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One of the primary aims of the People & Culture Strategy, People First, was for Queen’s to become a true listening organisation. We’ve been making a real effort to find out what our people have to say about their experience working at the University.

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In October 2018, our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Greer, chaired the first meeting of the Staff Forum where discussion focussed on our approach to Appraisal. The Forum and the detailed feedback exercise that followed revealed that employees find the current Appraisal process administratively heavy and time-consuming. It is not thought to deliver sufficient positive impact on job performance or career development, and there is a lack of cohesion and integration across the various performance management mechanisms at Queen’s.

It was clear from what you told us that we need to do more to support our staff and to make Appraisal effective. The VC has now announced that a review of the process is underway and Appraisal will not take place in their current format again. Instead, we will create a process that focusses positively and effectively on staff development and progression. It will reflect the value that we place on our people and will produce meaningful outcomes that enable staff not only to fulfil their current role with excellence, but also supports career progression.  

The new system will be user-friendly and intuitive, reducing the time spent on completing Appraisal paperwork. We will streamline all aspects of our performance management framework, with Appraisal linked to related processes in an annual cycle. Condensing these tasks will free up staff time to focus on their own development and deliverables.

A working group has been established to oversee this review, chaired by Professor Richard English, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement, with the aim of launching the new appraisal system by November 2019. 

As part of People First, we are focusing on Employee Experience, Talent and Culture.  The Appraisal Review will facilitate a more empowering approach towards developing our own talent, and also create a culture that will reinforce pride in Queen’s and ensure that it is a great place to work.