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Professional Development and Performance Planning Policy

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Policy outlines Victoria University's (VU's) commitment to the ongoing professional development and performance achievement of all staff.

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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) HESF: 3.2 Staffing.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all fixed-term and continuing staff of the University.

(4) This Policy does not apply to:

  1. casual employees except for Part E as stated
  2. non-employee workers (eg contractors, consultants and volunteers)
  3. students

(5) Areas this Policy covers include:

  1. Performance Planning & Review (VU Develop)
  2. Professional Development
  3. Probation
  4. Induction
  5. Secondments
  6. Professional Staff Study Support
  7. VU Capability Framework
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Section 4 - Definitions

(6) External Secondment (Outgoing): where a VU staff member is the successful applicant for a fixed term position with an external organisation or another organisation requests the University's services, which results in a staff member working for the external organisation for a defined period of time but remains an employee of VU.

(7) External Secondment (Incoming): where a staff member from an external organisation is seconded to work at the University for a fixed term period.

(8) Professional Development: The provision of a range of learning and development opportunities and activities to develop capabilities of staff in relation to their role and responsibilities.

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Section 5 - Policy Statement

Part A - Performance Planning and Review

(9) Victoria University (VU) plans for, supports, and values high performance by all its staff.

(10) Individual performance planning is tied to operational goals and plans, and is undertaken via the VU Develop process. The process is based on an annual planning and review cycle.

(11) The VU Develop process provides a structured opportunity for staff to plan for and reflect on individual goals and professional development. The process links closely to career planning and development, promotion, probation, succession planning and is one of the mechanisms for identifying and addressing unsatisfactory performance.

(12) VU Develop is based on the principles of:

  1. shared responsibility, with each supervisor and staff member expected to make a contribution to the staff member's annual plan; and,
  2. accountability, where there is transparent documentation of a staff member's progress towards achieving goals.

(13) Staff members who are not performing at the required level will be provided with guidance, support and professional development opportunities to improve their performance.

(14) Participation in the VU Develop process is mandatory for all ongoing and fixed term staff, irrespective of time fraction and/or length of contract.

(15) Staff members on probation will have a separate probation plan via VU Develop. Once probation is complete and the role is confirmed, a VU Develop plan will be launched.

(16) If a staff member is dissatisfied with any aspect of the VU Develop process and is unable to resolve matters through discussion with their supervisor, they may proceed to use the process specified in the Staff Complaints Resolution Policy and Staff Complaints Resolution Procedure.

Part B - Professional Development

(17) VU is committed to building the capabilities and effectiveness of its staff through a range of professional development opportunities.

(18) Staff members  are expected take ownership of their career and participate actively in identifying appropriate opportunities.

(19) Professional development will be fit for purpose and may be:

  1. formal, informal or experienced-based training;
  2. blended or online study;
  3. study towards an award or non-award qualification;
  4. work-related conferences, conventions, information sessions, workshops and seminars;
  5. secondments with external organisations; or
  6. any other suitable activity where a professional development benefit can be identified.

(20) A supervisor or manager may direct staff to attend training where there is an identified skill gap or where particular training is a requirement of the staff member's role.

Part C - Funding for professional development

(21) VU will best endeavor to support professional development opportunities that are within budget limits, and align to:

  1. The University's strategic goals;
  2. The staff member's current and potential future role with the University; and,
  3. The staff member's individual career development needs and aspirations.

(22) Where specific training or continuing professional education is a requirement for maintaining a professional registration needed for the staff member's role at VU, the University will not unreasonably refuse to provide time release and funding to fulfill this requirement.

(23) VU may, at its discretion, decline to fund professional development if:

  1. it is not directly related to the employee's current or potential future role;
  2. it does not provide any discernible value or business benefit for the University; and/or,
  3. it would involve exceeding the professional development budget of the relevant business unit or area.

Part D - Probation

(24) Participation in the probationary process is critical to the successful development of a career in the University, and is the beginning of the performance planning cycle.

(25) A probationary period will apply to:

  1. all newly commencing staff with ongoing appointments; and,
  2. fixed-term appointments of more than six months in length.

(26) Probation policy and procedure does not apply to:

  1. senior and executive staff contracts, casual or sessional staff

(27) Maximum probation periods are established in the Enterprise Agreement or contract.

Part E - Induction

General Induction

(28) All fixed-term and continuing staff must undergo an induction process on commencement at VU which includes but not limited to the following:

  1. Completing the online VU induction module;
  2. Attending a face-to-face induction session;
  3. Learning about VU policies and procedures;
  4. Completing a VU development plan;
  5. Familiarisation with:
    1. Their organisational unit’s specific plan,
    2. The university's strategic plan and goals
  6. Discussion of the role’s requirements;
  7. Completing all mandatory compliance training.

(29) Successful completion of required induction is embedded in a staff member's VU Develop plan.

(30) The Supervisor of a casual or sessional employee will identify what induction training is mandatory, and ensure that the individual has access to the training system as well as allocated paid time to complete mandatory units.

Area-Specific Induction

(31) VU also has area-specific induction that new, returning or transferring staff at VU must complete within their area.

(32) Staff engaging in teaching and research must undertake specialty induction related to these activities, as well as general induction relevant to their roles and responsibilities.

Part F - Secondments

(33) VU recognises the potential for secondments to contribute to the professional enrichment and career development of its staff, and to benefit the University as a whole.

(34) Four types of secondment are able to be used:

  1. External Secondment (Outgoing): a staff member is the successful applicant for a fixed term position with an external organisation or another organisation requests the University's services, which results in a staff member working for the external organisation for a defined period of time.
  2. External Secondment (Incoming): an staff member from an external organisation is employed to work at the University for a fixed term period;
  3. Internal Secondment: a staff member is relocated to a different role within the University on a temporary basis; or
  4. Job Exchange - External Secondment (Outgoing and Incoming): a reciprocal arrangement is put in place between two staff members (one from VU and one from an external organisation) to exchange jobs for a defined period.

(35) Staff must have satisfactorily completed their probation period prior to being eligible to apply for secondment, or where probation does not apply, have been working in their current position for a minimum period of 12 months, unless otherwise negotiated.

(36) The opportunity for a secondment or exchange or other forms of career development should be discussed by the staff member with their supervisor at the time of the VU Develop planning meeting and form part of the employee's VU Develop Plan.

Part G - Professional Staff Study Support

(37) Professional staff who undertake an approved course of study on a part-time basis are eligible to apply for study leave.

(38) The course undertaken must be approved, prior to enrolment, by the supervisor as being aligned to the staff member's VU Develop plan.

(39) The maximum amount of study leave available is 130 hours per calendar year on the date of application (pro-rata for part time staff members) for the period of the study.

(40) The unused portion of any study leave does not accrue.

(41) Staff members who undertake approved units and courses of study provided by the University and are related to their work will be entitled to a 25% subsidy on the fees on satisfactory completion of that unit or course.

Part H - VU Capability Framework

(42) The VU Capability Framework has been developed to assist staff members in their roles at VU. The framework seeks to establish a shared understanding of the critical behaviours and role expectations that drive high performance.

(43) The Leadership Capability Framework describes leadership expectations at VU. It articulates what capabilities leaders need in order to deliver on key priorities and effectively manage staff.

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Section 6 - Procedures

(44) Professional Development and Performance Planning - Professional Staff Study Support Procedure

(45) Professional Development and Performance Planning - Probation Procedure

(46) Professional Development and Performance Planning - Secondment Procedure