be deemed by their manager to be ’meeting expectations’. Staff will not be entitled to receive this award if, during the review year, a formal warning has been issued under the University’s Disciplinary Procedure or a formal procedure under the Performance Management Procedure has commenced.

Reward for consistent exceptional performance

Contribution-based pay adjustments may be awarded to those who are considered to be performing at an exceptional level on a consistent basis. (Examples of performance indicators for exceptional performance are set out in Appendix 2) Typically a member of staff would have been considered to have performed at an exceptional level for at least two years before additional contribution pay will be awarded. Contribution based pay can take two forms:

  • the award of an accelerated salary increment to reflect an individual’s progression within their job towards the normal salary maximum, at a faster rate than would normally be expected, or

  • salary to be increased to a point within the contribution area of an individual’s pay grade (which sits above the normal salary maximum of the grade).

Contribution-based pay adjustments are normally effective from 1 August following a review year. They will be paid from School/Departmental budgets and should be included within the budgetary process. More than one increment may be paid in very exceptional cases.

A lump sum may be paid to those who have consistently achieved exceptional performance and have reached the maximum position within the contribution area of their pay grade or are on a non-incremental pay grade. Typically the payment would be no less than 3% of salary. The lump sums will be paid in October following the review year.

Moderation

Each School/Department should form a moderation panel to ensure consistency in its approach to determining performance levels and for the recommendations for those who are assessed as exceptional. A University-wide moderation will be undertaken by members of the Executive who i. will ensure consistency of interpretation of the assessment of ‘exceptional’ and ii. consider recommendations for contribution pay for those put forward as ‘consistently exceptional’. The Committee should also monitor the pattern of recommendations in accordance with the University’s normal equality and diversity monitoring guidelines to ensure that the pattern of recommendations and proposed awards is justifiable. The Human Resources team will assist in this and provide guidance.

Human Resources will review the actual distribution of awards across the University retrospectively. An annual report detailing the distribution and amount of awards using the University’s normal monitoring categories in accordance with its equality and diversity policies will be sent to the appropriate committees and to the Joint Unions Committee. This information will be incorporated in the University’s equal pay reviews.

Reviews

A member of staff who disagrees with their performance assessment may ask for their rating to be reviewed if they believe that there has either been a failure of process, the rating is inconsistent with their performance or that it is incompatible with a level given to others within the same School/Department/Business unit.

The review will be conducted by the reviewer’s line manager.

Training

The Human Resources, Staff & Graduate Development team will make available training for all managers who will be involved in the Performance Development Review process. Training should normally be undertaken before a manager can carry out a review. Training arrangements will be publicised and for further information please contact Patrick Buckley ext. 4601.

Mentoring

It is important that members of staff are aware that the University has established a Mentoring facility to offer support in relation to all aspects of their employment at Aston.

Confidentiality

All documentation will be confidential to those who are involved in the review process.

Scheme Review

This revised Performance Development and Reward scheme will be reviewed after the first year of operation in partnership with the Joint Unions and at least every three years thereafter.


 

APPENDIX 1 

MEETS EXPECTATIONS- SAMPLE OF INDICATORS *

 

  • Has met objectives and there are examples where expectations have been exceeded in some aspects of work. 

  • Has overcome significant obstacles to ensure work meets or exceeds required standards.

  • There is evidence of effective research work as identified by feedback from the reviewers and funds.

  • There is strong evidence of effective teaching as identified by module evaluations; reports from programme Associate Deans and student response.

  • Has demonstrated behaviours and approach that allow the role to be achieved effectively e.g. responsiveness to internal or external contacts, proactive response to changing demands of the job.

  • Has provided support to less experienced colleagues.

  • Has sought out opportunities to develop themselves in their job.

  • Has made an effective contribution to departmental projects that are not a normal expectation of the job.

EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS – SAMPLE OF EXAMPLE INDICATORS*

  • Demonstrates a particularly flexible approach which contributes to the achievement of School/Department objectives.

  • Contributes ideas which lead to greater efficiency, improved quality, cost savings etc. and which assist in the achievement of School/Department objectives.

  • Achieves particularly challenging goals or objectives e.g. overcomes significant obstacles to ensure deadlines are met.

  • Excellent and effective research work as identified by feedback from the reviewers and funds and has made a contribution which significantly enhances effectiveness or quality of academic life, or School esteem or image.

  • Excellent and effective teaching as identified by module evaluations; reports from programme Associate Deans and student response; has engaged with quality procedures effectively.

  • Demonstrates behaviours and approach that allow the role to be achieved in a much more effective way e.g. high quality customer service.

  • Takes on additional but time-limited responsibility e.g. one-off project work.

           

*The indicators above are examples and are not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive. They are not set out in order of priority.


 

APPENDIX 2

EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE - SAMPLE OF EXAMPLE INDICATORS *

  • Actively promoting the University by helping to open up new external relationships and contacts that will be beneficial to the University.

  • Providing technical or specialist support, beyond normal job requirements, to external bodies in order to support collaborative working.

  • A significant personal contribution to creating a wider understanding of a subject or issue beyond the University through participating in academic, sector-wide or public debate.

  • “Going the extra mile”: demonstrating a consistent level of excellent customer service that stands out and is noticed by others within or outside the University.

  • Consistently demonstrating an approach to work that “makes things easier for others” by being flexible, co-operative, helpful, and able to adapt and take on new tasks, for example, if other staff leave/are taken ill, if the work changes or there are other difficult circumstances to overcome.

  • Demonstrating outstanding “behind the scenes” support to ensure that events go off smoothly and that attendees/participants are left with a positive impression of the occasion.

  • Utilises own knowledge gained outside of the role to assist others on a specific problem.

  • Providing a level of excellence in teaching that is recognised by an external body, through student or peer assessment or examination results.

  • Providing practical support to academics or students, that is over and above the norm for the role, and that demonstrably enhances the teaching and learning experience.

  • Demonstrating innovation in the development of course materials, or new ways of delivering learning.

  • A lead contribution in bringing together new interdisciplinary groups and academic contributions from these groups in new ways.

  • Dissemination of knowledge through conferences, publications or other outputs that has an especially high impact relative to own area of expertise.

  • Through research activity, developing a new approach or product that is demonstrably suitable for commercial exploitation by the University or through collaboration with partners.   

*The indicators above are examples and are not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive. They are not set out in order of priority. When assessing exceptional performance, consider the grading and work pattern of the individual, and the nature of their role, and what would be exceptional given these constraints.  Work which is a standard expectation for higher graded staff may be considered above and beyond expectations for a lower graded role.