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Is your PDR system engaging and motivating?

Annie Ives talks to a Learning & Development global leader within the pharmaceutical sector about successful PDR implementation:

What were the biggest challenges you previously had with pdr's?
"In general, it is a challenge for most businesses to have 100% buy-in towards the value of participating in PDRs. The internal argument was often around the fact that they are not pay related and there is no benefit to doing them".

The L&D business partner confirmed that within their organisation, the negativity towards the process at all levels could be grouped into to three main area:

1. It does not feel beneficial to me as I often do not get the training I would ideally like.

2. I don't feel empowered by my manager so before I even have the conversation, I know it will just be a tick box exercise.

3. I don't get the financial reward I feel I deserve so it's hard to be motivated when I know even if I achieve all my objectives, it won't make any difference!

Annie Ives, former global L&D director at the Financial Times works with these internal challenges that companies face when trying to change a business culture to gain buy-in to a valuable PDR process. "In order to have a successful PDR process, you need clear direction, and effective leadership from the top so that company-wide objectives are understood at all levels, and everyone is part of the vision. This prevents a negative culture of them and us!"

learn about effective personal development reviews Annie Ives is a Senior Consultant with Goodfoot, and has solid experience building effective and motivational Personal Development Review systems.


What type of culture did you want to create?
"Initially the culture change was on the side lines as ultimately we knew this would be involved and was something that had to change long term. The first thing we wanted to do was create a new PDR system/process to help develop staff, that could grow and be flexible as the business continues to globally expand. One of the benefits of doing this has meant that everyone has had the opportunity to have their say - historically this was not the case before when often the feedback we needed to hear happened behind closed doors. The negativity has now become constructive, and everyone has had the opportunity to be involved in our new process. This has helped massively when trying to achieve buy-in."

What does this mean to your employees?

"Now that we are at the second phase of introducing the new PDR system, we have introduced a 'culture change' element as part of the process so we have continual feedback on how effective and impactful the appraisers and appraisees found the process."

Why is it important to have managers and leaders on board?
"One key benefit we have found is no last minute changes to the new process - often, thoughts and feedback happen at the end of a process and you end up having to rewrite a document! This time, that has not been the case so it has saved us valuable time and money through effective engagement all the way through the process not just as the beginning! The business are also starting to have more regular communications with their teams and discussing issues earlier on, so small problems remain small problems. Personal progress and career development are discussed throughout the year which makes the conversation happen more frequency and not just a tick box approach.
My medium term aim is to achieve Coaching Culture that empowers individuals to be proactive in owning their own PDRs, which in turn should start to drive a much more positive working environment and make the PDR process much more continuous throughout the year. The new system allows you to update information all year which will really help when reflecting on the performance of areas to improve."


effective PDR Interview  

PDR systems can work...

Sometimes our PDR systems need a bit of attention. With a bit of thought and a little adjustment we can achieve big changes in the impact on staff.


How did you go about improving your PDR offering?
"In short I wiped the slate clean and initially it was a leap of faith followed by months of planning and discussions around the content to go live. Effective questioning to a variety of people at different levels, played a key role to ensure we were still heading in the right direction and to sense check every now and again. All of the research was done from my side of things with regards to best practices from other businesses and what people have done well and where they have also made mistakes, and this formed the majority of what we went live with. Before we launched we did offer the opportunity for all managers and company-wide volunteers, to go through the system and give us their thoughts for us to make any final tweaks before going live utilising their feedback.
One of the main reasons for taking this approach was that a significant number of people across the business felt that they didn’t get a say in what the business did and always felt that they were told ‘that’s what you are getting, live with it’ kind of scenario and the whole PDR process or Performance Reviews as we used to call them were completely pointless, so I decided I wanted to take a different approach and introduce a new way of doing things, and now that the first PDR season is over we have asked people for their feedback via a survey we launched on ‘Survey Monkey’ on how they would like to see not only the PDR develop but also the website itself. We have received some fantastic feedback which all now nicely ties into what we initially put out there instead of everyone wanting something different; currently the feedback from the survey we launched is being compiled to see if there are any commonalities across the business that can be easy wins/fixes and then to look at it in more detail and to see where else we can improve and continue to advertise the improvements and continue more importantly getting feedback.
In addition with regards to the PDR directly and the sort of information we look to collect, tied into the reading I have been doing has made me fully believe what we are doing is the right thing in the sense of taking it online and combining it with the website."

In your opinion, what are the benefits you see short term and long term from the improvement?
"Short Term – That people see we are listening to them and that we are making the process much more beneficial, this in itself has already changed people's views to one of inclusion.
Long Term – A change in culture and positive views of the new PDR process and its benefits will mean 100% participation so we are having these value conversations all year round. No unwanted surprises, which means we can tailor our support to employees, not just have a tick box approach."


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