Staff Review and Development Scheme FAQ's
These pages aim to answer many of the frequently asked questions received by the Department of HR.
- How does the SRDS discussion link to the University’s reward mechanisms?
- Does the scheme apply to all staff?
- What is the role of the Departmental Review Panel (DRP)?
- Who sits on the Departmental Review Panel (DRP)?
- When should SRDS meetings be held during?
- What is the period of time being reviewed?
- Do I have to have an SRDS meeting?
- Do I have a choice of reviewer?
- Who will see my SRDS form?
- What if my training and development needs cannot be met?
- How many objectives should I have?
- Who decides what my objectives should be?
- How do I know what my departmental priorities and objectives are?
- Do I need to have a mid-year review?
- Can poor performance be discussed in an SRDS review?
- If I am unhappy with my SRDS can I request a different reviewer and have a further SRDS meeting?
- What if the reviewee is new to the organisation?
- What if the reviewee is on probation?
- What if I don't have an About the Job document?
- What if the reviewee is a Graduate Teaching Assistant?
- What if the reviewee has not been at work due to a long term absence (e.g. maternity/adoption, sickness absence, study leave and sabbaticals)?
- What if the reviewee has been on secondment/had several roles within the review period?
- What if the reviewee has changed jobs/roles within the review period?
- What if the reviewee is a Professor?
- What if the reviewee is leaving the organisation (e.g. through retirement or a new job)?
- What if the reviewee is on a fixed term contract?
- What if the reviewee is a Head of Department?
- What if my reviewer will be absent whilst SRDS reviews are being carried out in my department?
How does the SRDS discussion link to the University’s reward mechanisms?
There is no direct link between SRDS and reward but as a significant part of the conversation focuses on your performance and contribution the feedback you receive should inform and be consistent with any decisions made regarding reward and recognition.
There are a number of mechanisms available to managers for rewarding staff which include recognition awards, reward for contribution through the receipt of accelerated incremental pay and promotion.
You can find out more about the options available and the processes here.
Does the scheme apply to all staff?
What is the role of the Departmental Review Panel (DRP)?
The role of the Departmental Review Panel (DRP) is to oversee the SRDS process within the department and ensure that it is implemented appropriately. For further information on the role of the DRP please see here.
Who sits on the Departmental Review Panel (DRP)?
The Departmental Review Panel (DRP) will be chaired by the Head of Department and will consist of senior members of staff and a HR representative. For further information on role of the DRP please see here.
When should SRDS meetings be held?
The exact timetable for SRDS will be determined at departmental level. The process should be completed by the end of August and it is expected that most meetings will take place in the period May – July each year. All SRDS meetings and paperwork should be completed in time for the DRP meeting; this timescale should be communicated to you within your department.
What is the period of time being reviewed?
In normal circumstances the period under review is the 12 months since the previous review meeting. This would normally cover the academic year. If a member of staff has only been in post for a short time or has been absent for a significant part of the year (e.g. on study leave, maternity leave) the SRDS process should be used flexibly to allow for those circumstances. See further FAQs for more details.
Do I have to have an SRDS meeting?
Yes, it is a requirement for every member of staff to have an annual SRDS meeting. This process is seen as an important part of the University´s support for all staff and this type of discussion is considered good practice for any member of staff at any stage of their career. Staff are encouraged to see this as an opportunity to formally discuss, at least once a year, a number of issues related to their contribution to the department and the University. Heads of Department will be required to confirm each year that all staff have had an SRDS meeting.
Do I have a choice of reviewer?
Your reviewer should normally be your manager. The Head of Department should consider reasonable requests for an alternative reviewer but the pairing must be appropriate to achieve the required outcomes of an SRDS meeting.
Who will see my SRDS form?
Your form will be seen by you, your Reviewer, your Head of Department and sections may be considered by the Departmental Review Panel (DRP); for example, your development needs will be considered by the DRP.
What if my training and development needs cannot be met?
It is important that there is a clearly identified need for, and benefit from, any proposed training/development activity; a link should be made between that and the achievement of your objectives or the requirements of your job. If any training/development need identified and discussed at your SRDS meeting will not/cannot be supported you should receive feedback on this within two months of your meeting. You should be told why the training/development will not/cannot be provided and, if appropriate, be offered other ways of meeting that need.
How many objectives should I have?
The number of objectives agreed via SRDS will vary according to the member of staff and their circumstances. Around 3 - 6 would be reasonable in most cases. Agreed objectives should relate to the overall departmental/team, faculty and in some cases University priorities; they will reflect the tasks and responsibilities set out in the reviewee´s About the Job document by highlighting specific projects or pieces of work to be done in the coming year.
Who decides what my objectives should be?
Each member of staff is expected to give some consideration to his/her own objectives as part of the self-review process. These will then be discussed at the meeting, along with any others suggested by the reviewer, with a view to reaching agreement in light of individual and departmental needs.
How do I know what my department priorities and objectives are?
The Head of Department is responsible for ensuring all staff are informed about the departmental priorities and objectives; how this information is shared will depend on the size and structure of the department. In the first instance you should ask your manager/reviewer before you prepare your self-review.
Do I need to have a mid-year review?
It is strongly recommended that all staff have a mid-year review. This meeting will give reviewers and reviewees an opportunity to discuss progress against the agreed objectives, as well to consider whether the agreed objectives are still appropriate. This is not a requirement of the process, and there is no formal paperwork, but if changes are made to an individual´s objectives these should be reflected in the original SRDS paperwork and signed against.
If I am unhappy with my SRDS can I request a different reviewer and have a further SRDS meeting?
You SRDS reviewer is usually your manager. The SRDS should be a constructive meeting with the appropriate levels of preparation, feedback and discussion in order for you to receive feedback on how you are performing against your objectives and against the expectations of your role, and how you are contributing to departmental and university objectives. If you have concerns about your SRDS reviewer you should raise this as soon as possible with an appropriate manager. You can also contact your faculty HR team for an informal discussion in the first instance.
Can poor performance be discussed in an SRDS review?
Yes. It is important that SRDS is honest and reflects both the reviewer's and the reviewee's perspectives; however, SRDS should not be the first time that the reviewee finds out their performance is not at the required standard. A key part of SRDS is supporting staff to develop their performance, so the discussion should be focused around identifying key areas for improvement, and ways to support this improvement through objective setting and development activity.
What if the reviewee is new to the organisation?
It is expected that when an individual starts with the organisation a planned induction is in place which includes the setting and reviewing of objectives as well as regular opportunity for the individual to receive feedback on what they've done and how they've done it. In essence the SRDS meeting would follow this process through. If the individual has been employed for more than six months at the time of the SRDS process within your department then you may wish to have a full SRDS meeting. If the individual has been employed by the department for less than six months, then you may chose to focus on setting and/ or reviewing any objectives as well as identifying development needs and providing the reviewee with feedback on what they've done. In both cases, the member of staff can be recorded as having had an SRDS meeting in the SRDS data collection exercise.
For academic staff please refer to the question on probation below for further details.
What if the reviewee is on probation?
The academic probationary review process addresses broadly the same issues as the SRDS meeting so it is not necessary for probationary staff to participate in SRDS. However, it may be useful to use the SRDS process to support or supplement the probationary review so this should be considered by the manager and reviewee. If a formal probation meeting has been held, the member of staff can be recorded as having had an SRDS meeting in the SRDS data collection exercise. It may be useful in the last probation review meeting to set objectives for the next year, in order that they can be reviewed in their first SRDS review.
What if I don't have an About the Job document?
All new staff will receive their About the Job during the recruitment process, and all existing staff should already have a copy of it. If not, your line manager should be able to provide you with a copy.
What if the reviewee is a Graduate Teaching Assistant?
There is a specific process for Graduate Teaching Assistants, which can be found here.
What if the reviewee has not been at work due to a long term absence (e.g. maternity/adoption, sickness absence, study leave and sabbaticals)?
As reviewer there are two things that need to be taken into consideration:
- The length of time the individual has been absent
- The time of year of their absence
The length of time the individual has been absent:
Regardless of the length of time the individual has been absent from work they should still receive feedback on their contribution, be set objectives and have any development needs identified.
The time of year of their absence
If the reviewee is at work when SRDS reviews are being held in the department, look back over the previous year and give feedback on all work done that year.
If the reviewee is not at work when SRDS reviews are being held in the department, an interim review should be carried out on their return; feedback on previous work should be given where appropriate. Objectives should be set for the future and any development needs identified and indicated on the SRDS form.
What if the reviewee has been on secondment/had several roles within the review period?
The manager (reviewer) of the substantive role is responsible for collating information for the SRDS meetings. Therefore, if the reviewee has worked for another manager to any significant level in the last year, both reviewer and reviewee should ensure they seek feedback from that person to feed into the SRDS conversation (including suggesting some relevant objectives, if the arrangement is still on going).
What if the reviewee has changed jobs/roles within the review period?
Where possible the reviewer should talk to the reviewee´s previous manager in order to identify additional feedback which should focus on outputs and specific examples. The rest of the content of the review meeting should focus on the current job/role.
What if the reviewee is a Professor?
Professors (and those on professorial equivalent grades) should normally have an SRDS meeting with their Head of Department or line manager. In academic departments with a large number of professors, the role of reviewer may be delegated to another senior professor. Time should be allowed in the professor´s review meeting to discuss whether the reviewer would support the reviewee in making a submission for a salary increase or contribution bonus, and the key achievements to highlight in the submission.
What if the reviewee is leaving the organisation (e.g. through retirement or a new job)?
If the reviewee is still employed by the University then regardless of when the reviewee is leaving (due to retirement, a new job etc.) an SRDS meeting should be conducted. The meeting should focus on discussing the past year, providing feedback to the reviewee on what they´ve done and setting objectives for the time during which the individual will still be with the organisation. Where relevant it may be useful to use this meeting to discuss the individual´s reasons for leaving the organisation, and identify any ideas about how the role might change/progress. Managers may need to use their discretion in particular individual circumstances. Unless the reviewee has firmly stated that they shall be leaving to take retirement, managers should be careful not to make assumptions based upon an individual´s age.
What if the reviewee is on a fixed term contract?
If the reviewee is a University employee, then he/she should have an SRDS meeting regardless of whether his/her contract is for a fixed term or open ended. The Concordat on the career management of contract research staff – a large proportion of the University´s fixed term staff – strongly supports this view. Staff on fixed term contracts are often in the early stages of their careers, when feedback on contribution, discussion on career aspirations and future objective setting are particularly valuable.
What if the reviewee is a Head of Department?
If the reviewee is a Head of Department, he/she should be reviewed by the relevant Faculty VP. The discussion should include that outlined above for Professors.
What if my reviewer will be absent whilst SRDS reviews are being carried out in my department?
All staff are entitled to an SRDS review, and if your reviewer is absent at the time that SRDS reviews are carried out in your department, you should speak to your department's SRDS coordinator.