Reflect, Plan, Develop

Setting objectives as a reviewer


The setting of objectives provides clarity on specific activities and expectations for delivery and when they need to be achieved by.  The discussion, agreement and setting of objectives, are important steps within appraisal (RPD) and will have valuable benefits for reviewee, line managers, schools/departments, and the University.  It can provide an opportunity to raise ideas and concerns, explore new ways of working, understand priorities at individual, team and organisational level, allocate time and resources effectively and reflect on progress to, identify development needs.

It is important that there is a meaningful two-way conversation and therefore it is beneficial for both reviewer and reviewee to have prepared some thoughts regarding objectives, based on the requirements of the role and the goals of the school/department, with some stretch and challenge for individuals.

Although it is recognised that objectives are created to clearly outline expectations and agree a plan of action for meeting those expectations, where possible, objectives should also support staff in engaging and rewarding work activity.

When discussing planned objectives, it is important to structure thinkingthrough each objective, and often a structured coaching model can be useful for the reviewer in drawing this information out. Below you will find an example of a coaching tool called GROW, which has five possible areas to explore when an objective has been identified.


The Objectives Plan which can be found as part of the RPD Form is also a useful template for the reviewee to complete as a result of this conversation.

One of the more complex aspects of setting objectives can be where it is more difficult to quantify and measure outcomes, particularly if this is about how something is to be done, rather than what needs to be done. There are different ways in which to address this; possibly through allocating a numerical scale to assess level of achievement in certain areas, or using competency frameworks that identify technical skills, behaviours or qualities such as teamwork, communication, time management or leadership (such as the frameworks from AUA, HEA, Vitae and the LBF).

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Last Updated: 23/10/2018