Staff development

Staff development

The Performance, Development and Review process provides you with a framework to discuss performance, development and career aspirations with your staff and to create and update action plans that are relevant to the staff members' role and their future career goals at Macquarie.

All staff who have completed their probation period are required to participate in the Performance, Development and Review process – and as a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure each of your staff members participate in it.

Develop your staff

Development is a continuous process supported by an action plan with clear development and career goals. It isn’t a once or twice a year event, or a formal training course that you send each staff member on to “tick the box”.

Managers and staff are both responsible for an individual’s development. As a manager, you have a critical role to play in the development of your staff. Developing your staff has benefits for the individual, you (the manager) and the University. If done properly it is a win/win for all parties involved.

A balanced and blended approach to development, together with the investment of your time and energy to assist, coach and guide your staff will have long term benefits for you and your team. Positive learning and development experiences match the type of learning with the learning style of the staff member. Timing and relevance of learning will also contribute to the success of the experience.

The most effective approach to development is a combination of:

  • 70 per cent learning through experience
  • 20 per cent learning from others
  • 10 per cent learning in a formal setting.

Learning and development activities

Visit Workshops and resources to view available workshops and online learning resources such as Linkedin learning (formally A range of development support schemes are also available to eligible staff including Outside Studies programs, development grants and scholarships for formal study.

Don’t forget that every meeting and interaction with your team or staff member can also be a learning opportunity. For example:

  • you can ask guests to a meeting to inform the team on a current/topical issue
  • ask the team to review an interesting article that you discuss in the meeting
  • when a staff member attends an external seminar or conference, get the team member to share what they have learned with the team
  • rotate the chairman for a team meeting to give everyone a chance to plan, prepare and lead the meeting
  • encourage your team to read and share relevant material
  • allow a staff member to sit on a committee or be assigned to a project to give them exposure and to stretch them outside of their normal responsibilities.

Giving feedback

Make time regularly, ideally once a month, to discuss and review performance and development with each of your staff. A workshop on having coaching conversations is available for managers. View the workshop calendar for available dates.

When to give feedback

Some managers put one-to-ones in their diary at regular intervals to make sure these meetings happen. Giving feedback doesn’t always have to be a formal meeting and can be on the job while performing a specific task, or informally over coffee or lunch. Some managers have frequent contact with staff individually and use some of this time to discuss the work and progress against objectives informally.

It is important to address performance that is contentious in some way as and when it arises. Do not wait for a scheduled one-on-one or PDR review meeting.

How to give feedback

Your staff will appreciate recognition of their achievements. Remember to let them know exactly what you found helpful by giving specific examples, so that they are able to continue it.

If you want to ask someone to do something differently, or let them know about something you didn’t find useful, the most effective way to raise this is to be factual and constructive about your criticism and give examples.

For example, instead of saying “You’re not supportive enough”, give information which will help your staff member know what you want them to do differently:

“I asked you to make the changes to the database a month before you went on holiday, but you left it until the day before you went. This meant I was unable to talk to you about the queries I had after you made the changes. It would have worked better if you had let me know that you would be unable to make the changes a week or so earlier, so that we could have discussed another option.”

Any criticism you give should be constructive and identify exactly what someone did that you regard as needing improvement. If the person disagrees, try to give them information, which explains your viewpoint without becoming discourteous.

You may identify objectives or aspects of someone’s work where you feel they have not made enough progress. It is possible they may get upset or defensive. If a person feels they are being criticised unreasonably, try to ask questions to find out more about why they feel your comments are unfair.

It is always a good idea to ask your staff for feedback. If they are unsure of how to answer this, suggest they tell you one thing you can continue doing, stop doing and start doing. If your staff member is taken by surprise, let them know they can get back to you in a few days.

Need more help?

If you are a manager and are preparing for PDR discussions with your staff, you can seek advice and support from your HR representative.

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