Career Pathways: Guidance note
This guidance note intends to complement the information and materials available on the Career Pathways website, including the Career Pathways Toolkit for Administrators and the FAQ section.
Career Pathways and Staff Review and Development (SRD)
The key activity within the Career Pathways process involves participants (and their managers) looking at the skills and behavioural attributes frameworks and assessing an individual’s skills and attributes against these. Where there are gaps in skills/attributes, there is potentially a development need. Development needs can then be discussed during a 1:1 with the manager. Career Pathways provides examples of ‘learning options’ which can be used to identify appropriate training and development which will address the skills gaps that have been recognised.
This process is the same as the activity required to prepare for and take part in a Staff Review and Development (SRD) discussion, the key difference being that Career Pathways offers a University wide set of skills and behavioural attributes for individuals and managers to use to assess against when preparing for an SRD discussion. Career Pathways can be carried out as a stand alone activity if SRD isn’t due to take place.
For each grade within a job family, a set of skills have been agreed. These are designed to apply across all roles within the job family in the University. They are therefore fairly broad in nature and cannot include all the fine detailed skills that may be required for every role. They should however include all the key skills required. If you identify skills that have not been included, please contact Sue Pandey. Additional versions of the skills framework for Administrators will be developed for roles which have a specific focus e.g. finance, HR. Managers can also tailor the profile form by adding on any additional skills that are required for that individual, team or department.
Assessing skills and attributes
The Career Pathways profile form suggests using ‘Meet’, ‘Exceed’ or ‘Develop’ to describe the extent to which the individual is able to carry out the skills or demonstrate the behaviour. The assessment is meant to give an indication of the skills and attributes of the individual and should provide a basis for discussion between the individual and the manager, so that where there are skills or attributes that need developing further, this can be planned for. If you feel the individual can carry out part of a skill area but not all, use ‘Meet’ and ‘Develop’ and note in the ‘Comments’ box which aspect of the skill needs developing. Within the behavioural attributes, the positive indicators are just that - positive indicators. They do not need to all be met all the time; they are indicators of what behaviour would be expected at that grade. If there are any indicators that need further development, then refer to this in the ‘Comments’ column. You only need to enter an assessment for each attribute, not for each positive indicator. If you would like more support with the assessment part of the process, please contact us and we will be happy to address your queries.
Please note that currently the profile form only includes skills and attributes, it does not include knowledge, although we recognise that knowledge is an important part of all roles. However where there are aspects of knowledge that are important for the role, these can be discussed and you can include suggestions for increasing this knowledge on the development plan. In a similar way, the profile form does not include full referencing of qualifications - again if these are required for a role, this should be discussed and included on the development plan, as appropriate.
Current or future role?
This process can be helpful for individuals when identifying development needs for their current role or future role. Where the individual is fairly new to their role or is still developing the skills required to carry out all aspects of the role, it would be helpful to focus Career Pathways on their current role. Where the individual has been in the role for some time; is performing well in the role and is capable of progressing into a higher grade, the Career Pathways process can be focussed on the next role up (or on a role in another job family as required).
Support for training and development
When focussing on current role, the resulting development plan should be agreed and training and development carried out, usually over the following 6-12 months. Departments are encouraged to support this training and development by allocating work time. Where funding is required, central or departmental funds can be sought, though are not guaranteed. If training and development is required to support progression into a future role, individuals will need to take responsibility for this as priority for University funding will need to be given to development that is required for current roles.
However there are many examples of how development that is required for a future role can sometimes be supported within the current role. Individuals and managers are particularly encouraged to consider workplace training opportunities, including coaching with the manager or a colleague, involvement in a project or work shadowing activities.
In the current economic climate, it is important that individuals and managers are realistic about the opportunities for career progression. In the short term, vacancies will be fewer and more highly contested. So involvement in Career Pathways may not produce any immediate results in terms of progression into a more senior role, however it will provide participants with a structured approach to developing themselves so that they are trained and ready to apply for future roles when they are made available. Those individuals who wish to be proactive about their career progression can take advantage of the tools that are available.
Links to PD33 and HERA elements
The behavioural attribute categories do not correspond directly with those used within the PD33 and HERA elements. It would not have been possible to utilise the same terminology because HERA is specific to the requirements of the role and some elements do not translate as an attribute, e.g. work environment and sensory and physical demands. A comprehensive matching process has taken place involving comparisons between PD33s and the behavioural attribute levels to ensure the boundaries are appropriate and are an accurate reflection of the attribute levels required for each grade.
The Career Pathways process focuses on the individual’s skills and attributes whilst the PD33 describes the requirements of the role. The skills identified should be interpreted within the grade and scope of the particular role/post and it is possible that a particular role will not require all of the skills identified at the relevant grade. The possession of some skills at a higher grade will not equate to a requirement for a role to be regraded as grading depends on a much wider range of factors.
Managers may find it helpful to review progress towards the development plan after 6 months to ensure planned training and development is taking place according to the targets agreed. Where necessary, activities can be re-prioritised or new targets set. At the 12 month review stage, we recommend carrying out the individual and manager assessments and updating the profile form and producing a new development plan.
Questions and Feedback
Please contact PPD with any questions regarding this project.