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​End of Year Review – Senior Manager Guidance 


The University is ambitious and aspires to continuously improve. Having regular career and performance conversations enables us to support colleagues to fulfil their own ambitions. Effective conversations, as part of the MyContribution process, can hold us all accountable to achieving our career goals and delivering the University Strategy. We want to recognise the difference colleagues are making and support individuals to make changes that impact the people we work with, the places we work and the world we live in. The conversations we have and the evidence we gather during the MyContribution process is how we recognise achievements and provide additional support, if required.



Why is performance management so important? 

  • ​Effective performance management at all levels in the organisation is a key enabler to ensure we deliver our annual plan and stay focused on strategic priorities. It gives us the opportunity to measure the delivery/achievement of critical priorities for the individual as well as the School/Service area.
  • ​Providing clear strategic direction will help to ensure the achievement of impactful annual individual objectives and activities. 
  • Effective performance management enables appropriate emphasis on personal and career development for every colleague in line with the University’s values and ambition and individuals’ career aspirations. 
  • Through Managers setting consistent objectives and holding regular, meaningful and supportive performance conversations we will develop a culture where staff feel connected and supported, and this should be reflected in our Employee Engagement outcomes. 
  • Solid performance management practices are the foundation; other linked aspects such as succession planning, staff retention, senior level pay and reward, talent management, and career progression will not be as effective as they could be if the performance management process is not used effectively 


What is the process for Senior Managers? 


Preparing for your end of year conversation  

The purpose of the end of year conversation between a team member and their manager is to review the year’s achievements, successes, challenges and personal development. This conversation should also help identify the key priorities, objectives and new skills to strive for in the upcoming academic year. It is also an opportunity to check in colleague's wellbeing.


Ahead of your End of Year review conversation with your manager, you should reflect on your performance over the last year, taking into account the updates you captured at the mid-year review point.  


Think about both WHAT you have achieved and provide relevant evidence and information that demonstrates this related to your current job description and objectives. You may also want to consider the impact this has had against local area targets and objectives and the wider University Strategic aims 


And also HOW you achieved your results in line with the University Values and, where relevant the Leadership Behaviours. You may want to consider who you have worked with across and beyond the University and include relevant feedback from key stakeholders.  


Considering your performance against SMART objectives is generally easier, mostly because you have put specific measures in place which indicate whether you have or haven’t achieved objectives, the clearer your measures are, the easier it will be to consider and reflect on how you have performed over the year. The Guidelines for Professorial Objectives are available to support colleagues in relevant roles.

When assessing behaviours, it is not as easy to make them specific, these examples of behaviour based evidence​explain what evidence looks like, and may be helpful when reflecting on your own behaviour. 


Rating Descriptors

There are four ratings available for Senior Managers as outlined in the Guidance on Rating Descriptors for Senior Managers​.

Proposing and confirming a rating  

Completing a self-rating is optional for Senior Managers. If it has been agreed that this would be useful, the form enables this to be done.   


Managers will consider all the evidence provided and propose a rating. All proposed ratings will be considered as part of a calibration exercise before final year-end ratings are confirmed. Managers will discuss proposed and confirmed ratings as part of the process and these will be recorded in the MyContribution system. 


Calibration & Pay Awards 

Following completion of end of year reviews calibration will take place. Calibration is an important exercise to ensure that different managers are applying similar standards in measuring and evaluating performance. 


The stages in the calibration process are: 

  • The Dean/Director will carry out a calibration exercise with their leadership teams and People Partner. The purpose is to review the distribution of ratings whilst considering a normal distribution curve and assessing overall performance across the School/Service. Academic calibration will be reviewed by the Deputy Vice Chancellors to ensure consistency across the Schools.
  • Following School/Service calibration, the University Leadership Team (ULT) will carry out an additional calibration exercise and review all senior manager objectives and ratings. 


On completion of the calibration process confirmed ratings will be shared with managers and they will confirm ratings and discuss reasons for any changes to the proposed rating based on the justification for this provided as part of the calibration process. 




Indicative timescales are as follows: 


    • Objective setting – August/September 
    • Mid-year reviews – January/February 
    • End of year performance conversations completed by end of June 
    • SLT performance calibration completed by end of July 
    • ULT performance calibration completed by end of August 
    • Final ratings and outcomes communicated by end of September 
    • Pay effective from 1 August, processed in September/October and backdated

System Guidance
Frequently Asked Questions

We have developed some frequently asked questions to ensure everyone involved understands the process and approach. If you have any questions that are not covered here you should speak to your line manager in the first instance or you can contact staffdevelopment@napier.ac.uk.