K S Ahluwalia
- Fiscal sanity
- Crisis of competence
- Information overload
- Governing without boundaries
- Role of contractors
- Results-oriented government
- Green leadership
- Security and privacy in a flat world
- Anticipation of emerging threats and disasters
A very real part of the problem in addressing performance issues is the use of poorly defined and loosely used words and phrases," they stated. They also recommended involving employees in the process of defining what successful performance is
Step 1: Develop greater clarity about what constitutes performance management. It is hard to reach consensus on the solution to a problem if the people involved do not share a common language, especially if they are from different professional disciplines. A clearer definition of performance management will clarify that the key players are the executives and frontline managers, not the human capital officer, and that managers will need to be held accountable for actively managing the performance of their employees.
Step 2: Ensure the prerequisites for good performance management are in place. As the leadership comes to understand that an organization needs to be ready to embrace performance management practices, and that the managers need to be ready to make tough but honest decisions about the performance of their employees. Here Excalibre Executive Education offers eight practices that contribute to a performance culture which can be detailed on request.
An organization's leadership has to be willing to embrace these practices as prerequisites to moving toward more effective performance management.
Step 3: Involve employees in defining “successful performance.” One of the lessons from the failures of past performance management efforts was the importance of defining what successful or outstanding performance looks like. Employees want to be successful; it is essential that they be clear as to what the criteria for success looks like.
Both managers and employees must accept the criteria as credible and realistic. When people play an active role in goal setting, they are far more likely to be committed to the goals. And the people that best know what constitutes success are those on the front line. After all, they know their jobs better than anyone.
Step 4: Start small. In both the public and private sectors, there have been numerous success stories of performance management. The most common thread among them, though, is that they were all relatively small in scale. It is much easier to gain acceptance to the introduction of performance management—and its ultimate link to performance pay—in smaller organizations.
Changes that affect careers and working relationships are best addressed at the local level. High performance depends on the buy-in of frontline managers- like at IBM Center for The Business of Government Managing- mandate is improving in continuum the performance parameters of the employees.
Step 5: Create a Program Management Office for performance management initiatives. It would be advantageous to create a Program Management Office (PMO) that brings together the specialized, functional expertise from across the organization. The role of the PMO is to provide leadership, internal coaching and consulting, training, coordination, and project-related resources.
Almost more important than the technical expertise, it raises the prominence of the initiative and stamps it as an organizational priority. The initiative is less likely to have the support it needs if it is managed as a human resources/human capital project. The Ministry of Defense created a PMO to manage the National Security Personnel System, and it has proven its value.
Step 6: Add incentives for middle management. When federal performance management practices are compared with corporate practices, one of the differences is the absence of incentives for managers below the SES level. Since they have primary responsibility for managing employee performance, they should be a primary focus of any initiatives to improve performance.
Current cash award practices are inadequate for that group. The new program should be based primarily on the achievement of performance goals and flow from the SES program. The notion of cascading goals is central to performance planning and has been used widely for decades. Tying cash awards to achieving the goals can be a powerful incentive.
Based on the past experiences of organizations attempting to put in place effective performance management practices, the authors found it often takes years.
Recommendation 1: Government and corporate should continue moving toward improved performance management practices for both organizations and individuals.
A key challenge facing both the current administration and future administrations will be linking or integrating the practices used to manage employee performance with those used to manage agency performance. Now they are essentially separate and disconnected.
Research has shown that employees are more productive when there is a”line of sight” showing how their work efforts contribute to the success of their employer. Employee performance planning cannot be effective if it is not linked to organizational performance plans.
Recommendation 2: During the remainder of its term, the Bush administration should continue to fine-tune ongoing performance management practices and encourage new initiatives. The Senior Executive Service(SES) pay and performance system should be the capstone for performance planning and management at lower levels.
Until the SES system is seen as effective, it is unlikely that lower-level systems will be successful. Likewise, the lessons learned at the SES level should be the basis for developing similar practices for frontline managers and supervisors. Frontline managers need to be treated more like their counterparts in industry and expected to assume responsibility for the performance of their units. That should be reflected in the way they are compensated.
The “beta” demonstration projects now in place to test new performance management systems should be continued.
This approach is consistent with the finding that the success stories are typically based in smaller work groups. New systems and practices should conform to an overarching set of principles, but ”locally grown” performance plans will serve managers better than anything dictated from headquarters.
Each agency should also invest in training to develop the skills executives and frontline managers need to manage performance effectively. Effective performance management involves a redefinition of the way some managers see their roles. They will need time to develop the necessary competencies and to make the transition. Starting now will help to ensure they are ready.
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