Update for Members on Performance Management and Assessment Centres in BI/PPM

Update for Members on Performance Management and Assessment Centres in BI/PPM

This article provides updates on Performance management, BT assessment centre programmes for BI and PPM communities, BI Community, Existing double fail population and Maternity and adoption leave – new approach for sales bonus.



Performance management

Members will be hearing the outcome of their H1 performance reviews during October/early November. You can read our advice on things you can do to help stay on top of the process here.  The Prospect agreement on performance management was updated in July and is here  There are associated agreed  FAQs for the half year and agreed guidance on fairness and sense checks. Some of you may now be working with colleagues who have TUPE’d in from EE. They will now be assessed using BT’s process and Prospect has prepared a short presentation on the differences here.

Pressure to force performance ratings is a clear breach of the agreement and abuse of the process – as well as doing absolutely nothing to learn why organisational performance may be lower than hoped. Where this is reported to us by members we push BT hard to stop this wholly negative numbers based approach. If you see this happening in your area then either contact the Helpdesk on 020 8971 6060 or by emailing callitout@prospect.org.uk

There's more detailed advice on the whole process, tips and raising issues about your rating or informal plans here

Update on BT assessment centre programmes for BI and PPM communities

Prospect welcomed BT’s decision to postpone most assessment centres over the summer months to allow a review of the programme to take place. We have continued to press the case for change and are pleased to announce some real progress.

We have consistently raised three key concerns about the programme approach:

  • The consequences of a double fail – in our view removal from role when there is no evidence of under performance in the day job is unjustifiable and unsustainable. BT has now confirmed individuals will NOT be displaced from role but cases reviewed individually. This is a significant step forward and we hope will be welcomed across the community. Transition managers will be still be appointed – they can help people move to another role or could work to ensure a more rigorous plan is put in place to ensure a pass at the relevant level. Individuals who have passed at a lower grade will be given the option of a voluntary downgrade where a vacancy exists. Given this will be a case by case approach, Prospect will be on hand to provide individual advice to those affected.
  • The relevance of the assessment to the requirements of the day job – feedback from members indicated that there was there is a serious mismatch between the two. So people felt they were being tested on things which they never did in real life. BT has developed some Day in the life examples of how the standards are relevant to the day to day work and these are now integrated into a new development tool. We are providing feedback on that tool drawing upon members’ insights. Broadly, our position on this is as follows:

- If BT wants to develop skills across a wider range of capabilities then that is something Prospect would always support.

- Widening skills must be done through a proper development programme recognising that 70% of   learning takes place on the job.

- Testing should only take place after development and learning. Put simply you need to have done the coursework before you sit any exam. 

- We want to see the development tool used to assess a baseline of capabilities and then used to build individual/team/unit level pictures of where people are – and, more importantly, what changes need to be put in place to give people the real life learning experiences to lift capabilities. If BT is serious about this being a development (rather than testing) programme then all of this needs to be put in place and properly monitored and audited. This development activity should be the focus of activity rather than the assessment centres.

- The whole focus of the programme therefore needs to go into development and only when individuals and managers are fully confident that this has taken place should people be assessed.

- We also want to be confident that managers are able and willing to facilitate the development work that is required including any job redesign. In particular we know that the PM community is under huge pressure so we want this to be part of the day job not just on top of an already challenging day job.

- BT seems to be moving in this direction. In particular we welcome the statement that people will have longer between the first AC and any resit (up to six months).

  • The balance between the skills being tested – feedback indicates there is far too much emphasis on finance skills rather than project management skills. We will need to see how this is perceived in time. If the work on development takes place then this should be addressed in the main. Our view is that the balance may need to be shifted towards more weight for PM skills and we will need to keep this under review.

The reassessments have also been revamped and spread over a full day. We are hopeful that this combined with the development work done up front should drastically reduce the number of double fails. We will of course be keeping this under close scrutiny and will update members as this develops.

BI community

Most people in the BI community have now gone through the programme. There are a small number of reassessments due to take place. The reassessments will not be redesigned but people will now be given plenty of time to ensure the up front development work is delivered. Also, a failed reassessment will NOT mean someone is displaced from role. Instead a similar case by case approach will be taken.

Existing double fail population

We are working with Prospect members who have already failed the reassessments. A variety of solutions have been put in place for these people working on the case by case principle. In many cases people have been able to move back into a relevant or previous role and will be preparing for a further assessment in due course. That should only take place after all the development work and on the job experience has been delivered.

Maternity and adoption leave – new approach for sales bonus

After raising this issue for many years Prospect has welcomed BT’s changed approach to the payment of Sales bonus whilst on Maternity/adoption leave. This means that a monthly payment will be made during the first 26 weeks of maternity leave that equates to the average monthly bonus earnings over the previous 12 month period. Further details are on the Sales pay plan intranet pages but this is a very welcome change.

Member Recruit Member

Prospect is still running its member recruit member scheme whereby members can win £10 worth of vouchers or make a £10 donation to charity for every new member they recruit. For details go to www.prospect.org.uk/mrm

Please speak to colleagues who are not members and encourage them to join. The more members we have the stronger our voice.