Staff Development - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy sets out the University’s commitment to the development of its staff, the broad range of development activities available, the responsibilities of the parties involved and the funding arrangements for staff development activities.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

No entries for this document.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all University staff.

4. Policy Statement

The University is dedicated to the pursuit of learning, but is itself required to be a "learning organisation", so that it can continually improve the provision of learning opportunities to its students. Staff development is a vital investment from which our staff and the University itself will benefit.

This policy and development activities offered under it are designed to:

  • provide development opportunities essential for staff in induction, upgrading skills required for their current and future positions, attaining required competencies, and in personal development related to job performance;
  • enhance the standard of performance of all staff in their current jobs;
  • maintain and increase job satisfaction;
  • provide support for career advancement, so that the University will retain staff who perform well and staff are prepared for possible future responsibilities in the University;
  • improve and develop the ability of staff to initiate and respond constructively to change,;
  • maintain and improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency; and
  • support the University's principles of equity.

All University staff have the right and responsibility to continuously improve the capabilities required for their current role, and to consider development required for their possible future role at a higher level or in another organisational unit. While staff should proactively develop their capabilities, staff development is a shared responsibility; heads of organisational units and supervisors have key responsibilities in supporting staff to identify their skills and development needs through regular feedback and the performance appraisal process, and to take up development opportunities.

Discussions of the staff member’s career aspirations and creation of a development plan must occur with their supervisor as part of the annual performance appraisal process, in addition to more frequent informal conversations. Career progression cannot be guaranteed for any staff member, and it is noted that not all staff desire to move to a higher level. Some gain greater job satisfaction by seeking continuous improvement in their current role, or by moving at level to another organisational unit. Promotion occurs in accordance with policies under PPL Section 5.80 Career Development, Increments and Staff Recognition and PPL 5.30.01a Recruitment and Selection - Policy.

5. Types of Development Opportunities

The University encourages staff to develop their capability through a broad range of activities, including (but not limited to) the following:

6. Responsibility for Staff Development

6.1 University Staff Development Committee

Responsibility for the development of the Staff Development Policy and a program of formal development activities for the University rests with the University Staff Development Committee, which advises the Vice-Chancellor. The Terms of Reference for the Committee and information on the Staff Development Program that it oversees each year are contained in PPL 5.80.01c Staff Development – Guidelines.

6.2 Heads of organisational units

Heads of organisational units bear the primary responsibility for implementing this staff development policy by ensuring that staff are engaged in the performance appraisal process and are given access to relevant development opportunities.

6.3 Supervisors

Supervisors play a key role in staff development by assisting staff to identify their strengths and development needs, offering regular feedback, and by providing encouragement and the time to participate in development opportunities, and to reflect on, share and apply what they learn as part of their work.

6.4 Staff

The effectiveness of any staff development activity depends on the active and purposeful participation of the individuals involved. Staff have a clear responsibility to identify their strengths and development needs, seek feedback, and develop their skills to enhance performance in their current position and adapt to changes in their work, and to be ready to assume further responsibilities.

7. Equity

Staff development activities must be accessible on an equitable basis, must promote the principles of equity, and must reinforce the aims and objectives of the University's Equity and Diversity Plan. Where appropriate, courses must accommodate any specific needs of employment-disadvantaged groups. Courses must build understanding of equity issues relevant to the topic.

8. Funding

While many effective development activities do not require specific funding (e.g., mentoring, on-the-job training), organisational units must allocate funding for formal staff development from the funds under their control.

In addition, the University Staff Development Committee proposes an annual budget for University-wide staff development activities and deploy it appropriately when allocated, including funding the annual Staff Development Program of courses.

Chief Human Resources Officer


Staff Development - Guidelines

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This guideline enacts the Staff Development Policy and provides a suggested approach to staff development. It will assist managers and individuals to develop staff skills to increase their performance in their current roles, prepare for their future roles, enhance their job satisfaction and increase the University’s efficiency and effectiveness.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

ATEM - Australian Tertiary Education Management

Enterprise Agreement - The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2021 - 2026

3. Guidelines Scope/Coverage

This guideline provides a suggested approach to staff development to be used by the University Staff Development Committee, business unit managers, supervisors, staff, and organisational units and external providers contributing to staff development (such as Occupational Health and Safety, the Graduate School, the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, Information Technology Services, and the UQ Library).

4. Guidelines Statement

The University Staff Development Committee oversees the provision of development opportunities including the annual Staff Development Program.

Heads of organisational units, supervisors and staff all have key roles to play in ensuring staff undertake relevant development activities to enhance performance in their current and future roles.

In addition to more frequent informal conversations between supervisors and their staff, the annual performance appraisal process is critical to the identification of staff capabilities and development needs and the creation of development plans.

5. University Staff Development Committee

5.1 Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the University Staff Development Committee are to:

  • develop and review policy on staff development and the implementation of this policy for the University;
  • assess training needs, especially having regard to outcomes from the performance appraisal process;
  • advise on the needs of both academic and professional staff in staff development and training;
  • approve courses/programs proposed to be included in the Staff Development Program;
  • propose an annual budget for central staff development activities and deploy it appropriately when allocated;
  • coordinate the University Staff Development Program with programs which are external to the University (such as those run by ATEM; and
  • report to the Vice-Chancellor and submit an annual report to Senate.

5.2 Training needs analysis

The Staff Development Committee will conduct ongoing training needs analysis to validate existing courses and identify new requirements. The analysis will identify the training required for career advancement and enhancement of the performance of academic and professional staff in their current jobs through development of the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Training needs analysis will ensure the Staff Development Program meets organisational needs and identify target participants for development activities. This program will also list recommended courses offered by other organisations such as the ATEM, and other internal and external providers of management and corporate training indicating target participants and comparability, if any, with University offerings.

6. Staff Development Program

An annual University Staff Development Program will be developed, implemented and continuously monitored in order to ensure the integrated program balances:

  • the needs of the University to ensure it has skilled staff with the needs of all individuals to maximise their potential and develop a satisfying career;
  • the need to assist staff to perform their present duties more effectively with the need to prepare staff for changing duties and more senior responsibilities, and to respond to changes in the internal and external environment, especially in relation to changing skills requirements; and
  • the needs of staff at various levels of the organisation.

6.1 Methods of course delivery

Methods for delivering skills training and personal development need not be constrained to training courses. Other activities will include seminars, self-paced learning materials and multi-media packages to support on-the-job training, particularly in an on-line format.

6.2 Courses offered

Courses offered in the Staff Development Program recognise the different needs of staff with teaching and research interests, staff leading and managing others and staff with scientific, technical, financial, administrative, computing, client services, or occupational health and safety responsibilities.

Course are offered in the five portfolio areas of:

  • People
  • Teaching and learning
  • Research
  • Occupational Health and Safety and Environment
  • IT and Systems Training.

Certain courses are mandatory for some roles. For example, the New Staff Expo is mandatory for all new staff, and Know your Enterprise Agreement is mandatory for HEW 5 – 7 supervisors and HEW 8 – 10 Managers of Professional Staff. Mandatory courses are listed on the Staff Development Program website.

6.3 Staff Development Program Performance Indicators

The following performance indicators can be used to assist in assessment of the impact and worth of staff development courses and activities:

  • results of participant evaluation of University New Staff Expo;
  • results of participant evaluation of courses, particularly in relation to learning outcomes and impact on job satisfaction and performance; and
  • number and percentage of staff attending courses.

7. Responsibilities

7.1 Responsibilities of organisational units and external providers delivering training

At the request of the University Staff Development Committee, the responsibility of organisational units and external providers contributing to the five portfolio areas of the Staff Development Program are to:

  • work with the University Staff Development Committee in proposing specific staff development plans, priorities and policies;
  • monitor and evaluate specified staff development activities and report on their effectiveness to the University Staff Development Committee;
  • assist managers and supervisors in:
    • identifying and analysing staff development needs, and
    • evaluating the effectiveness of staff development activities;
  • establish and maintain a collection of relevant training resources, and information on currently available appropriate courses by external agencies; and
  • maintain effective liaison with external bodies relevant to development, such as ATEM.

Where required, coordination of organisational units and external providers contributing to the University Staff Development Program will be carried out by Human Resources.

7.2 Responsibilities of heads of organisational units

The responsibilities of heads of organisational units are to:

  • implement systematically the performance appraisal process so that staff development needs are identified;
  • analyse the staff development needs of the unit and individual staff and develop and implement plans to meet these needs. These plans will cover both the initiatives that can be taken within the organisational unit to meet individual or small group needs of unit staff and requirements for staff development which are beyond the current resources of the unit and which need to be referred to other units or agencies to co-ordinate;
  • recommend, authorise and make budgetary provision for staff development opportunities, and to ensure that staff are released for approved activities;
  • advise Human Resources on the University Staff Development Program including program content;
  • promote information sharing and application of new skills or insights in the workplace; and
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their staff development strategies.

Staff expected to undertake new tasks in their job must be given on-the-job training or another development opportunity as appropriate to organisational and individual needs.

7.3 Responsibilities of supervisors

The responsibilities of supervisors are to:

  • provide regular positive and constructive feedback to the staff member about their performance, and create a shared understanding of the staff member’s strengths and development needs through regular two-way conversations;
  • suggest appropriate development activities; and
  • support the staff member to make time to take part in agreed activities, and to share and implement what they learn in the workplace.

7.4 Responsibilities of individual staff

In recognition of the benefits of staff development to the individual as well as the University, staff are encouraged to:

  • seek opportunities to upgrade the skills and knowledge required in their current position;
  • use constructively the performance appraisal process to represent their development needs and opportunities to the supervisor, and seek feedback on their performance, strengths and development needs;
  • advise supervisors where specific needs are not being met as well as give feedback on usefulness of staff development programs; and
  • consider upgrading their formal qualifications through further studies to prepare for future responsibilities in the University.

8. Staff Development Framework

8.1 Staff development as a cycle

The framework to guide the implementation of the staff development policy takes account of the need to recruit and select quality staff, to induct them, to develop them, to appraise their performance and provide, where possible, the chance to progress on appropriate career paths. A holistic and equitable approach has been adopted, rather than a narrow focus on training courses and other development activities in isolation. The Staff Development Program aims to assist staff in planning their career development, and to support organisational objectives.

Staff development can be viewed as a cycle, which is repeated at each organisational level as individuals grow personally and professionally. Some will seek to move on to the next level to further their career, once they have acquired sufficient experience and demonstrated proficiency in their current job. Others will choose to remain at the same level, but might seek to become more specialised or multi-skilled to maintain interest and job satisfaction, or to move at level to another organisational unit.

At each level the cycle starts with recruitment and selection, then induction, followed by training and practice. It culminates in annual performance appraisal to provide feedback, identify further development needs and assess suitability for career advancement, or opportunities for lateral moves to accommodate personal aspirations, or organisational needs. Development needs can be met through the broad range of development activities defined in section 5 of the Staff Development Policy.

Figure 1. Staff Development Framework

8.2 Performance appraisal

Performance appraisal processes for academic and professional staff have been put in place through the Enterprise Agreement (see policies under PPL 5.70 Performance Management and Grievance Procedures).

Performance appraisal serves the following purposes in the context of the staff development cycle:

  • it provides clear expectations regarding duties and the identification of individual objectives with appropriate feedback to staff on their performance; and
  • it informs decisions on requirements for career advancement and performance enhancement training, or participation in other developmental activities on the job.

The performance appraisal process for academic staff provides information and contains recommendations for probation and promotion purposes. Professional staff should take the opportunity during their performance appraisal, as part of the Recognition and Development Program, to discuss with their supervisor future opportunities for career progression and how best to prepare themselves.

8.3 Career progression

8.3.1 Need for career development planning

Individuals seeking career progression need to plan their development, in conjunction with their supervisor, as part of performance appraisal in the staff development cycle. Information about career paths assists staff in choosing career progression and development options, as well as enables the University to plan the development activities required at each level.

The framework for staff development consists of broad career paths which provide the opportunity for staff to progress from one level to the next, having completed one or more iterations of the staff development cycle at each level. However, it must be noted that career paths are not prescribed and cannot be guaranteed for any particular individual to progress automatically, and that not all staff desire promotion but instead will gain greater job satisfaction by seeking continuous improvement in their current role.

It is also necessary to accommodate the needs of those staff who join the University at different points along their career path. Their prior learning in previous jobs can be recognised, but induction is required and further training may be necessary to assist them in developing their careers.

8.3.2 Academic staff

Continuing appointment and promotion requirements and procedures for academic staff to progress along a career path from Associate Lecturer at Level A to Professor at Level E, are well established (see PPL 5.80.12 Promotion of Academic Staff Levels A - D and PPL 5.80.14 Promotion to Professor). Some academics may also seek to progress through a series of academic and administrative leadership positions from supervisor to Head of School, discipline head, Institute Director, Executive Dean and ultimately to the Vice-Chancellor.

8.3.3 Professional staff

Professional staff positions are classified from HEW Level 1 through to 10. Within this structure, positions are further identified with job families titled Administrative, Information Technology, Library, Professional, Scientific and Technical, and Trades and Services.

The grouping of positions into job families facilitates the identification of potential avenues for advancement, or potential for lateral moves to broaden an individual's base of experience or facilitate a change to another job family. For example, a member of the administrative family employed in a clerical position would be aware of administrative officer positions at the next higher HEW level across the University and might apply for the next available vacancy, knowing it would be an appropriate career move. Alternatively, a Laboratory Manager in the scientific and technical family might seek to move to a School Manager position in the administrative family at the same level or higher.

8.3.4 Recruitment and selection

PPL 5.30.01a Recruitment and Selection - Policy outlines how vacancies are filled. Vacancies are advertised on the UQ Jobs website.

Chief Human Resources Officer
Chief Human Resources Officer