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This policy document is currently under review to reflect The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2023-2026, which came into effect on 5 December 2023. Until this has been reviewed, the new Enterprise Agreement will take precedence over the provisions outlined in this document.

Procedure: Performance and development - Academic staff


To outline the process for the establishment and review of performance objectives/indicators and development plans for academic staff, in accordance with the Performance and Development Policy and the Career and Performance Development provisions within the Enterprise Agreement.


Performance and Development Process (PDP) refers to the process which guides performance management practices within the University, assisting staff to excel and meet their career goals and job expectations.

Performance and Development Review (PDR) is the pro-forma designed to record a staff member’s performance objectives/indicators; development needs; and actual performance over a defined period.

Performance Objectives describe the tasks and outcomes to be achieved by the staff member as a result of carrying out prescribed roles and responsibilities. These will include the manner in which work is undertaken to ensure consistency with the Code of Conduct and ANU Values. Performance objectives may also include the identification of milestones which extend beyond the length of the review period.

Performance Indicators describe the way in which a staff member and supervisor will define whether a performance objective has been achieved.

Academic Areas of Output are the defined aspects of an academic’s portfolio of activity. Includes: research/creative activity; education; and service/ public policy/leadership.

Achievement relative to opportunity means assessing achievement against performance objectives and indicators relative to opportunity, taking into consideration any changes which may have impacted on performance and were beyond the control of the manager or staff member.


  1. Understanding that academic staff work-patterns, the needs of the University and particular work places areas change from time-to-time the PDP will be managed by the following:
  • Establishing an agreed PDR via discussion between the staff member and their supervisor, including a review of contribution to date and career goals.
  • Taking into account the University Academic Profiles and any college or local guidelines, setting at least annually, by discussion between an individual staff member and their supervisor, clear performance objectives for the period.
    Objectives may be varied according to emerging needs of the work area.
  • A formal review of progress conducted at least annually, and ideally mid-term, against agreed performance objectives and indicators (unless contribution or commitment requires an earlier review or the supervisor and staff member prefer more frequent reviews).
  • Recommending, in writing to the staff member, any steps needed to improve performance when that is warranted.


  1. It is expected that the PDP, and related PDR(s), will be used to inform the probation process.
  2. Within the first month of employment, supervisors will provide the staff member with a clear understanding of the PDP and work with them to clearly define objectives for the probationary period, utilising the PDR.
  3. As a condition of probation, staff holding a teaching and research appointment will demonstrate satisfactory teaching effectiveness, including a formal student evaluation process, for teaching and research positions.

Defining objectives

  1. The supervisor will meet with each staff member to discuss and identify measurable performance objectives, relevant indicators of performance, and career development goals for the review period that reflect the staff members:
  • key objectives, indicators and goals for each academic area of output for the review period, taking into consideration the University's Academic Profiles, any college or local guidelines and the work areas’ strategic goals for the period.
  • key skills and attributes required to achieve success in their position and future career progression.
  • specific objectives and indicators for all staff with a supervisory and/or resource management role; and
  • identified development actions to assist the staff member achieve personal excellence, maximise their contribution to the University and achieve career aspirations.
  1. These discussions are to be summarised within the PDR.

Review of progress and achievements

  1. Prior to the end of the term of an annual PDR, a supervisor shall meet with each staff member to review progress and achievement. These review discussions are an opportunity to provide feedback, support, direction and encouragement in relation to the progress and achievement of the staff member's objectives.
  2. The review also provides the opportunity for the supervisor and staff member to have a general discussion, including workload allocation and the operations of the college, school, division or area that impact the staff member.
  3. The staff member should reflect on their experiences at work over the period, the supervisor and staff member should then meet to discuss and review the overall progress and achievements of the staff member relative to opportunity.
  4. The staff member should provide their supervisor with the material needed to facilitate assessment, this may include: research publications; citation information; grant applications; teaching evaluations; peer comments on syllabus or curriculum; and any other material deemed relevant to the discussion.
  5. Based on the outcomes of the discussion under clause 9; the evidence provided under clause 10; and any other relevant evidence, the supervisor will identify an overall performance rating for the staff member against the performance objectives and an individual rating against each academic area of output.
  6. A summary of the staff member’s actual performance, self-reflection, and performance ratings should be recorded in the PDR.
  7. Where a staff member consents to sharing the content of their PDR for development purposes for others, this will be recorded for example in the comments section on the form or via email between staff member and supervisor.
  8. In cases where development is required or progress and achievement is unsatisfactory, action to address possible underperformance or misconduct should be taken at the earliest time possible and in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures. Any action should not be delayed pending a formal review.
  9. Performance objectives and indicators should be reviewed and updated during the PDR period when any substantial change occurs, including change of position or supervisor. This will be subject to discussion and agreement between the supervisor and staff member.

Performance ratings

  1. The following ratings are used in the PDP:
  • Outstanding: Where the staff member demonstrates performance and behaviour which consistently exceeds expectations. The consistently high standard has earned recognition by others internal and/or external to the University. On average only 5% of staff would be expected to be in this category.
  • Meets all expectations: Where overall the staff member demonstrates consistent and sustained performance, with all objectives being met, and exhibits behaviour which is consistent with ANU Values and the Code of Conduct. The vast majority of staff would be expected to be in this category.
  • Unsatisfactory: Where the staff member's performance and/or behaviour falls short of what is expected for the position they hold, and/or the required performance objectives and indicators.
  1. In these circumstances the supervisor will have initiated action under the Managing unsatisfactory performance procedure. This rating will be applied where:
  • the staff member's outcomes and/or behaviour frequently do not meet expectation and/or expectations are not achieved and/or are considered unsatisfactory
  • frequent direction/coaching and/or extensive development (not consistent with the classification level of the staff member) is required.
  • the staff member does not apply skills/knowledge and attributes in a manner consistent with the ANU Code of Conduct.
  1. Where a staff member does not take steps to improve to an acceptable level, in quality and/or commitment, the options available to the University include demotion to a lower level or to negotiate a departure from the University. For these purposes, the processes identified in the Unsatisfactory Performance and Misconduct Policy and the Managing Unsatisfactory Performance Procedure, developed under the provisions of the ANU Enterprise Agreement, will be followed including the appeal provisions, and may lead to disciplinary action.

Differences of Opinion/Disagreements

  1. If a supervisor and a staff member cannot agree on the proposed PDR the staff member may seek a review of the performance objectives by the supervisor's supervisor.
  2. If the staff member is not satisfied with the outcome of that review, they may request the Director - Human Resources review the matter with the view to resolving the issue in accordance with University policy and procedure.
  3. The Director - Human Resources may confirm the PDR after considering the relevant University Academic Profiles and Minimum Standards for Academic Levels (MSAL's) for the position and level of assigned duties.
  4. Where academic judgment is required to determine the matter, the Director - Human Resources will seek advice from an appropriately constituted academic panel to which the National Tertiary Education Union will be invited to nominate a member.

Storage of forms

  1. The PDR eForm is staff-in-confidence and the information contained may only be used in matters that are relevant to the staff member's employment within The Australian National University. Any copies of the form should be stored appropriately on a staff member’s personnel file in accordance with the University Records and Archive Management policy.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Performance and development - Academic staff
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_000689
Purpose To outline the process for the establishment and review of performance objectives/indicators and development plans for academic staff, in accordance with the Performance and Development Policy and the Career and Performance Development provisions within the Enterprise Agreement.
Audience Staff-Academic
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Staff - Staff & Career Development
Effective Date 14 Aug 2018
Next Review Date 30 Jun 2024
Responsible Officer: Chief People Officer
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area People and Culture Division
Authority: The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement 2023-2026
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.