Human Resources

Senior managers

Overview of what is expected for senior managers to ensure quality Annual Review conversations.

As well as taking part in your own and your direct reports’ Annual Reviews, you have an additional responsibility to communicate key information particular to your department.

Before conducting annual reviews you should make clear to both reviewers and staff members:

  • The strategy, priorities, objectives of your area and any local issues affecting your department in the coming year
  • Agreed local timescales for completing Annual Review conversations. If a cascade approach is used, where certain staff reviews need to be held before others, then you will need to communicate the timings for these to all staff so as they can plan for their reviews in this period.
  • What documentation is to be used in your department to prepare for and record outcomes of the conversation
  • Whether there will be any allocated reviewers for staff who aren’t their line manager
  • Highlighting the support and resourcesavailable to Reviewers and staff members to help them have a quality conversation
  • The process for recording and reporting.

Annual Review Support and Resources available to staff

You can communicate this information by:

  • Sending a briefing email to all staff in your area.
  • Using a cascade approach to Annual Review where senior staff have their Annual Reviews before the next level of staff
  • Conducting a Reviewer briefing meeting prior to starting all staff Annual Reviews. 
  • Through regular one to one meetings where the line manager discusses their upcoming Annual Reviews with their own line manager

You may also act in the role of the Counter Signatoryto check on the alignment, fairness, consistency and to identify any themes that may need to be considered or addressed.

Role of Counter Signatory

More information on reporting

If a staff member is absent when the Annual Review would normally be held, arrangements should be made to ensure a review is held before and/or after the period of absence.

If a staff member is absent for only part of the review year an annual review meeting is still required and the staff member will be included in the reporting population. The focus of the meeting may vary depending on what point in the review cycle the absence takes place e.g. progress review against objectives or future objective and development setting.

Example 1:

If someone is on long term sick leave and misses their Annual Review in January 2015 the manager would complete their review on their return in March 2015, setting objectives and development going forward. This would cover the period from March 2015 to January 2016. After this you would continue on with the normal review cycle (in this case January to January).

If a staff member has been at work for a continuous period of 3 months during the review period, and has planned leave, managers are expected to ensure a review is held. In the case of unplanned leave, if the employee returns 3 months prior to the end of the review period a review should be completed.

Example 2:

If someone has a review due in January 2015, but is going on secondment in May 2015 then in January they should have an Annual Review that consists of a progress review of objectives up to January 2015. They should agree objectives and development that cover the period January 2015 to May 2015. Objectives into the secondment period would not be covered

Definition of the Annual Review Reporting Population.

Other Definitions used in Annual Review