The University of Western Australia
This policy defines the principles for the use of various feedback mechanisms used within the University for management and leadership development purposes, to assist with the appraisal of senior employees' performance in conjunction with contract renewal and for feedback of staff performance sought for other management purposes.
" Fixed Term Employment" means employment for a specified term or ascertainable period, for which a letter of appointment will specify the starting and finishing dates of that employment.
"Senior Employee" means a person employed by the University at the Academic level of Dean or above and the Professional level of level 10, grade 3 or above.
"Supervisor" means the person responsible for the day to day supervision of the employee.
"360 degree survey tool" means a structured process where feedback is provided by subordinates, peers, supervisors, and sometimes other people who have experience of the subject's working style.
"University" means The University of Western Australia.
The University uses various feedback mechanisms for different purposes.
Formal 360 degree survey tools have been integrated into the University's leadership programs with the aim of providing managers with insight into their leadership and communication styles.
The 360 degree survey tool may be adopted as part of the professional development review process for senior employees.
Feedback may also be sought as part of the Performance Appraisal Report which will not use the 360 degree review process. In these instances the feedback is focused on performance in the role.
All feedback processes must ensure the integrity of management practices at the University are maintained.
This policy describes the principles under which 360 degree tools and other forms of feedback are to be used.
1.1 Development Purposes
The 360 degree feedback process is used for management and leadership development and is therefore generally only used for employees with managerial or significant supervisory roles, or employees who are expected to assume such roles in the near future.
The University applies several different tools, depending on the particular phase of development of the individual.
The process may be completed as either part of a structured development program or as an individual, stand alone exercise. It would typically be delivered through Organisational and Staff Development Services (OSDS).
It is important that feedback from 360 degree reviews is provided by trained facilitators. The interpretation, communication and debriefing of the exercise are very important aspects of the process. Participants normally implement a development plan to act on the feedback received.
360 degree feedback can be very useful as part of a focused development plan that includes coaching, development work with a leadership team and further exposure to leadership theory and practice. This would form part of the professional development review process.
The outcomes from the 360 degree are confidential to the individual, who may reveal the outcomes if they so choose. It is strongly recommended that the subsequent development plan be discussed with their supervisor.
Research indicates there is little value in conducting 360 degree surveys annually. One would not expect dramatic changes in outcomes from year to year, although it may be useful to have a follow up 360 degree survey after an agreed period.
1.2 Senior employees on fixed term employment
When a senior employee is appointed on a fixed term contract (typically five years), consideration should be given to undertaking a 360 degree after their first year in the job and towards the end of the fourth year, or start of the fifth year. The development plan should form part of the professional development review process and support will be needed to enact the agreed outcomes.
There are times when it may be appropriate to seek feedback on a Dean, Director or Manager's performance to gain supplementary information, for example when considering contract renewal.
It is not appropriate that a 360 degree survey tool be used as part of contract renewal. Feedback for contract renewal purposes is focussed on performance in a role, whereas formal 360 degree survey tools are more broad.
When seeking feedback on an employee's performance, there are various principles of procedural fairness which must be taken into account. The mechanism for assessing employee performance is the performance appraisal report (PAR) and seeking feedback is a legitimate part of this process. However, the person best placed to make a judgement on the performance of an employee is their supervisor, who should conduct the review and appraisal process. Therefore, the supervisor's direct observation should be the primary evidence. When additional feedback is sought, it should only be used as supplementary information.
When feedback on employee performance is sought from others, the following measures should be taken:
2.1 The supervisor and the employee being reviewed should establish an agreed list of people from whom feedback will be sought on a private and confidential basis. It may be noted, however, that the individual feedback may become accessible under freedom of information (FOI) legislation.
2.2 Those approached for feedback should normally be direct reports and peers of the employee being reviewed. It should be noted that this feedback can be limited as they generally only experience one aspect of the employee's work role. Where feedback is sought by others it should be restricted to areas on which they are qualified to comment.
2.3 Often, it will be useful to employ a consultant, external to the University, to assist in this process collecting information and providing summary feedback. This strengthens the impartiality and confidentiality of the process. An external process is essential if there is reasonable concern that performance is insufficient to warrant continuation or extension of a contract. It should be noted that even through an external process, feedback could still potentially be obtained under freedom of information legislation.
2.4 Decisions in relation to contract renewal should be made by the supervisor on the basis of evidence accumulated. This should come from the PAR assessment of achievement of results, issues raised during the previous contract and the supervisor's assessment. Feedback should be used to supplement the supervisor's assessment, not as the primary tool. It should be noted that generally fixed term contracts expire through the effluxion of time and that there is not an obligation to offer further employment. In such circumstances, it is important to ensure the required notice under the employee's contract is given.
Policy No: UP 11/44
Approving body or position:
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Date original policy approved:
Date this version of policy approved:
Date policy to be reviewed:
Date this version of procedures approved:
TRIM File No: F39878
Associate Director, HR Policy & Planning
Related Policies or legislation: