Staff Development, Performance and Promotions

The University aims to build the knowledge, skills and capabilities of its staff in support of the University's world class research and excellent student experience; enable all staff to be and perform at their best; and ensure that development, performance and promotions processes are inclusive, fair, respectful of diversity and promote equitable access for staff.


Frequently asked questions

Below you will find all frequently asked questions relating to development, performance and promotions procedures. 


Reward and recognition

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide supervisors and managers with a framework for the reward and recognition of outstanding achievement and performance. This information should be read in conjunction with the Staff Development, Performance and Promotions Policy, Remunerations and Employment Benefits Policy and Loadings, Allowances and Performance Bonus Procedure (as amended or replaced).

Printable Version

  • Why does the University of Adelaide reward and recognise outstanding achievement and performance?

    The University of Adelaide believes its staff should work in an environment where they are valued and where outstanding achievement and performance is recognised. Such an environment provides for greater job satisfaction, increased staff motivation and productivity, and improves attraction and retention rates. Reward and recognition reinforces the University’s strategic vision by recognising contributions or behaviour that supports its goals and objectives.

    Reward and recognition mechanisms at the University of Adelaide fall into three categories:

    • Informal reward and recognition
    • Formal reward and recognition
    • Formal University-wide reward and recognition
  • Who is eligible to receive a reward and/or recognition?

    All staff members are eligible to be rewarded for evidenced and consistent outstanding achievement and performance. Teams and groups, as well as individuals, can be rewarded.

  • What guidelines should a supervisor or manager consider when applying a reward?

    The following guidelines should be considered when applying rewards: The reward and recognition process should be equitable, transparent and merit-based.

    • Where appropriate, there should be evidence-based data to support reward and recognition decisions.
    • The level of the reward should be commensurate with the achievement, level of performance or impact on the University.
    • The reason for the reward should be clearly communicated firstly to the individual or team, and then to a wider audience where appropriate.
    • The type or form of reward given should be valued by, and meaningful to, the particular staff member(s). For example, some individuals enjoy public recognition while others prefer private recognition in person or with a thank-you note.
    • Rewards are not allocated to circumvent promotion and reclassification processes.
  • When can outstanding achievement and performance be recognised?

    • To ensure a fair and transparent approach within the University, staff may be recognised for the following exceptional contributions, including but not limited to:
    • Excellence in teaching and research;
    • Exceptional innovation or improvement;
    • Customer satisfaction and service;
    • Outstanding community engagement; and
    • Exemplary effort or achievement in the core areas of our people, processes, infrastructure and community.

    Timely rewards, i.e. rewards that are given as soon as possible after outstanding achievement and performance are noted, have a greater impact on the staff member or team. In this regard it may be more impactful if the reward or recognition is related to the staff member’s interests or preference. There will be occasions when it is not possible to give the reward immediately, for example when applying for formal rewards. In these cases, keep the staff member or team informed of your intention to reward them and the progress made towards arranging the reward.

    Planning, Development and Review discussions throughout the year are also ideal opportunities to reflect on achievements and determine whether a distinct reward or recognition activity will be appropriate.

  • Are there typical examples of the actions or behaviours that merit reward and/or recognition?

    The following are examples of actions or behaviours that may merit reward and/or recognition.

    Demonstrated Leadership

    • Demonstrating exemplary leadership, providing a sense of purpose, vision and mission to co-workers and/or staff, beyond what is expected and where great results have been achieved.
    • Managing and leading complex initiatives smoothly and effectively.
    • Investing time and effort in coaching and/or mentoring, and achieving success in improving capability and performance.
    • Demonstrated leadership in an important area (e.g. in safety awareness).
    • Consider the University’s Seven Critical Leadership Capabilities as a useful reference for recognition in this category

    Excellence in teaching and research

    • Exceptional productivity and/or innovation in teaching or research.
    • Demonstrating creativity, imagination or innovation with clear results in either traditional learning environments or technology-based environments.

    Exceptional innovation or improvement

    • The development of a new idea, or improvement on an existing idea, that results in significant savings to the University.
    • An initiative, e.g. a simplification of procedures, that results in increased productivity, efficiency or cost containment.
    • Taking a proactive and innovative approach towards finding solutions to business and workplace challenges.

    Customer satisfaction and service

    • Providing a consistently high level of service across the University community for staff, students and/or alumni.
    • Exceptional service, beyond the call of duty in resolving a customer (staff/student) issue.

    Outstanding community engagement

    • Exceptional effort in engaging with the community for its intellectual, environmental, social and/or cultural development.
    • Breaking down barriers and/or creating new relationships for the benefit of the University.
    • Exemplary effort or achievement in the core areas of our people, processes, infrastructure and community
    • Role-modelling a University value under difficult conditions. Please refer to the Code of Conduct Policy for the University Values.
  • What form can informal reward and recognition take and when might it be applied?

    Understanding informal rewards

    Informal rewards are a spontaneous, sincere and personal appreciation of an individual, team or group. Informal rewards should be timely, i.e. they should follow closely behind the achievement being rewarded and, again, it is likely to be more impactful if the reward or recognition is related to the staff member’s interests or preference. Informal rewards can take various forms and are made at a supervisor’s discretion.

    Applying informal rewards


    Informal recognition that is immediate, sincere and personalised is one of the most effective means of acknowledging efforts and ensuring staff know their contribution is valued. Consider the following suggestions that may be suitable means of recognition: Praise or ‘thank you’, either privately or publicly.

    • A short note or ‘thank you’ card or email.
    • Acknowledgement at staff meetings or other appropriate functions.
    • A certificate and/ or letter of appreciation with a copy placed on the staff member’s personnel file.
    • Providing small appreciation rewards, e.g. chocolates, movie tickets, morning teas, gift vouchers etc.
    • Setting up a notice board to display ‘thank you’ memos, photos, progress towards goals, etc.
    • Arranging a personalised gift to celebrate a milestone or service anniversary.

    Development opportunities

    Consider offering development opportunities that are valued and meaningful to the staff member, and aligned to their interests, strengths and career aspirations. For example: Selection to represent their local area at a meeting or attend as an observer.

    • The opportunity to attend an external conference or seminar.
    • A chance to be involved in a special project.
    • Mentoring or work shadowing opportunities.

    Smaller monetary rewards

    A small monetary award may be given to recognise a staff member’s contributions or behaviour (where budgetary conditions allow), such as: To allow, on occasion, a staff member to leave early in recognition of their efforts.

    • Contribution towards professional memberships.
    • Small gift eg. Chocolates, movie tickets, gift voucher etc.
  • What form can formal reward and recognition take and when might it be applied?

    The University has a range of formal reward mechanisms. These are set out in the following procedures (as amended or replaced):

    Please refer to the relevant procedure for further information on selecting and recommending appropriate formal rewards.

  • What form can University-wide reward and recognition take and when might it be applied?

    There are various reward and recognition mechanisms that are not covered by University policy but are available through nomination and are celebrated on a regular basis.

    They include:

    • Silver Jubilee Staff Reception recognising 25 years of service.
    • Vice-Chancellor's Awards
    • Formal Awards that are specific to a Faculty/Division.