The PDP cycle

Process summary

  • Employee and manager set a date for the annual meeting and agree who is to provide feedback
  • Employee completes Part 1 and sends it to their manager at least 1 week before the meeting
  • Manager collects relevant feedback and, following submission of Part 1 by the employee, completes Part 2 in draft
  • Annual PDP meeting takes place
  • Any required changes are made to Part 2 by the manager and the employee has an opportunity to add further comments before finalising
  • Interim meetings (Part 3) take place throughout the year (it is suggested at least twice) to review and update the PDP

Introduction

This Performance and development plan (PDP) process is designed both to meet the commercial needs of the business and to help employees achieve their full potential. If we understand what each employee does well and where they need help, we can provide coaching and offer planned training and development activities to move them forward. The PDP should be used as a tool in succession planning for the business, to ensure we are constantly upgrading the competency of employees.

During the annual meeting and subsequent interim meetings, you will be asked to reflect on your own performance and work with your manager to monitor progress towards objectives. To get the most out of the meetings both the employee and the manager need to put in some real time and effort. If there are any areas you feel unsure about, you should contact the Head of HR for advice.

Timing and participation

The annual meeting should normally take place in January of each year with interim meetings to review and update taking place at regular intervalsIf you have recently joined your manager should normally sit down with you following the successful completion of your probation period to set some objectives that can be reviewed during the PDP. As a general rule, any employee who either has a permanent contract or a fixed-term contract with a duration of six months or more should be included in the annual PDP process, provided they have passed their probation period. (Limited company contractors do not fall under the PDP process.)

General notes on using the forms

These forms are designed to be completed and submitted electronically, not hard copy.

Please use the document saving protocol on the front page to ensure you always know what the most up to date document is.

When you open the document, you should ‘enable content’ when prompted to do so to ensure all the macros function as they ought to.

Hyperlinks on the front page will take you directly to the section you want to work on (Part 1, 2 or 3).

All the text boxes are designed to expand so don’t feel restricted by their size. Equally, don’t be intimidated by their size – it may be that sometimes there is very little or nothing for you to record in a given section. Feel free to add rows to tables where you need to (or to leave rows blank if you don’t require them). Where a row has a RAG rating pick list, the pick list can be copied and pasted to any rows added.

Preparing for the annual meeting

Preparation for the annual meeting should cover the following steps:

Gather key documents and information

One of the documents it will be useful for both employee and manager to refer to is the job description for the employee’s role. Current job descriptions can be found on SharePoint. If no accurate written job description is available, the you may draft a job description (as you see it) and submit it to your manager along with Part 1, for discussion and agreement at the meeting.

n.b. For the 2021 PDP process, it is not mandatory to ensure an accurate written job description is in place before the process begins. You may just work from a shared understanding of the requirements of the role. However, during 2021, managers and their employees must work together to update and agree written job descriptions in advance of the 2022 process.

Here is a full list of documents you may find it useful to refer to in preparing:

  • Your job description – see above
    (SharePoint location: VGC Doc Library>VGC Group Master Forms>Human Resources>3.HR.ADM.007 Management supervisory organisation responsibilities)
  • Your previous PDP (or appraisal) form
  • VGC corporate objectives
  • VGC Academy guide – includes the behavioural competency framework, standard competency profiles and development directory
    (SharePoint location: VGC Academy>VGC Academy Guide)
  • Sample completed PDP form
    (SharePoint location: VGC Academy>Performance and development plan resources)

Kick off the process

Agree a date for the annual PDP meeting with your manager. At the same time, your manager should discuss and agree with you who they will approach for some additional feedback. These could be colleagues, clients, people the employee manages or more senior staff. When suggesting people to request feedback from remember to consider people you find challenging to work with, as well as those where you perceive a good working relationship exists! It is suggested that your manager approaches a maximum of three people for additional feedback.

If you don’t know which job family your role sits within (see the Academy guide for information on job families), it’s a good idea to clarify this with your manager at this stage. If they are unsure, they should check with the department head or HR.

Complete part 1

You need to complete Part 1 – the self review – and send it to your manager at least one week in advance of the meeting. This will give them an opportunity to give genuine consideration to what you have written.

Section A: Looking back – self reflective commentary on performance

Reflect on the key roles and responsibilities of your job since your last PDP meeting. You could write a little about how you rate your performance against each of the main areas of your job description (if available – see above). Include any examples of ‘going beyond’. If there has been anything in particular that you has affected your performance, either positively or negatively, this is your opportunity to let your manager know.

Section B: Looking back – Values-led behaviours demonstrated

Hopefully you will already have familiarised yourself with the VGC behavioural competency framework, which can be found in the VCG Academy guide. It is strongly recommended you understand the framework before completing this section.

The twelve behavioural competencies have been summarised within the form. In this section you are asked to think about which behaviours you are consistently demonstrating, and which you find more challenging. As a minimum requirement, you can simply reflect on the summary descriptions in the form to determine your choices (at least one for each section). However, if you are keen to more accurately measure yourself against the level of behavioural competency that is expected for your job (or even the job you aspire to) you will need to refer to the complete behavioural competency framework in the Academy guide. First, make sure you know which ‘job family’ your role sits in. For a lot of non-managers, this will be ‘Individual contributor’, but you should check with your manager or department head. You can then use the standard (default) behavioural competency profile matrix in the Academy guide to see what level you should be demonstrating each competency at. Check the behavioural indicators for the relevant levels in the framework and reflect on how you are doing. Ask yourself: does this sound like me?

Section C: Looking back – self review of previous objectives

List the objectives previously set in the first column. Use the RAG rating (explanation within the form) to indicate the extent to which you have achieved the objective. Give some commentary on any barriers to achieving incomplete objectives and describe how you will complete outstanding objectives if applicable.

Section D: Looking forward – development aspirations

Try to think about how your role could or should develop over the next twelve months or further ahead if appropriate. This preparation will help you determine which objectives might be relevant and what support you might need.

Section E: Looking forward – suggested future objectives

This section logically flows from the ‘Looking back’ sections: If there are aspects of your role you are not fulfilling think about what needs to happen to rectify that situation; if there is a behavioural competency you need to develop, that can be an objective; if you have objectives that are outstanding and still relevant, they can be copied over; if there is something you need to get experience of to prepare you for your aspirational role, it needs to be included here.

You should also think carefully about what objectives are important from the business’s point of view. What demands will there be on VGC as a whole, your department or your team?

Robust objectives need to meet the following ‘SMART’ criteria:

  • Specific – unambiguous, concrete
  • Measurable – how much, how many, specified action
  • Achievable – challenging but realistic
  • Relevant – to the role and to business objectives
  • Timed – clear milestones/completion dates

When considering what objectives to suggest, try to identify what assistance might be required. This might take the form of a formal training course or coaching and help from colleagues. You should refer to the development directory in the Academy guide for some ideas about how to support your development goals. If you are keen to talk about sponsorship for external training opportunities (e.g. technical qualifications), we would encourage you to do as much research as possible on potential courses and include this information with your Part 1 form.

You may well find that, through discussion with your manager, your suggested objectives are refined. Final agreed objectives need to be recorded in Part 2 during or following the meeting.

Part 1 should be completed and sent by the employee to their manager (along with a draft job description, if this has been reviewed) at least a week in advance of the meeting.

The annual PDP meeting

The information you have provided in Part 1 and the drafted content in Part 2 (completed by your manager) will form the basis of the discussion. The following areas should be covered:

  • A review of performance against role requirements, values-led behaviours demonstrated and achievement of objectives.
  • An overall assessment of performance taking all the above aspects into consideration.
  • Discussion of the employee’s career aspirations and personal development plan, and agreement of related objectives for the next period.
  • Discussion of training and support required.
  • The focus of the meeting should not be salary – salaries are reviewed as part of a separate process (although information from the PDP meeting may well inform the salary review process, alongside other factors).

Completing the annual process

You and your manager should take the opportunity diarise the next meeting (interim) at the end of the annual meeting, to support a continuous PDP dialogue. You could even diarise all the interim meetings you would like to have throughout the year, to ensure these update conversations don’t get forgotten about.

At the annual meeting or shortly afterwards, the manager should make any changes to the Part 2 draft, then send to the employee to add any further comments. Then the document (containing both Part 1 and 2 completed) should be sent to HR for DocuSign fields to be inserted. Finally, both parties will be prompted to sign the PDP electronically.

Interim meetings

The ‘Part 3’ form should be completed by the manager during or following any interim meetings with the employee that take place to review progress between annual PDP meetings. It is anticipated that these documented meetings should take place at least every 4 months (they can just form part of regular one-to-ones), but managers and employees may wish to have them more frequently. It may be that the manager doesn’t need to record something in every box of the form every time you meet if there aren’t updates in a particular area.

Section N: Commentary on performance

See description within form.

Section O: Business update

See description within form.

Section P: Development activity planning/debrief

This is an opportunity for the manager and employee to look at the course content of any training events that have been booked and determine what the employee wants to get out of the activity. For example, if a course has been booked to develop a behavioural competency, you should look at the indicators in the framework to agree what you would benefit from focusing on. The training facilitator will most likely ask what people’s priorities are at the start, so it is useful to have thought about this.

If you attended a learning event since the last interim meeting, it is useful to discuss what you took away from the course, and how you intend to put the learning into practice.

If you are still waiting to be booked on a requested course and the requirement has become urgent, use this opportunity to follow up (with HR, or whoever may be appropriate).

Section Q: Progress with objectives

You and your manager should revisit the ‘Agreed objectives’ section of Part 2 and provide an update on progress in the applicable column. Any new objectives that are put in place at interim meetings should be added to the original matrix in Part 2. This means when it comes to reviewing objectives at the next annual meeting, all objectives that have been generated throughout the year can be found in one place.

Section R: Additional training requirements

It is requested that any additional training requirements are recorded in this box to ensure they are picked up by HR and can be fed into future training planning.

At the end of the interim meeting, the next meeting should be diarised. Although the manager should generally complete the form, you have an opportunity to add any additional comments.

Further support and feedback

If you would like further help or guidance at any stage, or if you have feedback on the PDP process, please contact the HR Manager.