Staff Recognition and Reward Guidelines

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Staff Recognition and Reward Guidelines


Designated Officer: Director, Human Resources
Date Reviewed: April 2015

 1. Introduction 

This University acknowledges that the achievement of our strategic priorities depends on our staff. In order to maintain and improve quality of our teaching, increase our research capacity and achieve our targets for student, staff and community engagement and sustainability, we must attract, retain and develop a workforce where each member of staff has the opportunity to make a contribution to the achievement of our strategic priorities and key strategies.

The deliberate recognition and reward of the performance of our staff can help build a culture of high performance, increase staff engagement, reinforce positive behaviours, increase retention of key staff, and maintain and enhance equity. For the latter, regular gender pay equity analyses will be undertaken and a gender pay equity target included in the University's Operational Plan.

Performance is assessed through the Performance Planning and Review (PPR) process, which is an ongoing cyclical process that facilitates an active and constructive partnership between a staff member and their PPR supervisor. PPR supports the ongoing review and development of the staff member’s performance within the context of the work area’s plans and priorities, top-level plans and the University’s Strategic Plan.

These guidelines describe formal and informal options to recognise and reward staff for exceptional performance that assists the University in achieving its strategic priorities and key strategies.

2. Application

These guidelines apply to all staff at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

3. Options for recognising and rewarding performance

3.1 Vice-Chancellor and President’s Medals

To recognise and reward exceptional performance staff members or teams may be considered for the award of the Vice Chancellor and President’s Medal for outstanding:

  • Learning and Teaching (for contributions to the advancement of learning and teaching)
  • Learning and Teaching – Sessional Staff (for excellence in facilitating student learning)
  • Research (for contributions to the advancement of research and/or research training)
  • Early Career Academic (to acknowledge the excellence of a new academic)
  • Engagement (for contributions to the advancement of University engagement with the community)
  • Service (for contributions to the advancement of service to the University)

Nominations for the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Medals are called annually.

3.2 Promotion

Academic staff pursue international standards in teaching, research and engagement. To achieve these standards, it is essential that the performance of academic staff be of high quality. To attract, develop, motivate and retain high quality academic staff, it is important to recognise and reward their performance.

To be promoted is recognition that an academic staff member is consistently performing and achieving at a higher level than that to which they are currently appointed. Promotions take effect from 1 January in the year following the annual call for applications.

3.3 Professional Development Program

From the University’s perspective, the professional development program (PDP) is a means by which the performance and achievement of staff can be recognised and rewarded, a significant investment in staff and career development can be made, and strategic and productive partnerships can be developed. Also, the implementation and outcomes of PDP contribute to the achievement of the University, Faculty and Cost Centre’s strategic goals.

3.4 Market loading

Where there is an identified difficulty in attracting and retaining staff in particular specialist areas, a market loading can be applied if the position is identified as critical. A market loading provides remuneration in excess of the approved position classification level for a specified position. A market loading can be negotiated as part of an offer of appointment or be awarded to a filled position on the basis of the following criteria being met:

  • Evidence of recent difficulty in attracting applicants to or maintaining suitable staff in the position; and
  • Organisational need for the contribution, knowledge and expertise required from the position.

The market loading on a specified position will be reviewed annually by the relevant member of University executive.

Where a position is reclassified, any loading being received by the incumbent will cease. In addition, the payment of a market loading will cease should a staff member transfer to another position at the University.

All requests for market loadings will be considered by Executive and, where the payment of the loading is endorsed by Executive, the loading may be approved by the Vice-Chancellor and President. However, where the market loading is considered necessary during the recruitment process, the request will go directly to the Vice-Chancellor and President for approval.

A market loading is payable from the budget of the relevant Faculty or Cost Centre.

3.5 Broadbanding of Professional positions

The classification of a position is based on job analysis, which examines and evaluates the requirements of the position. Broadbanding is formal recognition that a position spans two adjoining classification levels and is available for positions classified up to and including Professional Level 10.

Broadbanding can recognise the application by a staff member of additional skills to those required at their substantive classification level. At the higher level within the broadband, occupants, through experience, will have developed skills and expertise enabling them to perform more independently the full range of duties at a higher level, and more time will be spent on the more complex functions of the position.

3.6 Acting in higher classified positions

A staff member may be asked to fill a vacant higher classified position for a specified period. If the staff member is in agreement, is performing all of the duties, and accepting the full responsibilities of the position, they will receive an allowance in addition to their normal salary. The allowance will be equivalent to the difference between the staff member’s salary and the minimum salary of the position temporarily filled, and is payable provided the period worked is for:

  • 5 or more sequential working days in the case of Professional staff; or
  • 10 or more sequential working days in the case of Academic staff; or
  • a regular number of days over a short period, for example, 2 days per week for a period of 10 weeks.

Where a staff member is performing a percentage of the duties and limited responsibilities of the higher position, the allowance will be a percentage of the difference between the staff member’s salary and the minimum salary of the classification of the position temporarily filled.

An allowance payable under this clause will be regarded as salary for the purposes of calculating all other types of allowance including overtime.

3.7 Incremental progression

Where it is recognised that performance has been satisfactory and additional skills, experience and knowledge have been acquired, a staff member will advance to the next increment level within their classification on their anniversary date. Where unsatisfactory performance or misconduct or serious misconduct procedures have commenced, the increment will be withheld. Incremental progression is directly linked with Performance Planning and Review (PPR).

3.8 Accelerated incremental progression

Accelerated incremental progression is a mechanism to reward staff and recognise exceptional overall performance. It is normally triggered by the annual formal PPR discussion and therefore normally occurs only once a year.

3.9 Informal rewards

There is a range of options to recognise and reward staff on an informal basis. Informal rewards may cost nothing more than the time it takes a supervisor to thank a staff member for their efforts on a particular project or task.

Informal rewards should be individualised, spontaneous, meaningful and simple, and to be most effective, informal rewards should be provided as soon as possible after the achievement has occurred. Providing morning tea, an email or a thank you card, or simply acknowledging a staff member’s achievement in a staff meeting are effective ways to recognise and reward staff.


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