Using the AUA CPD Framework through the employee lifecycle

The AUA CPD Framework is a versatile tool that supports the career development of higher education professionals. It’s a behaviourally based approach that, when embedded into the expectations set at key points in the employee lifecycle, supports a management culture that focuses on the positive behavioural attributes that drive high performance. Including the right attributes from the Framework into your organisation’s policies and processes, and supporting staff and managers to use them well can really support your organisations to achieve its goals, at the same time as enabling your professional services staff to feel valued, and to flourish. The Framework has been used in many creative ways by over 50 HE institutions since 2009, creating a rich bank of resources for staff development professionals to tailor for their own organisation.

The Framework can be adapted to support your organisation’s priorities and processes. Below are some examples of how organisations have successfully used the Framework at many key points of the employee lifecycle including; recruitment and selection, induction and probation,  annual professional development reviews, and providing development opportunities for professional services staff.

Recruitment and selection

So often in recruitment we focus on the knowledge and skills that staff need, yet knowledge and skills are far more easily acquired than behavioural attributes which can be far trickier to tackle when things go wrong. When the behaviours are embedded right into the recruitment process, we give equal weight to ensuring that we are recruiting the right people into the role.

The Behaviour Framework can be embedded into the person specification to give candidates a really good understanding of how they will need to approach their work to be successful in the role.

The University of Bath has included the relevant behaviours (which they refer to as the Effective Behaviours Framework) in their job descriptions. See an example.

Durham University created a question bank which could be used during interview and/or probation and appraisal meetings. You can also see an example of interview questions used by the University of Bath.

Probation and induction

Once new staff have started, then maintaining a focus on developing positive behaviours as well as acquiring the necessary knowledge and skill offers managers an easy tool for focusing on the positive to support staff to make a positive impact from the start.

The University of Bath has incorporated the professional behaviours into their probationary objectives setting form.


Durham University carried out a piece of work to separate out the behaviours and mapped them to role grade. Read more about their approach.



Professional Development Review

ADR, PDR, appraisal…whatever it’s called in your organisation, it’s a critical development opportunity for individuals in the annual calendar. Conversations which have the Framework as the basis have the potential to be much richer and more rewarding than simply looking at tasks and objectives. Durham University’s question bank is a useful tool in preparing for these conversations.

The University of Bath has included the behaviours in their appraisal forms, providing the opportunity for colleagues to reflect on their work over the previous year and outline their strengths and development areas.  Read their report on their recently updated form.

London College of Communication (LCC) has also trialled using the Framework as an optional part of their appraisal process. They created a toolkit with instructions along with some fictional case studies to demonstrate how it could be used effectively.

Staff development provision

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) uses the Framework across a number of development opportunities. It has mapped which of the behaviours are covered in their training provision.Colleagues are supported to work towards Accredited Membership and Fellowship as part of its AUA CPD Programme.  Monthly lunchtime forums are focused around one of the AUA Professional Behaviours.

Michael Monaghan at LJMU has created some interactive resources which he has kindly agreed to share with others across the sector. We hope  you find them helpful for engaging colleagues in working with the Framework.

You can download the activities and instructions by clicking on the links below:

Building Behaviours: This game is a great tool for introducing colleagues to the CPD Framework.

AUA Building Behaviours instructions

Behaviour Insights: This game encourages more in-depth reflection on the behaviours within the  Framework, at an individual, team and organisational level. This game may need some slight adaptation if you wish to incorporate your own institutional values.

Creating Conversations: This activity encourages critical reflection,discussion and debate around the nine AUA Professional Behaviours, centred on individual and collective strengths and areas of development, aligned to the AUA CPD Framework and work-related objectives.

If you have any questions about using these resources, please do not hesitate to contact Jo Forsyth, Professional Development Manager.

Organisational Infrastructure

To put all of these things in place, the organisation needs to build them into its own infrastructure. The AUA Mark of Excellence is a way for organisations to review how systematically the Framework is being deployed and to continuously improve how it’s used.

With thanks to; Durham University, University of Bath, Liverpool John Moores Univeristy, London College of Communication (LCC) for sharing their work.

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