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The Appraisal Process Is About Staff Development With The Emphasis On Self-Appraisal

Extract from the Appraisal Policy (July 2016):

“The purpose of the scheme is to make the most effective use of all staff employed at the University by developing them in a systematic way in the interests of both the University and the individual employees. It provides a formal opportunity to employees to present what they feel to be their main achievements over the last 12 months, to discuss their performance in general and to make plans for the year ahead.

The scheme is a highly participative one, with a great deal of emphasis on self appraisal, ensuring that staff have a major role in determining their own development. It is also very much future orientated, being chiefly concerned with setting objectives and improving performance.”

Is the time you are allocated to do a job realistic (e.g. time allocated to supervise final year student projects) ?

Are you being asked to address matters over which you have little or no control (e.g. student attendance) ?

Have you received the support and training you need to achieve your goals?

Have there been issues outside of your control which have prevented you from achieving your goals?

Do you have conflicting goals?

Is your appraisal process in line with the Appraisal Policy (July 2016)?

What if I’m being held accountable for a matter raised in an anonymous comment on a module evaluation?

You have no way to clarify the point being made or to obtain further information from the individual who made it. You have no way to determine the motivation or other circumstances surrounding the individual who made the comment. This makes you vulnerable to bullying through the use of anonymised comments. If you feel you are being bullied or harassed then we suggest you point out that you feel you are being bullied through the use of anonymised comments, then either inform your UCU rep or ask for the meeting to be re-scheduled to a time when a rep can accompany you.

What if I’m being held accountable for something which is beyond my control?

If you are being held accountable for something like student attendance (or anything which is beyond your control), we suggest that you ask your appraiser what management are doing to address it, as some problems cannot be resolved by the individual (and therefore are not relevant to your personal staff development). You might suggest that these matters are discussed with the course team outside of the appraisal process.

Remember …

The Appraisal Process at Huddersfield is meant to ensure:

  • appraisals are about self-appraisal with a view to determining staff development. The questions you are asked in your appraisal should be in line with the Appraisal Policy.
  • staff have a major role in determining their own development. Ensure that you feel comfortable with your goals and negotiate all the support/training that you need to achieve them. This might also include participation at conferences etc.
  • objectives for the year are agreed by both parties. Don’t be pressurized into agreeing to something you aren’t comfortable with. If you find yourself in this position then contact a union rep who will advise you in strict confidence.

ACAS lists as examples of bullying/harassment:

  • deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism
  • overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position

You can always contact us for confidential advice if you need to.

Workload Allocation (‘Balance’) Models

Your School / Department may present you with a workload allocation model in an attempt to show you how your workload compares to colleagues. UCU welcomes any model which helps with transparency in the workplace. However, it must be recognised that:

  • All such models are often based on estimates of time taken to achieve certain tasks (e.g. Time allocated to you to see a final year project student each week). You are entitled to question whether these times are realistic and whether or not the model is a true representation of your workload. If you do not have enough time allocated to perform a task, it may have an impact on the quality of your performance and be outside of your control (and therefore not your fault!)
  • Regardless of which models exist, you are entitled to question how fairly you are being treated with reference to your teaching load, other duties and items relating to your contract. No model is the ‘gold standard’.
  • Some categories within the model might be broad (and might appear vague), while others might be more specific. This might advantage/disadvantage certain members of the university when compared to others. You are entitled to express your opinion of such matters and to speak out when you feel you are being treated unfairly.

Remember …

Any Workload Allocation Model does not overrule your contract. Know your contract!

The University’s Dignity @ Work policy states that you have the right:

  • To be treated fairly and without discrimination.
  • To disagree and present alternative views.
  • To challenge and be assertive.

Huddersfield UCU is here for you

If you’re worried, angry, upset or frustrated with your appraisal process then UCU Huddersfield would like to hear from you. Go to our contacts page and speak to our friendly representatives in total confidence.