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Great Western Railway: Performance Management

23 June 2016

Guidance for TSSA management members on the Performance Management and Development process


In 2015 a new Performance management and Development guidance was introduced within GWR by First Group for managers. You can access the guidance on GWR’s Intranet via GW>HR>Performance Development & Review. We are still within the initial performance planning and objective setting phase up until the end of June for the current year, your representatives felt it wise to send out some guidance to those of you who have either started off the process or are yet to meet with your line manager. We want to ensure that members are equipped to ensure that they get the best out of the process. It will hopefully have a positive impact on your career within GWR by giving you an opportunity to develop yourself but we want members to be aware that the markings that you receive could impact on your promotion prospects and potentially in scenarios in future where there are reorganisations for example so it is best that members get prepared and use this process to their advantage.

Advice to members

  • If you haven’t yet had a 1-2-1 with your line manager then we suggest you read over the Performance management and Development guidance, get yourself prepared (i.e. review your job description) and request a 1-2-1 meeting with your manager.
  • Your line manager must talk to you about your objectives before they are set. You should be asked to agree these and should not feel pressured to agree any objective that you are not happy with. If you have already met your manager and objectives are in place that you aren’t happy with then we suggest you put your concerns in writing after discussing it with a TSSA rep or our member’s helpdesk.
  • Ensure that you and your manager agree these are the objectives you will be appraised against once you are happy with them. You should ensure that this agreement is recorded in writing and also on the Snowdrop system.
  • Make any equality declarations at this initial meeting and talk through with your line manager what adjustments he/she will be making on that basis. For example you may choose to do this if you are pregnant and know that you will be going on maternity leave or if you have a physical or mental disability, dependant on the condition. If in doubt speak to your TSSA representative or our members helpdesk.
  • Refuse to accept objectives around your ‘behaviours’ or other subjective measures unless you are happy with them and understand them – you have the right to be appraised fairly and objectively.
  • You are entitled to a mid-year review meeting with your line manager which should be scheduled in October - November. If at your mid-year review point your line manager suggests that you are in danger of not meeting your targets then you should agree, in writing, the steps needed to rectify the gap by the end of the year.
  • Insist on regular meetings with your line manager to review the progress being made. Submit all evidence regularly and diligently to demonstrate how you are meeting your objectives.
  • If you are unhappy at any point of the process, that the procedure is not being followed or that you are being unfairly evaluated. It is important you challenge it in writing and/or through a formal grievance. We strongly recommend that you seek advice from a TSSA representative or the member’s helpdesk before you do this.
  • If you are a line manager you should appraise staff strictly in line with the policy. The employer cannot compel you to forcibly distribute markings if it means a breach of the existing policy. If in doubt contact your TSSA representative or our members helpdesk
  • If you believe that your markings have been wrongly amended as a result of a ‘grandparenting’ exercise (see page 14 of the guidance) you must speak to TSSA about this as soon as possible.

If you have any feedback on this circular on how helpful it is then please contact your rep or Alan Valentine on

To find out who your local representative is please contact our members helpdesk on 0800 328 2673

Are you willing to be a voice for your colleagues? Are you willing to provide support and advice for those TSSA members going through internal processes like the performance review process? If so please contact Alan Valentine via email here 

We would also ask that where possible you print this notice and put it up on a noticeboard in your workplace so that other TSSA members can see it.

Are you reading this and not a member of TSSA? Then you can join us online at

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