PDS Forms

Why were the forms redesigned?

The new forms for Senior staff (including senior academic staff) and professional staff at all levels have been simplified to ensure the main focus is on the conversation rather than the completion of documentation. They have also been separated into two forms: one to focus on Achievements and Priorities and one to focus on Career Planning and Development. Links to the forms are below.
1. PDS - Achievements and Priorities
2. PDS - Career Planning and Development

Should the meeting cover both forms?

There is no hard and fast rule around this. The forms have been created to assist in guiding flexible dialogue that is not restricted by policy and procedure. It is up to the manager and staff member whether they prefer to cover both forms in one meeting, or have two separate discussions.
If you do have two meetings, it does not mean that you must only talk about performance in one meeting and development in the next. Often the discussion will cross over, with natural overlap between the two topics, and the more flexible format is designed to accommodate this.

The new form does not mention KPTs. Can I still use KPTs and track them at the end of each year?

Yes, you can. The aim of the PDS form review was to put in place tools that best support a quality conversation taking place between a staff member and their reviewer. A quality conversation that results in good planning does not necessitate a neatly worded goal statement or KPT but it does ask you to consider the year ahead and commit to a work plan.
The best plans address the criteria that are captured in the SMART acronym:
Specific - expectations of the final result is described and agreed
Measurable - everyone knows what indicates satisfactory completion
Achievable - you have the time and resources available to complete the job
Realistic - it is not just wishful thinking
Time Limited - when is the deadline so you can plan
Research also tells us that when priorities are put in writing it is more likely that they are achieved.
Staff can access helpful templates that assist in making sure all of the criteria are met to write a KPT.

Support around writing KPTs can be obtained through:
Your HR Client Services Team member: https://www.hr.unsw.:edu.au/contacts/hrcs.html OR
Your HR People and Culture Development Consultant: https://www.hr.unsw.edu.au/services/peopleandculture/index.html

How can I measure output using the new forms?

At the initial PDS meeting, the more specific you are in talking about what needs to be achieved and by when, the less confusion there will be when it is time to review achievements. To minimise the potential for any misunderstanding or confusion, you and your reviewer need to set up regular milestone/tracking meetings to review progress and identify any challenges. There are also optional tools such as a key performance target (KPT) template and a behavioural competencies template (see the PDS Toolkits) or contact your respective HR Client Services Team Member or People and Culture Development Consultant.

How do I know that after I have signed the PDS forms, my reviewer won't write something on it that I won't get to see?

The PDS process is designed to encourage a full, open and honest performance conversation to ensure a two-way quality exchange of information and perspective.

This same open and transparent philosophy applies after the PDS meeting is completed and the staff member and their reviewer have completed and signed off on all the PDS documentation that was discussed within the review. If the Reviewer decides to add further comments after the PDS meeting, they should discuss the additional information with their staff member. The staff member will receive a copy of the final documentation before it is sent to HR for placement on their personnel file.

What happens if I change my mind and don't want to sign the documentation after the performance development meeting has taken place?

Ask yourself why did you change your mind? Do you need further time in the discussion? Is there feedback you need to give on the process?
Ask your reviewer for some more time to spend discussing the issues and be open to the possibility that you may change your mind.

What documentation goes on my personnel file?

All Performance Development forms are to be treated as strictly confidential and stored in a secure location. Following the completion of the PDS meeting the Reviewer:
  • Provides a copy of both PDS forms to HR that will be placed on the individual staff member's personnel file
  • Retains the original PDS forms in their files (confidential area)
  • Provides a copy to the staff member

NB: If the Reviewer is not the immediate supervisor, the Reviewer may take a copy of relevant PDS forms to assist with any agreed follow-up conversations throughout the year.

Who will have access to my PDS forms?

Access to a staff member's PDS documentation is limited to
  • the staff member
  • their immediate supervisor
  • the PDS Reviewer (if the Reviewer is not the direct supervisor)
  • other relevant local level senior managers (e.g. Faculty General Manager)
  • relevant HR staff whose duties require them to have access to these documents for administration purposes