Human Resources

Line managers / reviewers

Recommendations for conducting Annual Reviews

Ahead of conducting any Annual Review meeting Line Managers/ Reviewers must read the completed pre-meeting documentation sent to you by the staff member.  This should provide context for the discussion.  Reviewers/ Line manager’s must also have a good understanding of:

  • The purpose and scope of the staff member’s role and if relevant any key changes that have happened in the last year or any changes expected in the next.
  • The previous year’s performance and development of the staff member.  Including any required evidence. 
  • The objectives, goals and priorities for next year; including any core messages for staff.
  • The local staff development budget and any appropriate development options for the staff member’s role; including the local process for agreeing development activity. 
  • The local and University reward and career progression information and processes.

Checklist for reviewers

Use the checklist to prepare for the review meetings and reflect on the meeting’s success afterwards.

Evidence to consider

 As part of your preparation for the Annual Review discussion Line managers or Reviewers should gather a number sources of evidence or indicators of achievement relating to the staff members complete role. 

Below are some examples of evidence or key indicators of achievement that a reviewer or the staff member may want to consider in the Annual Review.

For all Staff – examples of sources of evidence or key indicators of achievement relating to:

  • Contribution and/or impact of work done – on team, School, Department, University
  • Approach and/ or more information on how the work was completed – focusing on key behaviours required for the role. Use the Behaviours Charter for examples of behaviours demonstrated. 
  • Engagement with professional bodies
  • Contribution to wider University initiatives/projects/committee membership

For staff with Leadership and Management responsibilities – sources of evidence or key indicators of achievement:

  • Consider if duty of care responsibilities have been met and appropriate information shared/recorded regarding Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity, Data protection and employment legislation
  • Use the Leadership section of the Behaviours Charter to reflect on behaviours demonstrated and areas for future development. 

For Academic staff Reviews the appropriate sources of evidence may be collected by the staff member being reviewed. 

More information on academic staff reviews

Objectives within the review meeting

As the Reviewer, you should come to the Annual Review discussion with draft objectives, or a clear idea of priorities for the staff member you are reviewing. 

You should finalise the objectives and priorities with the staff member during the meeting this will help to have shared clarity for what is to be achieved.   In some reviews, the individual will come to the meeting with a very clear idea of their objectives, goals and priorities. 

Objectives can focus on a variety of areas: business as usual, new projects or work, continuous improvements or individual changes in behaviour, as examples.  These recorded objectives/goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound and linked to the University Strategy or local School/Department Plans.

Your own line manager or senior manager is responsible for communicating core messages and delegating responsibility for achieving the strategy across the University staff.  As a result they will have briefed you in advance of your staff’s Annual Reviews.  This brief should have outlined the team or wider area’s objectives to help you set appropriate objectives with your staff.

Development discussions

To ensure an effective development discussion as part of the annual review meeting you should have examples of the type of staff development relevant to the staff members you are reviewing.

This includes awareness of any mandatory development options (i.e. relating to Health and Safety or Equality and Diversity) or development options that would ensure the continued performance of the staff member in their current role and potentially prepare them for future roles.

Line managers are responsible for balancing short term development need with longer term goals across their team. This is based on the available staff development budget, and the needs of all the staff members in the team. 

You should know the process for agreeing external and internal development activity (as this process varies across the University).

Some annual review conversations will also focus on the career progression of your staff member. If this is the case, you should:

  • Know where to find out information on the differences between grades/roles using grade profiles, exemplars of excellence and job descriptions.
  • Be aware of local process for contribution award.
  • Understand the local and University Academic promotion process if relevant.
  • Be aware of upcoming recruitment needs or new roles in your area.

Related links

Job Descriptions

Contribution Award Process

Academic Promotion Process