Personal Development Reviews
Every member of staff should have the opportunity to have an annual PDR.
- Professor Richard Hobbs, Head of Department.
The department's Better Workplace Group works towards ensuring the department is a supportive and encouraging environment for all staff and students. These resources have been collated by group members and our HR team to help you make the most of your PDR.
What is a PDR?
The Personal Development Review (PDR) is a chance to review and appraise your development as a staff member. It is intended as a constructive and proactive approach to the management and development of staff within the organisation, and should be viewed as a two-way process between the reviewer (often the named line manager) and reviewee.
What are the advantages of having a PDR?
Broadly speaking the review:
- Is an opportunity to reflect on any achievement of, or progress against, agreed objectives and development goals and summarises achievements since the last review.
- Allows mutual agreement, between both parties, of clear work objectives and clarifies expectations
- Identifies any development needed to enable reviewees to do their jobs to the agreed standards and to develop capabilities needed in the context of becoming a rounded and capable member of the department.
Competency and development frameworks:
This is an opportunity to identify areas of personal development, to gain a broader range of skills you will need in order to succeed. Competency and development frameworks can provide a structured way to approach this:
- Researchers - Researcher Development Framework
- Administrators - Association of University Administrators CPD Framework
- Trial Managers - Trial Managers' Network Competency Framework
Getting ready for your PDR
Fund your development
The staff development fund provides funding for training and conferences.
Further training & advice
PDR Skills Guides
Whether you are a reviewee or a reviewer, find out why a PDR matters and how to make it effective
Oxford Learning Institute
Offers more than 50 courses, advice to develop yourself and your team and support for those who teach, supervise, manage or lead.
Guide to Staff Development
An introduction to development at Oxford for professional and support staff.
Support for researchers
Oxford provides a huge range of support for research staff, ranging from help finding funding, to career advice, to guidance for new PIs.
Women in Science
Providing support to women making career decisions, by offering them the opportunity to explore a broad range of experiences shared by other women through video interviews.
Making the most of your personal development review
In this 20-minute podcast, get a taster of the department's upcoming PDR training on 19 November with Bill Dunn, Oxford University's Professional Development Advisor.
Why are PDRs valuable?
“I find the annual PDR immensely helpful because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on and discuss my personal development with my line manager. Without this encouragement I might have neglected career planning in order to focus on more immediate work priorities. Discussing the PDR also helps me frame and plan my work so it better fits in the bigger picture of my career development. This increases work enjoyment and fulfilment as I can see how everything I am doing can contribute to my long-term goals. The PDR is not just about productively learning from things that have gone less well, but also about recognising and celebrating achievements."
Researcher, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
Case-study: Why was the PDR so important to me?
A mid-career researcher had two pre-school age children; the family lived a few miles out of Oxford and the children were given places in a university nursery close to the staff member’s place of work.
At her appraisal, the staff member raised the issue that she sometimes needed to work on academic papers and this was difficult in a busy shared office. Her line manager suggested that she might work from home on the days she allocated to academic writing. But the discussion revealed that this would involve bringing the children into Oxford to nursery and then commuting back home, and repeating this journey in the afternoon to collect them (a total of 2–2.5 hours each day, depending on traffic).
The line manager summarised this problem to the head of HR, who agreed that a quiet working space in the workplace was needed on writing days, and took steps to arrange this on a shared basis.
If you have any questions or concerns about the PDR process please contact Clare Wickings firstname.lastname@example.org All discussions will remain confidential if requested.