Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Feedback for Performance Pilot?

While the overarching aim of this work is to strengthen and develop individual and group accomplishments in addition to staff engagement, the outcomes of this pilot will include:

  • A feedback meeting for every individual with their line manager to review the achievements and challenges of the year to September 2017 (during summer 2017) and to plan each individual’s goals and objectives for the coming year.
  • An opportunity to assess and agree training and development requirements for the coming year.  
  • An opportunity to provide constructive feedback to HR on the pilot process, including the HR training and support provided and the on-line feedback form.

This project is a ‘proof of concept’ pilot, the primary focus of which is the feedback conversation with your manager. In short, we are seeking to answer the question: What does an effective feedback conversation look like for you and your manager? The secondary focus is the on – line tool, including ease of use and functionality, back – end administration support and training. While these secondary elements are important, they are evaluated against how well they enable you to engage in an effective feedback conversation with your manager.

What can we expect from an effective feedback conversation?

In summary an effective feedback conversation should address the following:

  • Clarity of purpose:

    A clear sense that your work has achieved the goals you and your manager have set out at the beginning of the year.

    A clear sense that your goals and objectives cascade from Trinity’s strategy, your area’s strategic plan, down through your Manager to your team and to you.  In other words your goals and objectives are aligned with those of your colleagues, your department and the university.

  • A sense of achievement:

    A clear sense that you have achieved your goals and objectives. This occurs when your manager acknowledges and congratulates you on your achievements and thanks you for your effort. And as a consequence you feel proud of your work.

  • Confidence in your capabilities:

    A clear sense that you have the necessary capabilities to carry out your work. These include, subject matter expertise, specific work skills, competencies, attributes and experience. You also have the opportunity to recognize where your work has stretched you and developed your capabilities further. 

  • Feeling empowered:

    When you looked back over your work you had a clear sense of ownership and felt empowered and accountable for the outcomes of your work. 

  • Feeling engaged:

    When you reflected on your work you felt a connection to your colleagues, your manager, your team, Department and the wider Trinity community.

Why is a clear sense of purpose, achievement, feeling empowered, confidence in my capabilities and feeling engaged important?

These are the key elements from which we derive meaning in our work and it is from this meaning that we generate self-motivation. In other words they are the key intrinsic motivators. Given that we work in the public sector, intrinsic motivators are very important for job satisfaction. What is also very important is being connected to the wider Trinity purpose as it acts as a fundamental intrinsic motivator, namely, the noble cause of, doing good through research and education.

How does Feedback for Performance work?

It is a meeting where you have the opportunity to get feedback, plan, agree actions and review your work to date.  

What are the steps involved in the Feedback for Performance process?

There are 10 steps involved:

  • Communication of the purpose and aims of the pilot
  • Training for reviewers and reviewees
  • The pre-review stage – a short conversation to make sure you and your manager are agreed on goals and objectives
  • The SIMITIVE on-line tool goes live
  • You input to the SIMITIVE on-line form
  • Your manager inputs into the SIMITIVE on-line form
  • You and your manager schedule time for the feedback for performance conversation
  • You finalise the feedback for performance document
  • The SIMITIVE system is closed
  • Evaluation of the pilot.

What is the SIMITIVE on-line tool?

The Simitive on – line tool is a review form that you can complete on-line. In other words a paperless review process.

What if I forget how to use the on-line tool?

There is a user guide and process flow chart. We will forward a copy of the user guide and flow-chart on request. They are also available to access on your home page on the Simitive on-line portal.

How long should the conversation last?

The conversation can last between 45 and 60 minutes. In some instances it might be shorter and in other instances longer. On average it should take between 45 and 60 minutes.

How many goals or objectives should the conversation address?

There is no right number; however typically the conversation is effective when it addresses your top three priorities. This can differ depending on work load.

What about my workload?

The aim of the Feedback for Performance process is to involve you in a process of reflection on your work with your manager. The aim is that having reflected upon and discussed your work with your manager, you agree the time needed to effectively balance your workload.

How often will these meetings take place?

This is a pilot, so we plan to ask that question in the evaluation.

What if I feel unclear about my goals?

Then the conversation should begin with that. The important thing to remember is that a lack of clarity in our goals can happen in an organization that goes through the level of change that you have experienced. So rather than dwell on the absence of clarity, acknowledge that it exists and start the discussion with how you, together with your manager can begin to strengthen and develop clarity of purpose. The conversation can then move to the cascade of goals from Trinity's strategy paper to your personal objectives.

Alternatively, if you feel that you need this clarity before you begin the conversation then you should meet in advance with your manager and make sure there is sufficient agreement and understanding so you can have a productive conversation. In summary, if you look at the conversation through the lens of strengthening and development then you and your manager should be able to find a solution that meets your needs and ensures you have a meaningful conversation with your manager.

Is this pilot PMDS by another name?

It is worth stating, that under the Haddington Road Agreement we have an obligation to deliver a PMDS programme. However, that is not the motivation behind this pilot. While this pilot is similar to PMDS in that it includes a "review meeting", it differs from PMDS in its focus which is exclusively on the intrinsic motivators.

The future of this work, of which this pilot is just a small beginning, will depend on a number of factors, including the evaluation of this pilot. It is important to note the pilot process will be completed in a small number of areas, including HR and Global Relations.  The aim is then to present a summary evaluation of the pilots to the Trinity leadership late in 2017.  This follows on from an earlier pilot during 2016. 

How is performance going to be reviewed?

Against the goals and objectives set by you and your manager.

Will my review follow to my new manager if I move to a different department in Trinity?

The scope of the pilot did not include this issue. There are a number of connecting systems and processes within a talent management framework which Trinity will need to look closely at and this area would be one of them. However, it's important to reiterate that the focus on this pilot is the intrinsic motivational impact of feedback for performance. Again, what we can say is that this is an important question to raise in the evaluation of the pilot.

Who will identify areas for development?

These will be jointly set and agreed between you and your manager.

Is there budget to support training needs?

The scope of the pilot did not include budget for training and development. However, this is an important question to raise in the evaluation of the pilot. We do plan to sit down as a management team to look at this once the pilot has been evaluated.

We will be delivering workshops on Writing Smart Objectives as part of this pilot.

What happens to the review that's on the system?

As a management team we think it makes sense that we continue to work with the document on the system as it meets our need to monitor progress against agreed goals. However, that decision will be made once the evaluation is complete.

Will I see my Feedback for Performance forms?

Yes – you will have access to the form on the Simitive portal. The aim of the meeting is to give both you and your manager an opportunity to discuss your work to date.

Who will have access to the documentation?

You and your manager will have access to all documentation relating to you.

Where will the documentation be stored?

The documentation stays with you and your manager in the SIMITIVE system and treated as strictly confidential.

What if I don't feel comfortable doing the review?

The conversation should begin with the statement: It is important to you and your manager to have a good working relationship. This conversation will greatly assist this. And a good working relationship begins with both you and your manager being clear about your goals and your manager's goals.

What if even after the training, I still don't feel comfortable doing the feedback for performance meeting?

We can set up 1:1 coaching time with you and the relevant HR partner. The important thing to remember is that you and your manager have a good working relationship. This conversation will greatly assist this.