Performance Development Reviews or ‘PDR Reviews’ are an integral part of performance management.  Whilst remote or ‘hybrid’ (combined office/remote) working continue to challenge traditional methods of development i.e. face-to-face training, we require greater visibility of performance development to guarantee team progress.

Why are Performance Development Reviews important?

We would define a performance development review (PDR) as a window of opportunity for managers to talk with an employee specifically about their development needs.

The value of a performance development review/session include:

  • Makes the individual feel valued and invested in
  • Drives employee engagement
  • Builds confidence about skills learned
  • Identifies opportunities for learning and development
  • It provides support and optimism for the future
  • Allows for open discussions on roles and career ambitions

How to run a development sessions

Below we have outlined our tips for performance development reviews. Note there is no one-size-fits-all approach and you should consider what works best for your organisation.

1. PDR’s should take place three months into the year

On a recent Actus webinar, over 50% of people professionals shared that performance development reviews only take place as part of the annual performance appraisal. This makes development an ‘award’ for good performance, or meaningless. We would recommend you run a Performance Development three months into the year. This allows you to track development against the objectives set at the start of the year. This provides an opportunity to seek out development opportunities for them if they are not on track to meet their targets.

To the right, we have our Actus model showing how you can achieve year-round performance conversations and include performance development reviews. Certainly, this model can be adapted to suit your business needs. For example, you could have a performance development review at the mid-year appraisal or at the 9-month mark too!

2. Make sure the conversation is recorded and easily accessible

It is easy when we are busy to lose track of conversations we have had with our teams. Therefore it is important that we record performance development reviews. For example, imagine the embarrassment of identifying the wrong member of your team for a new position. If you use a good performance management system like Actus Software, managers can record these conversations and access them easily. This will help HR to identify internal staff for roles when they come up too.


3. Include all your team for performance development reviews

On our recent webinar, over 50% of people professionals shared that personal development is perceived on a ‘business needs only basis’. Are top management seeing development as a large investment in time or finances? COVID-19 has shown that traditional methods of personal development, like face-to-face training, can be replaced with effective remote alternatives. For example, we regularly hold free topical webinars for HR and Line Managers. We also run open and bespoke training programmes, these are easier to fit into a diary than a full two-day event!

4. Ensure everyone takes them seriously

A performance development review provides an opportunity for managers to reap the benefits of all the values outlined at the start of this blog: engagement, talent retention, confidence building. It is therefore important that managers and employees alike treat these conversations, not as a ‘tick-box’ exercise but a really valuable conversation. Time should be dedicated to them and blocked out of the diary so that they can be focused on properly. If either manager or employee appeared distracted or indifferent, this would not have the positive effect performance development reviews should have.

Finally, if you would like to learn more around this topic, why not watch our recent webinar on conducting remote PDRs by clicking the button below?

Watch our Webinar: How to Conduct a Remote Development Session


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