Category: LTEO

designing in success factors to the person specification

Newcastle suggest success factors should;

  • improving the recruitment and selection process
  • clarifying requirements of a role in terms of behaviours
  • helping to set clearer aims and objectives to focus on (addressing how to do something as well as what to do)
  • helping to focus workplace performance on the organisation’s vision and values

They have provided some very brief guidance for success factors in person specifications (  I’d admit this isn’t too useful in explicit examples, however, useful to remember about essential and desirable. In fact I’ve selected a sub set which I’ve included as essential.

I’m currently revisiting the person spec for the ESSD role which will be advertised soon. In particular, I’m thinking how I might use the success factor approach to clarify the requirements of a role in terms of behaviours, and set clearer aims & objectives on how to do something.

The areas under scrutiny are the skills and attributes area of the current job specification. The role is a grade 7, with no line management responsibilities.

The current skills and attributes are;


  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Effective interpersonal skills
  • Able to prioritise, develop and implement action plans


  • Energetic and enthusiastic
  • Working to strict deadlines
  • Flexible, adaptable and able to cope with a broad workload
  • Able to take initiative and be proactive
  • Working effectively within a team

Many of the skills and attributes should be able to map across to the success factors, i.e., communication skills, interpersonal skills / relationships with others, planning, initiative and team work.

I’ve re-visited the 12 success factors (broad descriptions), and reduced these to 5 to include within the job specification. I feel these success factors incorporate the current list of skills and attributes.  These will help provide a clear and agreed description of the types of behaviours that are associated with effective performance.

In terms of monitoring, then post interview the successful candidate will be assigned a number of self factors associated with the broad success factor identified on the job description.

The success factors are;

  1. recognises the need for change and is forward looking. Promotes the benefits of change to others and regularly comes up with new ideas. Has the willingness to adopt new ways of working and to make improvements
  2. works collaboratively with others, plays a positive role in teams and establishes and grows relationships across the team where different skills, expertise and opinions are valued.
  3. manages time and resources by prioritising and organising effectively.
  4. works continually towards achieving excellent service delivery through understanding and meeting / exceeding the expectations of the team, the University, students, staff, colleagues and other stakeholders.
  5. projects a positive attitude personal confidence and enthusiasm in order to achieve organisational success.

success factors applied to staff probation

I’ve had a thing about the potential of applying the success factors to staff probation. As indicated in a previous post, I’ve a growing soft spot for success factors. The aim of this post is to apply these to my new starters.

Firstly, what is the aim of staff probation?

The answer is many things, however, I’d suggest the importance of indicating if the new recruit has the skils, knowledge, attitude and motivation to succeed in the post, meet the job requirements (as outlined in the Job Description) and become an effective member of the team and contributing to the team visions and goals.

I’d also suggest the orientation tasks tend to map against the skills and knowledge criteria within the job description. These are because they are very tangible, and relatively easier to monitor performance against. However, the attitude and behavioural requirements are siggnificantly less tangible. Therefore, we could adopt the success factors framework to help quantify attitude type performance indicators. I’ve indentified a number of essential “self” and “others” success factors which I’m thinking are important to include in a probation period. This is a limited range (as probation is 6 months, and a key milestone is the mid probation report), while the FAQs at Newcastle suggest only 3-5 success factors. By the time of the mid probation report the recruit will need to evidence 1 or 2 points which support the success factor being achieved (again recommended practice at Newcastle). Note, essential is defined by Newcastle as … 

“The essential qualities should represent the minimum requirements without which a candidate simply would be unable to do the job properly. It therefore follows that if a candidate does not meet any one of the essential requirements of the post, they must be rejected”

So which one would I choose? As you’d expect I’d choose the same generic success factors for the two posts (although their job descriptions differ), and I’ll choose a success factor from each cluster. 

1. Looking to the future

  • Embracing change
    • comes forward with new ideas and concepts

2. Working Together

  • Team working
    • gets involved with team tasks

3. Inspiring others

  • commuicating
    • can put forward own view whilst listening and respecting the views and opinions of others

4. Taking responsibility

  • planning and organising
    • uses systems and tools to ensure records and audit trails are clear and up to date

The question for me is, this all looks great on paper but how will I actually implement this? Also, after 3 months will it actually measure / evidence what I want it to or will I be in a similar position as before w.r.t probation staff and not being clear enough on what is expected and evidencing it is being embedded within their practice. Well, there is only one way to find out 🙂

So, the nitty gritty is, I’ll contact the two new members of staff (part of the general catch up), provide the documentation from Newcastle, work through it with them, be very explicit on what is expected, and get them to use their blogs as an ongoing diary so they can use this within their evidence.

success factors for admin and support services

The following are thoughts about Bath’s interest in adopting Newcastle Uni’s Success Factors (

My initial thoughts are this is a really good step. I think it would help our teams in terms of being able to quantity and measure what we expect in terms of attitude and behaviour. It can also be implemented in a such a way that it is very transparent for staff. Some of these attitudes / behaviours are difficult to get across to team members (with clear targets / expectations) during appriasals, probation and catch ups. It is one of those “we aspire to this, but in catch ups we spend most of our time discussing more objective (work package) related targets. However, these factors underpin what we do, so we need a framework to base the discussion around. A very obvious point, is within the area of team working, communication the indicators and the “what less effective looks like” will be very useful to manage team cohesion.

I think this is considerable scope as it discusses the success factors from a number of different perspectives, the self, other and university. I’m looking into ITIL for the core team. Many of these success factors will map across to ITIL. This will help to re-enforce the message and successful embedding of practice.

It will be very interesting to listen to HR view of how these might be used within certain HR processes. It is clear they are personal to the individual, therefore, a few key success factors need to be selected and worked on. I’m wondering about an activity for e-learning people, where they have to read the document (with some blurb from me about the e-learning vision / objectives), then based on last 6 months work they need to evidence the “self” list for the 12 factors. This will indicate where they think they are achieving the success factors, and the gaps. They then write a personal development plan to fill the gaps – this is discussed with the line manager and implemented.

My next step is to re-visit the factors the success factors and try to identify “self” based success factors for the two people who have just started (and are in probation). It would be really interesting to try implementing it.

tea with the mayor … thoughts

As a prize with our NSS promotions students could win tea with the mayor.

There where 3 slots (two at 5-6, and one 12-1).

The sessions were very poorly attended – no students for session one, about 8 for session two and three for session three. There should have been about 10 in each group.

LTEO attended as well as students Union – although we said nothing !!

We had to organise a photographer at short notice for the last session as this had not been previously organised. We also emailed the last days students to remind them.

Thoughts for next year include;

  • change the time so the 5-6 is during the day.
  • send out reminders
  • arrange a photographer
  • discuss with the mayor’s office about setting the context, and thanking students on our behalf (university)