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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures outline the steps involved in the annual performance appraisal for professional and TESOL language teaching staff, which forms part of the ongoing Recognition and Development process.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Enterprise Agreement - The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 – 2017

Head – the head of organisational unit.

Senior manager – the relevant senior manager for the organisational unit, including the Executive Dean or Institute Director, Provost, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer.

R&D – Recognition and Development, which includes both day-to-day performance conversations between staff and their supervisor, and the annual performance appraisal.

Reporting period – the calendar year.

Representative - another member of staff, a Union representative and/or, at the choice of the staff member(s) involved, a nominee of a party to the Enterprise Agreement provided that the representative is not a currently practising solicitor or barrister.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all full-time and part-time professional and TESOL staff with a continuing, continuing (contingent-funded) or fixed-term appointment greater than one year, who must participate each year in the formal performance appraisal processes with their supervisor or Head of organisational unit. This includes staff who are already at the top of their relevant salary scales.

These procedures do not apply to casual staff.

The staff appraisal process is quite separate to the diminished performance and unsatisfactory performance processes (see PPL 5.70.03 Diminished Performance and Unsatisfactory Performance).

4. Procedures Statement

All staff can expect regular discussions with their supervisor about their work and performance throughout the year, together with an annual performance appraisal, in order to clarify their work goals and priorities, exchange feedback, receive support and plan development activities.

Supervisors and staff have a number of mutual obligations to fulfil in recognition and development including:

  • setting performance goals and expectations
  • day-to-day performance conversations
  • preparing for performance appraisal
  • the performance appraisal meeting.

5. Performance Management Processes

The foundations for high staff performance can be formed in the recruitment and selection phase by selecting the right candidate and providing realistic job expectations, see PPL 5.30.01 Recruitment and Selection.

The induction and probation periods then allow the staff member to better understand the expectations of the position and their performance within the role, see PPL 5.70.02 Probation for Professional Staff.

Following probation, the Recognition and Development (R&D) process supports the staff member’s continued performance, development needs and job satisfaction (see Section 6).

Occasionally, a staff member’s performance may be below the expectations relevant to the position, in which case it may be necessary to provide performance guidance to the staff member and follow other procedural steps (as necessary) in accordance with PPL 5.70.03 Diminished Performance and Unsatisfactory Performance.

6. Recognition and Development Process

The R&D process comprises both day-to-day performance conversations between staff and their supervisor, and the annual performance appraisal.

6.1 Day-to-day conversations

Day-to-day conversations offer staff and their supervisors a chance to discuss the staff member’s progress, exchange timely feedback, identify ways to overcome any barriers, and clarify the priorities for the days or weeks ahead.

Supervisors must

  • schedule adequate time to meet with their staff on a regular basis, for example, in a fortnightly meeting of half an hour
  • provide regular, specific, and timely feedback to the staff member about what they are doing well and any opportunities for improvement 
  • consider mutually appropriate times and places to provide performance feedback 
  • support staff to undertake development activities agreed in the performance appraisal.

6.2 Performance appraisal

The annual performance appraisal is a structured discussion about job duties and goals, recognition of performance and professional development for the staff member, guided by the completion of the R&D Plan for professional staff.

7. Responsibilities of Roles Involved in Appraisal

7.1 The staff member

Staff take a proactive role in day-to-day recognition and development and the annual performance appraisal. They should access and read the Recognition and Development: Booklet for Staff, which includes suggestions of ways they can get the most benefit from the process.

7.2 The supervisor

The recognition and development of their staff is a key part of any supervisor’s role. Further detail of their responsibilities are provided in Sections 8 to 14 of these procedures, and in the Recognition and Development: Booklet for Supervisors and Heads of Organisational Units.

Before conducting the annual performance appraisals, all supervisors must become familiar with the Recognition and Development: Booklet for Supervisors and Heads of Organisational Units and complete the relevant mandatory course/s for supervisors in the Staff Development Program. For supervisors at HEW levels 7 and below, mandatory training includes Managing Performance and Recognition and Development, and for HEW levels 8 and above Staff Management Issues For Professional Staff Senior Managers

7.3 The supervisor’s supervisor

In some cases, the supervisor may choose to discuss their staff members’ goals and performance with their own supervisor, for example, in a School where the supervisor reports to the School Manager. However, the supervisor’s supervisor is not usually present during the performance appraisal discussion, and does not have access to the Recognition and Development plan unless they are the Head or the staff member agrees (see section 14.3 Confidentiality).

7.4 The Head of organisational unit

If the nominated supervisor is not the Head of the organisational unit, then the Head reviews the completed R&D Plan and approves recommendations for increment and training and development. The Head ensures that the recommendation is well substantiated and endorses, as appropriate, recommendations for double increment or outstanding performance loading before these are submitted to their relevant Senior Manager (see Section 2) for approval.

The Head ensures performance appraisals across the organisational unit are carried out consistently and fairly, and gives help and advice to supervisors and staff. 

7.5 The senior manager

The senior manager decides whether recommendations for outstanding performance and the resulting double-increment or outstanding performance loading will be approved, before the supervisor discusses this with the staff member. 

The senior manager is responsible for investigating and resolving any concerns that a staff member has about their appraisal if they have not been resolved at a lower level (e.g. by the supervisor or Head). 

7.6 Human Resources

The Faculty, Institute or Central Human Resources representative, or Employee Relations in central HR, provides guidance on the policy and process and any issues raised by the staff member.

Human Resources representatives receive the Record of Assessment and Recommendation for Increment page of the R&D plan and enter the outcome of the appraisal in the appropriate database.

In the first week of March each year Human Resources representatives will provide a report to Heads of organisation units listing professional staff members whose performance appraisals have not yet been completed.  An email notification may also be sent to the employee’s supervisor.

7.7 Staff member’s representative

A staff member may seek information and assistance about performance appraisals from another person whom they may identify as their representative (see Section 2) in any discussions about the performance appraisal process. 

8. Preparation for the Annual Appraisal Meeting

8.1 Supervisor’s preparation

In preparation for the annual performance appraisal meeting, supervisors must:

  • use the Recognition and Development: Booklet for Supervisors and Heads of Organisational Units
  • choose a date for the performance appraisal meeting that allows enough time to complete the whole process before the end of December and give the staff member sufficient notice
  • ensure the staff member knows where to find a copy of the R&D Plan, the R&D booklet for staff members, their position description and a copy of their previous R&D Plan if relevant
  • allocate the staff member time during work hours to adequately prepare for the performance appraisal meeting
  • review the staff member’s position description and highlight any duties that may have been removed, revised, or added; and draft new sections to bring the statement up to date (see Section 9.2.1)
  • consider their responses to each of the sections in the R&D Plan and prepare to provide the staff member with balanced (positive and constructive) feedback
  • ensure the Human Resources representative receives the completed Record of Assessment and Recommendation for Increment by the end of the first week in February each year.

8.2 Staff member’s preparation

In preparation for the annual performance appraisal meeting, the staff member must:

  • obtain a copy of the Recognition and Development Booklet for Staff Members
  • review their position description and highlight any duties that may have been removed, revised, or added; and draft new sections to bring the statement up to date
  • begin to fill in the R&D Plan in draft and send it to their supervisor well in advance of their meeting
  • prepare their thoughts for the meeting, giving consideration to the following:
    • achievements and progress towards agreed goals during the reporting period
    • what they would like to achieve in the next reporting period
    • new challenges they would like to take on
    • their skills, professional development needs and career plan
    • their work-life balance, use of flexible working options and leave plans
    • other support they would like to request.

9. Annual Appraisal Meeting

The appraisal meeting is guided by the completion of the R&D Plan.              

9.1 Review performance

Feedback provided in the performance appraisal should be a summary and reiteration of feedback provided throughout the year. It should never be a time of surprises where the staff member receives negative or positive feedback for the first time.

When reviewing performance, it is good practice for the supervisor to:

  • ask the staff member for their perspective and where they agree and disagree with the supervisor’s views
  • focus on fact and job performance - unless attitude or behaviour affects performance, it is not an issue
  • consider any changes to duties or other factors affecting performance (e.g., staff members cannot be rated as not meeting the expectations of the position if they were on approved leave, equipment was broken, or training was not available)
  • ask the staff member for feedback on how the supervisor could better support them to achieve their work goals
  • if they are differences of opinion about performance, try to reconcile viewpoints with the staff member and  note any remaining differences on the plan as comments
  • be sensitive to the potential impact of difficult feedback and consider the most effective way to approach it.
  • remember the goal of the conversation is for the staff member to know what is expected of them and what help and support they will get from their supervisor.

9.2 Plan goals and development

The following topics of discussion are usually included in the performance appraisal meeting.

9.2.1 Review the position description

Review the staff member’s position description to ensure it is still an accurate reflection of the duties of the position, which often evolve over time in response to external and internal pressures.

The HEW level of a position is not changed through the performance appraisal process, but instead through the classification process, which focuses on the work value of the position, not on the personal performance of the staff member. If it is determined during a performance appraisal that the staff member’s duties have substantially changed and may not be classified at the appropriate HEW level, a request for reclassification of duties may be submitted; see PPL 5.40.03 Evaluation and Classification of Positions.

9.2.2 Set goals

Before setting goals, the supervisor and staff member must consider the priorities of the team and the University (refer to the relevant operational and strategic plans) to make sure that their work is aligned with these priorities. Goals must be written in a form that ensures they provide a specific and achievable measure of success to the staff member.

9.2.3 Clarify expectations

Supervisors must familiarise themselves and their staff with the Code of Conduct (PPL 1.50.1), which describes the ethical obligations of all UQ staff. It provides supervisors with the language to clarify the way they expect their staff to go about their work. Supervisors must also clarify or negotiate with staff any other expectations they have (e.g. start and finish times, process for making leave arrangements, preferences for communication between the staff member and supervisor, etc.).

9.2.4 Mandatory performance requirements for all positions that supervise professional staff

Managers and supervisors have obligations contained in legislation, the University’s Enterprise Agreement and University policy and procedures regarding occupational health and safety, performance appraisal, workplace ethics and workload management.  Attendance at the appropriate training course and fulfillment of the specified performance requirements are compulsory for all staff who supervise others, and these are detailed on the R&D Plan.

9.2.5 Plan development activities

See PPL 5.80.01 Staff Development.

10. Record of Assessment of Performance

As a result of the appraisal meeting and discussions with the staff member, the supervisor determines the overall rating of the staff member’s performance based on work accomplished in the last 12 month rating period (1 January to 31 December).  Considering the results achieved and any factors influencing performance, the supervisor uses the following rating scale to give an overall rating:


This rating is given to a staff member who has gone above and beyond expectations of performance in the role (the staff member has performed exceptionally well in one area, or managed difficulties beyond the day-to-day work).  Performance meets more than the expected standards and goals set.


This rating applies to most staff because they are consistently doing their job well, as indicated in their position description.  Performance meets the expected standards and goals set.

Requires Improvement

This rating applies to a staff member whose performance is not meeting the expectations relevant to the position and/or goals set.  The supervisor must identify the steps to be taken to improve performance.

Unsatisfactory Performance

The rating applies to a staff member who is not fulfilling the requirements of the position description. This rating must only be given if performance guidance and counseling has been conducted in accordance with PPL 5.70.03 Diminished Performance and Unsatisfactory Performance and the staff member’s performance has been assessed as unsatisfactory.


This rating is for a staff member who is an exemplar in the University.  An Outstanding rating is rare.  All four of the following criteria must be met:

  1. there is evidence of sustained exceptional performance over the whole year, not just in relation to one or two instances
  2. the outcomes achieved are truly exceptional (i.e. an undoubted major contribution to the work of the organisation unit, or innovative solutions to University problems/work practices/services etc.)
  3. the evidence of the exceptional performance is apparent beyond the staff member’s immediate work area
  4. it is approved by the relevant Senior Manager.

To avoid any potentially embarrassing repercussions, if the supervisor anticipates they might recommend ‘outstanding performance’ as the result of an impending appraisal, they must talk with the relevant senior manager before the appraisal meeting, giving the reasons for their recommendation and seeking the senior manager’s approval on the staff member’s performance.

11. Incremental Progression

The rating given in a performance appraisal can determine whether a staff member moves to a higher  increment within a pay scale.

Outstanding - results in one of the following:

  • Where the staff member received a single increment increase during the reporting period, a further increment will be applied and backdated to the date of last increment (e.g., Step 2 moves to step 3, step 3 moves to step 4, step 4 moves to Outstanding Performance Loading).
  • Where the staff member commenced in their current role during the reporting period, and has not had an increment increase in current role, a double increment will be applied at their next anniversary date (e.g., Step 1 moves to step 3, step 2 moves to step 4, step 3 and 4 move to Outstanding Performance Loading.)
  • Where the staff member has a current Outstanding Performance Loading, no additional payment is applied.

Commendable, Successful or Requires improvement - results in an increment (unless the staff member is already at or above the top of the scale).

Unsatisfactory Performance - a record of the steps taken to address diminished performance (performance guidance and performance counseling) is required and the increment is withheld. (see PPL 5.70.03 Diminished Performance and Unsatisfactory Performance).

Performance Appraisals must be conducted and increments granted (where warranted) regardless of budgetary constraints.

The supervisor must forward a photocopy of the Record of Assessment and Recommendation for Increment page of the R&D Plan, with original signatures, to the relevant Human Resources representative by the end of the first week in February so that the assessment and recommendation can be recorded. 

12. Due Dates

Appraisals must be conducted annually during the last two months of the calendar year, and consider the work performed during the calendar year (for all staff who started working at UQ before 1 August that year). The Record of Assessment and Recommendation for Increment page must be received by the Human Resources representative by the end of the first week in February.

If the staff member started working for the University on or after 1 August, the supervisor meets with the staff member to explain their position and performance expectations within the first month of employment and reviews their performance during their probation (see 5.70.02 Probation for Professional Staff).  Their first performance appraisal will be conducted by 31 December the following year. 

If the staff member will be on leave when the appraisals are conducted, their appraisal is usually conducted before the staff member departs.

The date the appraisal was conducted is entered into the Human Resources system and this data is provided to Heads of organisational units to monitor the completion of performance appraisals in their areas. 

Interim reviews may be conducted anytime.  For example, staff can ask for feedback when they come to the end of a significant project, or before they take a period of extended leave.  A supervisor who is leaving the work area should conduct annual or interim reviews of all eligible staff before departing.

13. Level 10 Staff

Level 10 staff are always appraised using the R&D Plan until they reach the grade rate of the salary structure for their particular level. When the Level 10 staff member has been at the grade rate for two years or more, the staff member has the option of submitting either the R&D Plan or the Outstanding Performance form to their supervisor.

13.1 Outstanding performance form 

The Outstanding Performance form has 3 major criteria - leadership, policy and planning, and administration and management.  All criteria and sub-criteria must be specifically addressed. When the staff member submits the Outstanding Performance form, there is no requirement to also submit the R&D Plan. However, the supervisor must ensure that the goals for the Level 10 staff member in the coming period are documented and the R&D Plan can be a useful guide for a conversation between the staff member and supervisor. 

The supervisor provides an assessment and a recommendation for a salary at any point on the continuum between the grade rate and the maximum.  The supervisor’s manager will have the prerogative of accepting/rejecting the recommendation. Any approved change to salary takes effect from 1 January in the year following the appraisal.

13.2 Changes to salaries for Level 10

Salaries for Level 10 staff are affected in two ways - by the performance of the individual and by the labour market. An annual market review is undertaken by an external agency and following this the University advises in December of any Level 10 salary changes, effective from 1 January the following year. Any salary recommendation by the supervisor should be made following the receipt of formal advice of any changes to Level 10 salaries, such that any change in the underlying salary range is taken into account in the recommendation on salary level.

14. Record keeping

14.1 Day-to-day records

Supervisors should bear in mind when making notes about a staff member’s performance that it is possible for a person to make a formal application under the Right to Information Act 2009 and the Information Privacy Act 2009 for access to University documents.

14.2 Retaining the R&D Plan

The completed R&D Plan and any supporting documentation (including email correspondence) must be retained by the University for seven years because they are records that are subject to the Public Records Act 2002.  The records should subsequently be destroyed (by shredding or placement in a confidential destruct bin).

The Record of Assessment and Recommendation for Increment page is retained in the staff member’s University Staff File. The staff member and supervisor can also keep a copy of the whole R&D Plan electronically to refer to in next year’s discussion.

14.3 Confidentiality

The completed R&D Plan may be seen by the appraising supervisor, the Head, and the local Human Resources Consultant. It is otherwise confidential and may be seen by other staff only with the permission of the staff member.  When the supervisor is replaced by another supervisor, the new supervisor may view the document.  Only in circumstances relating to formal University processes would the document be made available to the Director, Human Resources, or nominee.

15. Redress

If a staff member is dissatisfied with the outcome of an appraisal, the concern should first be raised with their supervisor, and then with the next senior line manager. This manager will attempt to resolve the matter through a discussion with the staff member and supervisor concerned, referring it to the Head or Senior Manager as required.  Human Resources staff and, if the staff member chooses, a representative as defined in Section 2, are also available for advice.

Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury