Planning, Development & Review (PDR)

Planning, Development and Review provides a framework for staff to set performance objectives which are meaningful in their current role, contribute to career goals, and align to the University's strategic direction. PDR should also encompass development planning that will assist in achieving these objectives, and allow for a review of performance outcomes between staff and people leaders.

All staff members on continuing or fixed term contracts till end of December 2023 are expected to participate in PDR. There should be three PDR meetings each year which are documented after each meeting. The focus of PDR is on engagement in honest and open conversations.

  • PDR cycle

    PDR Stages Conversation Outline Staff Services Online (SSO) Confirmation Deadline
    For academic staff, the Individual Academic Profile (IAP) is used to support PDR conversations and is available in February
    Final Review for 2022
    • Review achievement of work and development objectives against measures
    • Two-way feedback
    • Complete PDR Conversation Record

    31 January 2023

    (when not combined with objective setting)

    Objective Setting 2023
    • Establish and agree SMART work objectives
    • Agree development objectives
    • Two-way feedback
    • Complete PDR Conversation Record

    31 March 2023

    For academic staff, the IAP is used to support PDR conversations and is available in July
    Mid Term Review 2023
    • Review progress against work and development objectives
    • Identify any blockages/issues
    • Two-way feedback
    • Supervisor provides coaching and guidance
    • Complete PDR Conversation Record

    1 June 2023 to
    31 July 2023

    Final Review for 2023
    • Review achievement of work and development objectives against measures
    • Two-way feedback
    • Complete PDR Conversation Record

    6 November 2023 to
    22 December 2023

    Parts of the University undertake operational and business planning at different times of the year. If it is necessary for individual PDR planning to take place at an alternative time, please consult with your Executive Dean/Director.

    To ensure enough time for reviewing and confirming the Conversation Records form, it is recommended that formal PDR conversations take place two weeks prior to the final Staff Services Online (SSO) confirmation deadline (refer table).

    It is an option to use the Final Review meeting to also set objectives for the next year, however it must be recorded in Staff Services Online (SSO) as two separate meetings, an Objective Setting meeting and a Final Review meeting.

  • Recording PDR

    PDR Form

    Use the relevant PDR Conversation Record to document your PDR conversations:

    • PDR Conversation Record – Academic Staff
      • Academic Staff form (Word) printable
      • Academic Staff fillable form (PDF)
    • PDR Conversation Record – Professional Staff
      • Professional Staff form (Word) printable
      • Professional Staff fillable form (PDF)

    Using SSO to record your participation in PDR

    Confirm your completion of PDR through Staff Services Online as per the timeline above.

  • Support resources

     Objective Setting Resources
    Mid-Year and Final Review Resources 

    For Staff

    For People Leaders

    These support resources have been designed and developed by Veronica Lee of HRM Matters and Human Capital International (as indicated). Numerous sources were utilised in the research and development. The intellectual property of authors has been respected by fully researching and referencing the original source where it has been available. There materials are provided solely for the use of employees while employed by the University of Adelaide and have been provided with the permission of HRM Matters and HCI.


    Academic Staff

    Both the Adelaide Academic Role Statements and Individual Academic Profiles (IAPs) are used as inputs to PDR. View the pdf document which shows how they fit with PDR (view the pdf).


  • Training

    Learning and Development offers online PDR training modules for staff and supervisors throughout the year that covers: 

    • Three online modules that cover the benefits of PDR, PDR in Practice and Preparing for Objective Setting.

    For further information about access to the online modules please visit: PDR Learning Program


  • Policy and Procedure

    PDR Forms, Templates, Information Sheets, Policies and Procedures can be found in the Staff Planning, Development & Review (PDR) Handbook Chapter.

Frequently asked questions

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


The need for PDR

  • Why PDR?

    Success in the University means creating an environment where people can perform at their best to enable the school, branch and individual to achieve their objectives.

    It is the role of all people managers to guide and manage the performance of staff, both as individuals and as a team. They must ensure a clear line of sight linking everyone’s work to the University’s strategy; they must also convey what contribution is expected, set performance objectives, provide feedback, appraise performance, guide development and ensure staff are rewarded for good performance.

    The Vice Chancellor & President has made the PDR process a key focus for the University of Adelaide, and has set clear expectations around the importance and need for PDR conversations to take place for every staff member.

    PDR has the following objectives:

    • The PDR enables you and your supervisor to align individual short and longer-term work and development objectives with those of the University and your unit;
    • Ensure role clarity and reach agreement on annual objectives of the position;
    • Provide feedback to you and your supervisor on a regular basis throughout the planning, development and review cycle; and
    • Determine appropriate training in relation to the position and for career development purposes.
  • What can I do to prepare for my PDR discussion?

    For Staff

    Your supervisor will schedule a meeting with you for your Planning, Development and Review discussion.

    At this time your supervisor will explain to you:

    • the purpose of the discussion.
    • the format of the discussion.
    • how you should prepare for the discussion.

    Your preparation prior to the Planning, Development and Review discussion involves:



    • Professional Staff: Your Position Description
    • Academic staff: Classification Standards: Academic and Research Only Staff (Schedule 6 of the University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement), relevant Adelaide Academic: Role Statement and Individual Academic Profile.
    • Your Work Plan Objectives set in the previous review period against what was achieved.


    • Evidence of performance.


    • Achievements for the period under review.
    • Performance against objectives set in previous review period.
    • Objectives that were not achieved, the reasons and the impacts.
    • Suggestions for improvement.
    • Training and development activities undertaken.
    • Mentor feedback.


    • Any problems encountered. Be specific and offer possible solutions.
    • Any specific training needs


    • Suggestions for new Work Plan objectives and how to measure the objectives.
    • Ideas for possible learning and development activities to assist you in achieving your Work Plan objectives and improving your performance.
    • Career planning and possible activities to assist you in achieving your career goals (optional).

    For Supervisors

    The supervisor’s preparation prior to the Planning, Development and Review meeting involves:

    • reviewing the goals and targets outlined in the: (1) University’s Strategic Plan; (2) Faculty/Division Plans; and (3) School/Branch Plans, and identifying how they flow into the local work area and the work of the individual members of staff.
    • familiarising yourself with the work/role of the individual staff member.
    • Familiarising yourself with the leave balances, current workload of the individual as well as knowledge of any declared Conflicts of Interest (if applicable) prior to the PDR meeting
    • identifying how the individual staff member contributes to achieving these goals.
    • reviewing and identifying appropriate workload allocation.
    • developing a position description or reviewing and identifying any changes required in the current position description (Professional Staff only).
    • collecting/collating evidence on the performance during the period under review.
    • identifying areas for further development and/or improvement that need to be addressed in the discussion.

    In addition, identify any specific workplace issues that may need:

  • Should my position description be reviewed as a part of the PDR process?

    If you have a current position description/role statement, this can be used to help develop your work objectives for the year, and will be a useful document to review as part of the process. It may also be an opportunity for you and your supervisor to consider any updates that may be necessary to your position description/role statement if there have been changes to your job since your last PDR conversation.


The University cycle

  • How often should I have a progress review?

    You should have progress reviews regularly. You can provide feedback informally throughout the year, and there are 3 formal PDR conversations – Objective Setting, the Mid Term Review, and the Final Review.

  • Should PDR be conducted on an annual cycle or on my anniversary date?

    PDR is conducted on an annual cycle, using the calendar year as a guide. See the breakdown of PDR stages.

  • Timing - why was the calendar year picked for PDR?

    A common cycle for PDR is required so that everyone completes their reviews by a certain point. There is no one perfect time for all as business and financial planning uses a calendar year approach, so to does PDR.

  • Is PDR a one off process or should there be regular conversations?

    The formal PDR process should include an Objective setting meeting, mid term review and final review, however regular informal discussions and reviews are encouraged to monitor progress and keep plans on track throughout the year.

    It is also good practice to have a discussion if supervisors or roles change - this helps ensure you get timely feedback and know what is expected of you as well as aligning goals and development needs.

    PDR is not a one off process, it is an cyclical process and should compliment ongoing conversations throughout the year.

  • Do I have to have 3 PDR conversations?

    While you may have a number of informal conversations during the year about work objectives, it is important that the formal discussions take place to ensure both staff and supervisors have the opportunity to discuss work objectives, development, performance, development and can also identify any blockages or issues that are posing challenges.

    Whilst it is important that each of these conversations takes place (i.e. objective setting, mid term review and final review), it is possible for the final review and objective setting for the following year to be completed at the same meeting.


Roles and responsibilities

  • Who will participate in the PDR process?

    All staff other than casuals will participate in the PDR process. This includes both academic and professional staff and staff on fixed term contracts till the end of December 2023.

  • Who is responsible for conducting my PDR?

    For professional staff your supervisor is the person you report to.

    For academic staff your supervisor may be your Head of School or Executive Dean. In large departments you may be assigned a supervisor who should have insight into the work you do. If you do not know who your supervisor is you should check with your Head of School.

  • Do I have a PDR plan if I am on probation?

    Yes. Even if you are on probation you should still take part in the Planning, Development and Review process. Your supervisor may note your probationary status on the your PDR plan as well as the probation end date. Please not that probation time frames will vary depending on whether you are a professional or academic staff member.

  • Do I need to participate in PDR if I'm a casual or job share staff?

    Casual staff members are encouraged to also discuss their performance and development issues with their supervisor but do not need to complete a formal plan.

    If you work in a job share capacity you may have the same performance objectives as your counterpart, depending on your level and job responsibilities, however PDR conversations should be conducted individually.

  • What happens if my supervisor changes during the PDR cycle?

    This will happen from time to time. It might be appropriate for your current supervisor to discuss with your previous supervisor your performance since the last PDR discussion. You may want to ask both supervisors to attend the part of your PDR discussion which reviews performance. However your previous supervisor does not need to be involved in setting goals and development plans for the future.

  • What should I do with PDR if the duties of my role have changed during the year?

    You will need to discuss this with your supervisor and agree on a sensible approach. Each situation will be different, however if your role changed during the last 12 months your PDR objectives should have been updated to match your current responsibilities. If this did not happen and your documented objectives are no longer relevant you should discuss this in your meeting or speak to your supervisor before your PDR discussion.

  • What should I do with PDR if I have changed roles within the University?

    If the role is quite different you will discuss and set objectives with the new supervisor. If the role transfer happens in the mid-late part of the year, it may be beneficial to include both supervisors in a review conversation and handover.

  • What should I do with PDR if I have staff who have transferred from another area in the University?

    If objectives have been set in previous role - If the staff member is in a similar role, it may be worthwhile incorporating or considering the objectives that have already been set.

  • When should I conduct PDR with my staff members if I have staff commencing out of line with the PDR cycle?

    No matter what period we are in with the PDR cycle, it is recommended that you meet as soon as practical to discuss expectations of the role, clarify duties and set work and development objectives. This can also be done in conjunction with the first probation meeting. From there you can work towards transitioning to the PDR cycle. For example, if a staff member commencing in the middle of the year may have an Objective Setting meeting and a final review meeting and omit the Mid Term Review. A staff member commencing towards the end of the year may set some short term goals and discuss short term development but commence their formal PDR in the following year.

  • If my supervisor is going away over the time scheduled for PDR what do I do?

    If a supervisor will be away around the period when PDR conversations would be taking place, they will need to advise their direct reports of this and arrange for the PDR conversations to be conducted when they are available, or with alternative supervisor.


Accountability and monitoring

  • With direct reports who work between two managers, who will be the PDR owning manager?

    This should be discussed between managers, with input from the staff member if suitable. In most instances one manager may become the primary ‘owning’ manager for PDR, but it is expected that both managers will provide input into the individual’s review.

  • What happens if my supervisor is not available for the PDR discussion by the due date?

    PDR is compulsory for all staff other than casuals. If there is a difficulty with arranging the meeting you should consult your Executive Dean or Director to ensure alternative arrangements are put in place.

  • If I didn't get the teaching relief support, can I be held accountable?

    Where possible the University seeks to support staff in the achievement of their goals and development. Unfortunately it is not always practical for the University to support all staff requests for support and this will be taken into consideration when reviewing performance achievements. Staff must still demonstrate a reasonable level of achievement with the resources they had available to them.

  • I was absent from work for 6 months. What does that mean for me and my PDR?

    Due to your prolonged absence it is reasonable that your performance will reflect this. It is important to note the length of your absence in your comments and assess your performance and achievements for the time you were at the University.

  • How do I record my PDR?

    Use the relevant PDR Conversation Record to document your PDR conversations.  These PDR Conversation Records can be found at the top of this webpage under 'Recording PDR'. 

  • How do I submit my PDR for recording?

    PDRs are to be submitted through Staff Services Online (SSO) by the relevant deadline. More information about the PDR Cycle and timeframes can be found above. A quick reference guide is available to assist in submitting your PDR and also for supervisors in approving a PDR submission.

  • How will anyone know if my team or I don't participate in PDR?

    All PDRs should be recorded in SSO by the relevant deadlines. Reports are run by HR and periodically provided toHeads of School, Branch Directors and summaries to Executive Deans. PDR participation rates will be reported on annually to council.

  • When is PDR reported on?

    PDR participation at a cohort view is reported annually during April and May based on Objective setting completion of active employees as at 31 March who hold a continuing or fixed-term contract to the end of that year, excluding those on long term leave.

    Management reports are provided to Heads of Schools and Branch Directors on the completion of Objective setting in April and May and on completion of Final Review in December and the following February, using a point in time approach. High level reports are provided at the same time to the Executive Dean.

  • Who is included in the PDR participation report?

    Active employees as at 31 March who hold a continuing or fixed-term contract to the end of that year, excluding those on long term leave at time of reporting.

  • If I have changed roles within the PDR cycle, how should I record my PDR?

    If you have set objectives in your previous role, and confirmed this in Staff Services Online - you will need to discuss with your new supervisor how they would like to record and track PDR. The new set of objectives should be confirmed and stored in the shared drive. If your supervisor would like your PDR confirmed through SSO you are able to contact the HR Service Centre to request for your Objective Setting row to be reset. This will allow you to upload a new PDR document and confirm your PDR with your new supervisor.

    If you have not yet confirmed a PDR in Staff Services Online - you are able to do this following your first objective setting meeting with your new supervisor. You may need to manually update the change of supervisor within the system.

  • What can I do if I disagree with my supervisor's comments on my PDR?

    It is important that you and your Supervisor talk through your PDR form and any comments made. If you disagree with your Supervisor’s comments, you should talk this through with them. If you are not satisfied after discussing this with them, you may wish to talk to the Human Resources Advisor for your Faculty or Business Unit.

  • Will completing the PDR affect my salary increment?

    No. As per the Enterprise Agreement, you will still get your salary increment on your anniversary date. HR will inform you when you are due for incremental progression. Your performance can be an input into the decision to accelerate or withhold payments.

  • Who can access my PDR plan?

    If attached to your SSO entry, you and your supervisor will have access to this document. If not attached it is recommended that storage by managed locally where it can be accessed by you and your supervisor.

  • Are there any other alternatives to the PDR resolution process if I disagree with my supervisor (regarding PDR)?

    Staff can contact HR for advice at any stage of the PDR process. Staff are encouraged to resolve PDR issues and disputes at a local level by discussing it with their Supervisor in the first instance. However, if you unable to resolve the problem with your supervisor, you may follow the Complaint Resolution (Staff) Procedure to resolve the matter, or seek advice from your HR Advisor.

  • Is there a PDR dispute resolution process?

    Please refer to the University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement (as amended) (Clause 8.4 and 8.5) for information about dispute resolution processes.

  • When there is a change in roles e.g. a direct report receives a promotion what happens to their current PDR?

    This depends on the time of year the change in role occurs, it will be managed on a case by case basis. The plan will stay with the individual and in some cases the objectives will need to be updated, in others they will not. Regardless it is important that all managers provide input into the individual’s review.


Setting SMART objectives


Deliverables and expectations

  • What are the timeframes for PDR stages?

    The PDR stages, and associated timeframes are consistant each year. The SSO confirmation deadline varies from year to year and can be checked via the PDR webpage Objective Setting from 1 January to 31 March. The Objective Setting stage allows for clear and meaningful work objectives to be set for the year. It is expected that this planning conversation would include, workload allocations, teaching targets, research expectations, and leave planning. The Objective Setting stage is also an opportunity to discuss development and set development objectives and plans for the year. 

    Mid Term Review from 1 June to 31 July. This stage provides an opportunity to acknowledge and document progress made towards achieving the agreed objectives; to provide coaching or guidance on objectives yet to be achieved; to discuss new opportunities and/or changes in direction; and to discuss progress on individual development goals.

    Final Review from 1 November to 15 January. This stage is to review actual performance outcomes against agreed objectives and to discuss progress made towards development goals and career plans and the impact that this has made. 

    Should you wish to use your final review meeting to also set objectives for the next year, you are welcome to do this however this should be recorded in the PDR tracker as two meetings (one review meeting and one objective setting meeting). The recommended timeframe for this approach is 1 December to 29 February.

  • We are in the proess of major change in my portfolio/unit - do the same PDR deliverables and expectations apply?

    Planning Development and Reviews (PDR) are a basic requirement of our employment at the University. PDR discussions are important because they help all staff to be clear about the University’s and their unit’s goals. They help convey what contribution is expected from you, how you are performing, and what development you might undertake for your current role and for your career. Open and honest conversations are particulary important during periods of change however where necessary objectives, timeframes and deliverables may need to be adjusted in line with the timeframes for, or outcomes of, major change processes.

  • How are the Academic Role Statements used in PDR?

    The minimum performance expectations defined in the Role Statements are one of the inputs to inform the objectives set in the PDR process. Where minimum standards are achieved, staff and supervisors should plan objectives that support high performance, rather than being confined to minimum performance.

  • How are the Individual Academic Profiles (IAPs) used in PDR?

    The Individual Academic Profile (IAP) is a record of existing information from University systems that specifically relates to a staff member's academic achievement in a range of areas including teaching activity, HDR supervision and completion, in addition to publications and research grants.

    The IAP is used to support PDR conversations by providing a collation of evidence of academic achievements to assist in more effciently assessing progress of a staff member's individual objectives. There will be other evidence that a staff member will bring to the conversation, but the IAP provides a core of information that is consistent across the University. Any anomalies with the data in the IAP can be discussed at the PDR meeting and subsequently updated with the relevant data source.

  • How and when will I gain access to my IAP?

    Planning and Analytics will send to each academic staff member by email their IAP in February and July. Heads of School will access all reports through a network shared folder.

  • What kind of support is available for PDR?

    PDR workshops are offered each year, visit the Training section of the PDR webpage for links to the PDR workshops where you will find more information and registration.

    There are also a number of online resources available in the Support Resources section of this webpage to support supervisors and staff to achieve meaningful outcomes from the PDR process. Online resources are being updated all the time, and include policies and procedures, FAQs, forms and templates, and links to useful information and resources. 

  • What if I haven't been trained in PDR?

    If you believe you need additional training and have not attended a targeted training session, you can speak with your supervisor to determine the most suitable approach to developing your PDR capability. In addition to training, There are online resources which may assist you in conducting PDR meetings with your staff members.

    For further information please visit the Performance and Development website.

  • Do I have to use a form for PDR?

    The PDR conversation record is a template to help ensure you cover all the relevant componets of an effective Planning, Development and Review discussion. It is able to be edited where needed to suit the needs of the staff member and supervisor.