Personal Review and Development Plan (PRDP)

The College is committed to creating a supportive, inclusive and highly motivated staff community across all disciplines, functions and activities. One of the ways we do this is through the annual Personal Review and Development Plan process (PRDP).

This process provides managers and team members a unique opportunity to take stock of the past year and look forward to the next. It’s also the ideal time to explore people’s career aspirations and development needs. Whilst the PRDP has a broader focus. It builds on the one-to-ones and discussions you’ll have had during the year.

Information about PRDPs

Key principles

PRDPs work best when they:

  • Take place in a planned and managed way, with both reviewer and reviewee having prepared in advance. 
  • Build on a foundation of good communication and regular feedback. Issues should not be 'saved up' for a PRDP conversation.
  • Are used constructively with both reviewer and reviewee committing to the process.
  • Help people understand how their contribution fits in with the work of the wider team or department, and the reviewee’s work is appreciated and recognised.
  • Operate as a quality conversation with the emphasis on the conversation rather than diligently completing a form.
  • Result in agreed objectives and development plans, which are referred to throughout the year as a means of checking and celebrating progress. 

PRDPs are separate from formal Job Level Reviews and pay conversations. However, during the PRDP meeting, changes to the job description can be discussed, and possible progression aspirations or opportunities may be explored. This can then be taken further through the formal Job Level Review or promotions process. 

Training and support

People and Organisational Development (POD) have created a range of support for delivering meaningful PRDP conversations aimed at both reviewers and reviewees. This is provided via a combination of these web pages and guidance documents, which incorporate PRDP specific materials.

There are many additional training and development opportunities offered throughout The College, which include:

  • Development Opportunities for Academicsbrings together all the programmes offered to academic staff, including:
    • Academic only leadership programmes
    • Academic masterclasses
    • A range of recommended development resources from collaborative working and decision making to risk management seminars

Additionally, the consultancy team offers tailored support to departments and teams, for example, focusing on the uptake and quality of PRDPs.

Your PRDP forms

The College produces PRDP forms as templates to support meaningful PRDPs. They are prompts to shape and support meaningful conversations. They suggest topics to be covered and provide a basic means of recording the most useful areas of the PRDP conversation. The forms include an achievement scale to help quantify and describe progress in support of the conversation. These achievement scales are not compulsory; they offer a shared language to help the appraisee and appraiser define achievements.

Research Nurses and Research Technicians may prefer to use the Professional, Technical and Operational Job Family PRDP form.

In general, these should suffice, but departments may create their own documentation so long as they contain the core elements of review, job and career planning, and refer directly to Imperial Expectations and responsibilities for safety, security, equality and diversity, etc. Departments wishing to vary the documentation must clear their version with a Learning and Development Centre Consultant to ensure that guidelines are met. Both parties should have a copy of the completed PRDP form to be reviewed at appropriate times during the year and used as a benchmark at the following year’s PRDP. It is meant to be a ‘living’ document.

What managers say about PRDPs

'PRDPs provide the opportunity to reflect openly on successes and failures of the previous year and for an honest conversation on goals and expectations for the next year. When staff and line managers both engage genuinely with the process, PRDPs can offer real benefits, and my own PRDPs have helped me think about how to grow my expertise and plan my career.'
Sam McKenney, Department Operations Manager, Dyson School of Design Engineering

‘You get out what you put into the PRDP process. When done well, it provides an invaluable opportunity to reflect on successes and challenges and use lessons to form clear objectives and development plans. It should also ensure that workflows are clear and everyone understands how they fit within the team/department.’ 
Jarlath O’Hara, Managing Director, Student Union  

Further questions

FAQs and resources about PRDPs have been developed to help answer common questions. If you would like departmental support around PRDPs, please contact Beth Richardson, People and Organisational Development Adviser