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PDR SharePoint Resources
Policy Details

Version: 1.0

Reviewed date: 2024

Next review: 2026

Owner: HR Policy Team

Performance Development Review (PDR)


To develop as an organisation and ensure that we invest in the development of our colleagues to support our strategy, our Performance and Development Review (PDR) conversations need to create a continuous culture of openness and inclusivity. There is a contractual expectation that members of staff participate in regular reviews of their performance and professional and personal development. The University encourages reviewers to adopt a coaching style in the PDR conversations they hold, further information about a coaching style can be found on the PDR support SharePoint. Managers (reviewers) and their employees (reviewees) should set the PDR conversation in a time frame which is appropriate to support local working patterns, and space for continuous dialogue. The following policy and guiding principles set out the overall approach towards PDRs.


Performance Development Review (PDR) is a continuous conversation that takes place between an employee and their line manager. The PDR is a supportive process which supports the development of our colleagues. Whilst concerns about performance may be raised as part of the PDR, best practice is to raise any concerns with employees as soon as possible via 1-2-1s rather than in the PDR.   


University of Exeter colleagues should apply the following principles when conducting PDR conversations:

Conducting a quality PDR conversation between a reviewer and reviewee is the most important part of the PDR process. Conversations should take place throughout the year and can either be scheduled as standalone meetings or form part of regular one-to-ones. Not all areas need to be discussed at every meeting, however, meetings should be frequent enough to allow all involved the opportunity to discuss the key themes. Once a year colleagues are expected to participate in a review which is formally documented. Decisions on the timing of this would need to be agreed by reviewer and reviewee.  

As a minimum two dedicated PDR conversations should happen each year (one of which should be formally documented - see PDR form below). To ensure that the PDR conversations remain live beyond the PDR meetings it is recommended that PDR outcomes are kept under continuous review during regular 1-2-1s.

Subject to a minimum of 2 PDR conversations taking place each planning/financial year (August-July), decisions on the annual timeframe for PDR conversations will be made by each Faculty/Professional Services Division, based on the needs of their operations. Faculties/Divisions may delegate these decisions to Departments or teams. It is advised that for our academic colleagues that they may wish to consider the timing of other processes such as workload allocation and promotions schedule when deciding on the timing of conversations. For professional services colleagues there maybe other processes which may need to be considered as part of the scheduling of conversations.

To monitor the effectiveness of this policy, the University will collect data confirming that PDR conversations have taken place and whether colleagues found this to be valuable. To support this, colleagues are expected to provide information when requested. Data will be shared anonymously at University, Faculty, Professional Services Divisions and Department level. The data will be made available through a dedicated dashboard on the MI Hub.

It is recommended that the PDR conversation be undertaken using a coaching style, further information about a coaching style can be found on the PDR support SharePoint. The following is a suggested list of areas to discuss as part of the ongoing PDR conversation, please note that this is not an exhaustive list and should be tailored to the needs of the employee if required.

  • Reviewing achievements and challenges
  • Working environment, wellbeing and inclusivity
  • Workload and priorities
  • Future work plans and/or objectives (this may be linked to department/ divisional strategic plans)
  • Development, opportunities and experiences
  • Career development, opportunities and longer term plans 

To allow both reviewers and reviewees to keep track of objectives, tasks and agreed development/support, a summary of each PDR conversation should be recorded using the PDR form, detailing the key points and/or actions decided as part of PDR conversations. It is recommended that these ongoing conversations are recorded by annotating and updating the formal PDR documentation which should be completed each year (see Frequency of PDR Conversations above).

The form is designed to act as a summary of conversations that have taken place rather than a verbatim record. Particular consideration should be given to recording sensitive personal information, for example regarding the colleague’s wellbeing. The reviewer and reviewee should use their discretion to agree what is recorded on the form.  A copy of the PDR form should be retained by both the reviewer and reviewee. To support career development, training investment and the alignment of personal objectives with the objectives of the Faculty/Department/Division, PDR forms will be shared with the Head of Department (academic colleagues) or with the Executive/Divisional Director (professional services colleagues).

The PDR form should not be shared more widely without the permission of both the reviewee and reviewer.  In some cases, the PDR form may need to be used as part of informal or formal performance processes: both the reviewer and reviewee will be notified if this is case.  

  • Resources for reviewers and reviewees are also available on the PDR Sharepoint.