Training and Development

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All staff are entitled to a conversation that is dedicated to their personal and career development, gives them the opportunity to agree goals and objectives and creates an environment in which feedback can be heard and received. This is part of effective people management. We refer to these conversations as PDR (Personal Development Reviews) or CDR (Career Development Review) if you are a researcher. To be eligible for a PDR discussion, staff members need to be beyond their probation period; this is not the case for CDRs.

PDR and CDR should be a constructive, transparent dialogue between the reviewee and reviewer (normally your line manager or supervisor). After the conversation the form should be finalised and agreed. This page has comprehensive links to key guidance documents and templates to help plan and get the most from your PDR or CDR.


The PDR and CDR process

  • The reviewee prepares for the PDR or CDR conversation by completing the PDR or CDR form ahead of the meeting. This encourages consideration of the reviewee's achievements over the last year; any changes in their responsibilities; any progress or barriers in meeting objectives, training and development activities; workload and their working environment. The reviewee is also asked to propose objectives for the next year, and any training required in order to meet these.
  • The reviewee sends the PDR or CDR form to the reviewer, to which the reviewer adds their own reflections. Both parties meet, using the form as a discussion prompt for the PDR or CDR conversation and agree a set of objectives and training needs for the coming year. These objectives are reviewed at regular one to one conversations during the year and revised as needed.

PDRs and CDRs are managed centrally by the Materials HR Team, who can provide further information about the process.


Preparing for your PDR or CDR*

*Please note that when referring to PDR, the same is applicable for CDR

PDR Principles: find out more about the essentials and principles of PDR.

PDR for Reviewees: guide for reviewees on how to make the most of your PDR and have effective career conversations.

PDR for Reviewers: guide for reviewers on their role in the PDR, how to agree objectives, learning and development conversations, and career conversations with members of staff.

specific guide has been prepared for PIs conducting a CDR with research staff. 

small guide has been prepared to support through the PDR process. 

Should you wish to have 1-2-1 or small group PDR planning support, or discuss setting objectives, this is available through the HR Manager.


Schedule for PDR and CDR

  • February-April 2021 PDR and CDR conversations scheduled and taking place in all teams flexibly to fit with work programmes
  • End of April: all PDRs and CDRs should be completed with action plans developed and agreed
  • All completed, agreed and signed off PDRs and CDRs to be sent to the HR Manager (via by 30 April 2021
  • Post-completion onwards it is a live document so do use it to check in within your regular 1-2-1s and informal catch ups.


The impact of COVID-19

We have undoubtedly experienced an unprecedented period of uncertainty and change due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Working remotely has perhaps added a more complex dimension to day-to-day people management and keeping on track with respective objectives. It is also reasonable to expect that team members will be feeling a degree of anxiety and uncertainty about the future. The PDR is also a chance to reflect on what has been achieved, wellbeing strategies, and plans for the future. Please visit the POD guide on managing PDRs during COVID-19.


The purpose of the probationary period is to ensure that, when starting a new appointment, you are able within a reasonable period of time to gain a full understanding of the requirements of the post and to achieve a satisfactory level of performance.

In practice this means that while monitoring your performance in your new post, your supervisor should ensure that you have sufficient information to settle into your role, or training enabling you to undertake the required duties. Throughout your employment here in the Department you will meet regularly with your supervisor, either individually or as part of regular team meetings. At the mid-point of your probation period you and your supervisor will be asked to have a meeting to discuss your personal progress, considering any additional support that you may need. If any issues which need attention are identified, these should be agreed, with a timetable for implementing/improving them.

Your supervisor will confirm your progress and if there are concerns these will be addressed through a suitable action plan. If by the end of your probation period you are judged to be performing satisfactorily, your appointment will be confirmed.

Any questions should be addressed to the HR Team.