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Staff Development Procedure - Performance Development Process: Academic Staff

Parent policy

Staff Development Policy


Monash University relies on the high quality teaching and research of its academic community to ensure that it provides the highest quality education for Monash students and performs research which is relevant and innovative. The performance development process for academic staff supports these objectives by:

  • encouraging a culture of continuous learning and performance improvement;
  • applying the principles of growth, feedback and accountability to the way that we work; and
  • demonstrating the University’s commitment to developing and retaining the talents of academic staff.

The performance development process is a planning and review cycle that supports staff to reach their full career potential and to achieve their work goals through:

  • the provision of professional development opportunities (growth);
  • regular, meaningful performance conversations with their performance supervisor and a process of giving and receiving constructive feedback (feedback); and
  • clearly identifiable and documented performance development plans that create an awareness of the staff member’s contribution toward faculty, campus and university goals (accountability).

The process operates on a three year forward planning cycle that allows annual adjustments for changing priorities and circumstances. The process is intended to be a dynamic and interactive one between staff and supervisors which encourages trust and regular, open communication.

The process is coordinated with the University’s planning cycle to effectively align individual goals with faculty and University objectives.

This procedure applies to all continuing academic staff on a fraction of 0.4 or greater, fixed term academic staff on probation and all academic staff seeking promotion to the next level or intending to apply through the Outside Studies Program (OSP).

Staff on performance-based contracts may elect to use the Performance Development Online (PDO) tool to assist in their annual performance planning, with the approval of their supervisor.  However, by doing so the staff member acknowledges that:

  • use of the PDO does not alter or diminish the staff member's obligations or the University's rights in relation to managing performance under the staff member's performance-based contract; and
  • the annual review and any assessment of performance will be conducted in accordance with the performance-based contract.  The supervisor may use the information from the PDO when undertaking that annual performance review or in assessing performance.

Adjunct and Conjoint appointees are exempt from this procedure.


Academic promotion: a process by which academic staff are promoted at Monash University based on merit.

Academic performance development plan: a planning template for academic staff to record three-year career and performance plans, strategies, annual achievement indicators and achievements. The template is accessible via the Performance Development Online (PDO) system.

Academic performance supervisor: see definition for Supervisor

Academic performance standards: faculty or discipline specific performance standards for all academic staff against which academic performance will be measured, particularly for the purpose of probation, promotion and performance development. The standards are qualitative, quantitative or a mixture of both across the three key areas of academic activity - research, education and service. They include identified minimum performance standards, below which the staff member would be managed for unsatisfactory performance in accordance with the Staff Development Procedure – Managing Unsatisfactory Performance: Academic Staff.

The required performance standard:

  • is established by the supervisor with the staff member;
  • is at or above the ‘minimum’ level of academic performance for the candidate’s current level according to faculty-specific academic performance standards;
  • contains clear and defined criteria for performance that are measurable; and
  • contains criteria that are either qualitative or quantitative or a mixture of both.

Achievement indicators: a detailed summary of performance outputs that demonstrate the achievement of or progress towards agreed goals in any given year.

Achievement(s) relative to opportunity: is an evaluative framework in which the overall quality and impact of achievements is given more weight than the quantity, rate or breadth of particular achievements. Assessing achievements relative to opportunity involves giving consideration to circumstances, arrangements, career histories and overall time available to the staff member. This in turn allows appropriate evaluation of achievements in relation to:

  • the quantum or rate of productivity,
  • the opportunity to participate in certain types of activities, and
  • the consistency of activities or output over the period of consideration.

Achievement relative to opportunity is a positive acknowledgement of what a staff member can and has achieved given the opportunities available and is not about providing “special consideration” or expecting lesser standards of performance.

Adjunct appointments: persons who are not currently staff members of the University, but whose professional standing or specialist expertise would contribute to the teaching or research activities of a particular department or research centre in the University. Normally, such appointments are unpaid.

Annual work allocation: a combination of self-directed and assigned tasks in research, education and service allocated through Faculty Workload Models for teaching and research academic staff as described in Clause 59, Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2014. The starting point for discussions about allocation of work is 40% teaching, 40% research and scholarship and 20% other activities. In the case of education-focused academic staff, workload allocation will have a significantly greater emphasis placed on teaching and teaching scholarship with a consequent reduction in expectations for research.

Conflict of commitment: occurs when one interest of a staff member, which may, or may not be a private interest or non-University interest may harm or interfere with the productivity or involvement of that staff member in aspects of their University responsibilities. It may concern the staff member’s distribution of efforts between employment obligations to the University and to outside activities. Conflicts of commitment can occur in research where the staff member’s non-University activities harm or interfere with the staff member's research obligations.

Conflict of interest: refers to a situation where a conflict arises for an individual between two competing interests. These are often, but not exclusively, interests of public duty versus private interests. This refers to a reasonably perceived, potential or actual conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest can involve financial or non-financial interests of the staff member, and the interests of a business partner or associate, family member, friend or person in a close personal relationship with the staff member. For further information refer to Conduct and Compliance Procedure – Conflict of interest.

Conjoint appointments: usually a professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences who is also the Director of a clinical centre in a hospital, and who is actually employed and paid by the hospital on hospital employment conditions, but by virtue of his/her employment contract with Monash has the status of professor.

Feedback: the primary means for recognising good performance and for redirecting performance that needs improvement. Feedback is an ongoing activity that is usually information based, regular, immediate, informal and verbal. It is used to build trust and relationships in the workplace.

Head of unit: the head of unit/school/department/centre or director or, where applicable, a person acting as his or her nominee. If there are no heads of unit within the faculty, a deputy dean or equivalent may be delegated the head of unit’s responsibilities for the academic performance development process.

HR Business Partner: is a key member of the Monash HR Business Partnering community and provides strategic advice, guidance and solutions that underpin key client goals, HR strategy and organisational vision to a particular client group.

Intellectual property: any copyright work, circuit layout, eligible layout, design, patent, invention, confidential information, know-how, plant variety, trade mark or other insignia of origin, and any related right. Staff duty to engage in research during any performance period includes a duty to carry forward the fruits of the research - for instance to invent things in the course of research and to co-operate with the University to commercialise or to patent any invention(s). Staff must also assign any intellectual property or invention created in the course of employment with the University, to the University, from the date the intellectual property comes into existence. Note that under the Monash University Intellectual Property Regulation staff must not publish or otherwise disclose any patent worthy discovery or invention or any intellectual property (other than copyright belonging to the staff member under the Monash University IP statute and regulations) until such publication is approved in writing by the Intellectual Property Officer or nominee.

Outside studies program (OSP): provides academic staff with a period of relief from normal University duties to pursue research and other scholarly work to enhance staff member's development, extend the body of knowledge in their chosen field and improve research performance. For more information refer to the Staff Development Procedure – Outside Studies Program.

Paid outside work: work undertaken outside of a staff member’s normal duties that may reasonably be construed as either university or private practice. Paid outside work requires prior written approval from the Dean. It may only be included as part of university practice where the University is party to the contract under which the work is undertaken. For more information refer to the Conduct and Compliance Procedure – Paid outside work.

Performance Development Online (PDO): an online performance planning tool that supports academic staff to manage the performance development cycle in a timely and consistent way. It is a hosted, web-based product that is easy to use, offers a secure repository for documentation, streamlines user data entry via SAP and ROPES feeds and gives heads of unit and deans oversight of unit/faculty performance development activity.

Performance development portfolio: evidence or material that supports the staff member’s claims of progress made and goals achieved such as awards received, articles published, SETU data, books written and any other relevant evidence. These documents may be stored electronically within the Portfolio Attachments section of the staff member’s PDO plan.

Performance goals: are rolling three-year performance goals that will enable a staff member to achieve their work objectives and career aspirations. They should be concise, measurable, achievable, and address relevant areas of academic activity in education, research and service. Academic staff must have a minimum of two performance goals in their performance development plan each year. Performance goals are automatically carried across from one annual cycle to the next in the PDO system and staff can amend them as required at the start of the each performance cycle.

Performance improvement: the process of professional growth through targeted learning and development activities.

Probationary period: is the period of probation as referred to in Clause 58 of the relevant Enterprise Agreement (Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2014 or Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2009). Periods of probation are managed via the relevant procedure. For staff appointed prior to October 7th, 2014: Recruitment, Selection and Appointment procedure – probation and confirmation of academic appointments made prior to October 7th, 2014. Staff appointed on or after October 7th, 2014 are managed via the Recruitment, Selection and Appointment procedure – probation and confirmation of academic appointments made on or after October 7th, 2014.

Relevant personal circumstances: may include family responsibilities (for example child rearing, elder-care, illness of a partner or dependant), a temporary or permanent disability, relevant cultural expectations or circumstances, periods of part-time working and/or absences due to ill-health or injury.

Research only academic staff: an academic staff member engaged on research only functions for a contract period not exceeding five years.

ROPES: the Researcher's Online Project Enquiry System (ROPES) displays researchers' current research activities, past outputs and profiling information and enables them to establish collaborative links with their fellows. ROPES autopopulates the relevant fields of the PDO system nightly to ensure an accurate summary of research outputs is maintained for each academic staff member. The ROPES data includes research achievements for the past three years, as entered on Research Master 4.

SAP: the University’s Human Resource Information System with staff personal and employment information, including pay and leave details, organisational reporting structures, training records, probationary periods and incremental approvals.

SETU (Student Evaluation of Teaching and Unit): is the University’s online teaching and unit evaluation instrument.

Strategies: proposed programs, methods, projects or other courses of action developed for the attainment of a career and/or work goal.

Supervisor: the person who is responsible for managing the performance of a staff member. This will be the immediate academic line manager, unless the University nominates an alternative supervisor at level C or above. The supervisor must be trained to effectively perform his or her role in the performance development process and in the process and methods of providing feedback. Where a staff member has two or more supervisors, one should be nominated as the primary supervisor.

Unsatisfactory performance: when a satisfactory level of performance is not sustained or the desired performance improvement is not achieved. Refer to Staff Development Procedure – Managing Unsatisfactory Performance: Academic Staff


Academic Performance Development Process

The performance planning cycle commences in September each year, however may be finalised as late as February at the discretion of the dean (or equivalent) and in accordance with the operational planning activities and timelines set for each faculty/portfolio/campus/centre.

Step 1. Supervisors meeting

The dean or head of unit identifies academic performance supervisors for the coming performance cycle.

Changes to performance supervisor details on SAP and PDO can be made by contacting your HR Business Partner.

The head of unit meets with the academic performance supervisors to convey expectations and to clarify goals and objectives for the school or department for the coming year in the context of the faculty plan and other university plans. As part of the meeting they will reflect upon achievements and challenges of the past year against previously agreed goals.

Step 2 Annual performance development review and planning

The staff member and supervisor meet to review achievements for the past 12 months, revise three-year career and performance goals and plan strategies and achievement indicators for the coming year.

The performance supervisor will advise staff in writing of the planned timelines for submitting and reviewing performance plans. The timing of the annual review and planning meetings will be aligned with the University and faculty planning cycle.

The dean may exempt a staff member from the obligation of submitting an annual portfolio as long as this does not prejudice the University’s enforcement of other elements of Clause 64 of the Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2014 (for example performance assessment, recommendations in relation to tenure, promotion and OSP). Deans should exercise caution when granting exemptions and consult with a Workplace Relations Consultant for further advice.

2.1 Prior to the annual meeting

In preparing for the annual meeting at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance, the staff member and supervisor will:

  • schedule the meeting for a mutually suitable time and date, in a private location, free from interruptions; and
  • reflect on performance and career progress during the past 12 months in the three key areas of research, education and service.

At least 2 weeks in advance the staff member will:

  • access their online plan via the performance development online (PDO) system;
  • record actual annual achievements and comments in the relevant sections of the current plan;
  • collate relevant information for the performance development portfolio, including all SETU data and any mid-cycle feedback meeting outcomes (if applicable);
  • record in the Overall Comments section any relevant personal circumstances that will facilitate as assessment of his or her achievements relative to opportunity;
  • attach his or her performance development portfolio to the current plan;
  • enter career aspirations, three-year performance goals, strategies, annual achievement indicators and annual work allocations into a new plan for the next performance cycle;
  • ensure that the current and new plans are submitted to the performance supervisor with the performance development portfolio; and
  • consider specific areas for giving or receiving feedback.

When completing their own performance development plans heads of unit, deans, pro vice-chancellors, deputy vice-chancellors, campus directors and centre/institute directors will also record their leadership plans, strategies and indicators in the leadership section of the plan.

In addition, academic performance supervisors will:

  • prepare to discuss career and development strategies;
  • note which of their staff are subject to probationary periods;
  • be aware of outstanding issues related to grievance and disciplinary procedures;
  • have completed Equal Opportunity on-line training; and
  • consider if they need to complete performance development training.

All performance supervisors are required to complete supervisor training that covers the process and methods of giving feedback prior to undertaking supervisory responsibilities.

The training requirements for performance supervisors are as follows.

  • Supervisors must attend a supervisor workshop if they are new to a supervisory role, or if they have not previously undertaken performance development training, or if they have been directed to update their knowledge and skills in this subject matter by their supervisor.
  • Supervisors may attend the supervisor workshop if they have already completed training but would like refresher training.
  • Experienced supervisors who have previously completed relevant training in this subject matter can contact the Staff Development Unit in Monash HR to apply to have their previous training recognised.

Supervisors can book into the supervisor’s workshop via the Monash University Staff Development web page. Supervisors should contact their faculty’s HR Business Partner if they are unsure of whether or not they should undertake performance development training.

2.2 During the annual meeting

Supervisors will facilitate the annual review and planning discussion.

In reviewing the past 12 months, the staff member and supervisor will:

* Note that the supervisor must address performance issues related to disciplinary procedures in accordance with clauses 52 and 53, Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2014.

In planning for the next three year period, the staff member and supervisor will:

  • discuss career goals and objectives for the coming three years;
  • agree to three year performance goals, strategies and annual achievement indicators, linked to faculty / University goals, academic performance standards and KPI’s (refer to Planning at Monash University);
  • discuss any relevant personal circumstances that may be applicable to assessing the staff member’s achievements relative to opportunity;
  • agree to professional development goals, including those in relation to academic promotion and the outside studies program;
  • discuss annual work load allocation within the maximum allocated hours limit; and
  • for staff on probation, schedule a mid-cycle feedback meeting (to be conducted during the months of June to August).

When the review and planning meeting is over the staff member will make any changes required to their performance development plan.

2.3 Following the annual meeting

When the review and planning meeting is over the supervisor will:

  • consider if further time is needed for the staff member to complete his or her plan;
  • comment on the staff member’s achievements relative to opportunity and progress towards achieving the staff member’s articulated goals;
  • where relevant, inform the staff member of their recommendation in relation to accelerated progression or review for tenure;
  • consult with the head of unit about staff appointments that are approaching the end of their probationary period; and
  • record supervisor comments in the relevant section of the plan, noting any mitigating circumstances relating to an absence of planned or unplanned leave.

Step 3. Mid-cycle feedback meeting (probationary staff only)

Only academic staff on probation are required to participate in a mid-cycle feedback meeting however supervisors are encouraged to meet with all staff regularly throughout the year to provide informal and constructive feedback on the staff member’s progress towards the performance goals.

At the mid-cycle feedback meeting, the probationary staff member and supervisor will give and receive feedback on progress made toward goals set in the annual meeting, and review and revise plans as appropriate.

3.1 Prior to the mid-cycle meeting

In preparing for the meeting at least 2 weeks in advance, the staff member and supervisor will reflect on performance and progress over the past 6 months.

The staff member will:

  • revise relevant information collected for the performance development portfolio; and
  • record any relevant personal circumstances in the Overall Comments section to facilitate an assessment of his or her achievements relative to opportunity; and
  • consider specific and priority areas for giving or receiving feedback and advise their supervisor.

Supervisors will note which of their staff are subject to probationary periods.

3.2 During the mid-cycle meeting

In reviewing the past 6 months, the staff member and supervisor will:

  • discuss achievements relative to opportunity and progress toward each annual achievement indicator;
  • discuss achievements and progress in relation to the faculty’s academic performance standards applicable to the staff member’s level;
  • discuss progress in relation to probationary appointment (where relevant);
  • discuss other strategies to support the achievement of performance goals and career aspirations;
  • review suitability of goals in light of changing circumstances;
  • give feedback on general performance (supervisor), support and development (staff);
  • discuss intellectual property, patent worthy discoveries or inventions to ensure compliance with the Monash University Intellectual Property Regulations;
  • review as relevant, any outstanding issues related to conduct and compliance policies such as conflict of interest and paid outside work;
  • record summary comments; and
  • agree on the next annual review and planning meeting date.

Following the meeting the staff member and supervisor will ensure that any agreed variations are recorded in the staff member’s performance development plan.

In addition the supervisor will participate in the probation review process of staff who are at the end of their probationary period as set out in the ‘Recruitment, Selection and Appointment Procedures - Probation and Confirmation of Appointment’ and Clause 58 of the relevant Enterprise Agreement (Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2014 or Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2009).

Performance development portfolio

The staff member collects a portfolio of documents throughout the year to present for review at the performance development meetings. These may include a range of documents that can be used to substantiate staff performance and achievements, including:

  • current research activities
  • publications
  • grants
  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae
  • SETU data
  • peer reviews
  • testimonials
  • written feedback
  • awards or other forms of recognition.

The staff member must include his or her SETU data in the performance development portfolio. If the staff member fails to include the data, the supervisor and/or the head of unit may request that the staff member add the data to the performance development portfolio. If the staff member still neglects to provide the data, the performance supervisor and/or head of unit may request the data directly from the Monash Quality Unit.


Academic staff

The academic staff member is responsible for:

  • completing their own performance development plan;
  • aligning their annual and 3 year goals to the university’s objectives for research, teaching and service excellence;
  • aligning their annual and 3-year goals to the faculty’s academic performance standards for research, teaching and service applicable to the staff member’s level;
  • maintaining an up-to-date portfolio of evidence to substantiate performance, promotion and probation (including all SETU data);
  • actively seeking opportunities for professional development;
  • where necessary, disclosing relevant personal circumstances to facilitate an assessment of the staff member’s achievements relative to opportunity;
  • attending staff briefing sessions on the Performance Development Process: Academic Staff;
  • completing all mandatory training including induction, online equal opportunity and occupational health and safety; and
  • following this and all related procedures and policies.

Academic supervisor

The academic performance supervisor is responsible for:

  • ensuring they are trained as a performance supervisor, both in the performance development process and in the process and methods of providing feedback before undertaking supervisory responsibilities;
  • providing ongoing, regular and constructive feedback to staff;
  • advising and coaching their staff on available development options;
  • encouraging staff to disclose any relevant personal circumstance to facilitate an assessment of the staff member’s achievements relative to opportunity;
  • reassuring the staff member that any personal information provided will be kept confidential and only used to help make a contextual and holistic assessment of the staff member’s achievements;
  • approving the staff performance development plans;
  • ensuring that staff plans are aligned to the unit/school/department/centre and university goals;
  • ensuring that staff plans are aligned to the academic performance standards applicable to each staff member’s level;
  • ensuring that staff have completed induction and online training in Equity & Diversity and Occupational Health & Safety;
  • allocating and monitoring staff workloads, ensuring that they don’t exceed maximum limits;
  • meeting with the staff member annually to review performance and development progress;
  • meeting with staff members on probation to review performance and development progress annually and mid-cycle;
  • acknowledging completed plans at the end of the annual review period; and
  • following this and all related procedures and policies.

Where a staff member has more than one supervisor, the nominated primary supervisor is responsible for consulting with the other supervisors of a staff member to determine the plan and review comments.

Performance development supervisors must ensure that they are adequately trained in the performance development process. This is vital to the success of the performance development process and also gives supervisor’s authorisation to recommend and sign off staff incremental outcomes.

Head of unit

The head of school / head of department is responsible for:

  • taking a leadership role in developing the school or department’s strategic and operational planning and managing the school/department to achieve its strategic direction and goals;
  • providing clear direction to staff and supervisors on expected deliverables and annual indicators for the unit, including communicating the applicable Faculty-specific academic performance standards;
  • providing guidance for improving the effectiveness of teaching, research and service outcomes;
  • monitoring and evaluating the school/department’s teaching, research and community engagement activities in relation to comparable schools/departments both within and outside the University;
  • ensuring that the unit’s performance development supervisors have attended a performance development workshop for supervisors; and
  • mentoring academic staff as required.

Monash HR Responsibilities

HR Business Partner

The HR Business Partner is responsible for

  • providing supervisors, heads of unit and deans with reports on PDO participation, on request;
  • assisting supervisors, heads of unit and deans with understanding the requirements of the performance development process;
  • monitoring the mid-cycle reviews for academic staff on probation; and
  • on notification from a staff member, arranging for performance supervisor details to be updated in the PDO system.

Workforce Policy and Performance

Workforce Policy and Performance is responsible for:

  • maintaining this procedure and related procedures and documents;
  • ensuring compliance of procedures with the University’s Enterprise Agreement (EA);
  • updating this procedure in consultation and communication with key stakeholders;
  • ensuring leadership coaches and workplace relations consultants are kept up to date with the University’s performance development requirements; and
  • generally providing advice and support with regard to the Performance Development Process: Academic Staff

Office of Planning & Quality

The Office of Planning and Quality is responsible for providing a range of evaluation services including maintaining the SETU data that must be included in an academic staff member’s performance development portfolio. If a staff member fails to include his or her SETU data in the performance development portfolio and continues to neglect providing the data following a specific request from the performance supervisor and/or head of unit, The Office of Planning and Quality will release the data directly to the performance supervisor and/or head of unit. Refer to The Office of Planning and Quality

Research Office

The Monash University Research Office is responsible for the provision of the Researchers Online Projects Enquiry System (ROPES), used to help pull together the various data required for tracking an individual's research activity. Refer to Information for Monash Researchers.

Related procedures

Related enterprise agreement clauses

Related documents

Version: 3.2
Effective date: 27 May 2016
Procedure author: Director, Workplace Relations
Procedure owner: Executive Director, Monash HR