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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What is performance management system?

What is performance management system? Describe the functioning of performance management system in your organization or an organization you are acquainted with. How it could be improved?

Performance management system (PMS) is the heart of any " people management " process in organization. Organizations exist to perform. If people do not perform organizations don't survive. If people perform at their peak level organization can compete and create waves. Performance management systems if properly designed and implemented can change the course of growth and pace of impact of organizations.

Setting up a good performance management system doesn't happen overnight or by accident. You need to consider its design and carefully plan how it will work before managers begin using it to evaluate employees.

Armstrong and Baron stress that at its best performance management is a tool to ensure that managers manage effectively; that they ensure the people or teams they manage:
• know and understand what is expected of them
• have the skills and ability to deliver on these expectations
• are supported by the organization to develop the capacity to meet these expectations are given feedback on their performance
• have the opportunity to discuss and contribute to individual and team aims and objectives.

It is also about ensuring that managers themselves are aware of the impact of their own behaviour on the people they manage and are encouraged to identify and exhibit positive behaviors.

So performance management is about establishing a culture in which individuals and groups take responsibility for the continuous improvement of business processes and of their own skills, behaviour and contributions. It is about sharing expectations. Managers can clarify what they expect individual and teams to do; likewise individuals and teams can communicate their expectations of how they should be managed and what they need to do their jobs. It follows that performance management is about interrelationships and about improving the quality of relationships - between managers and individuals, between managers and teams, between members of teams and so on, and is therefore a joint process. It is also about planning - defining expectations expressed as objectives and in business plans - and about measurement; the old dictum is 'If you can't measure it, you can't manage it'. It should apply to all employees, not just managers, and to teams as much as individuals. It is a continuous process, not a one-off event. Last but not least, it is holistic and should pervade every aspect of running an organization.

Because performance management is (or should be) so all-pervasive, it needs structures to support it. These should provide a framework to help people operate, and to help them to help others to operate. But it should not be a rigid system; there needs to be a reasonable degree of flexibility to allow people freedom to operate. Performance management is a process, not an event. It operates as a continuous cycle.

Corporate strategic goals provide the starting point for business and departmental goals, followed by agreement on performance and development, leading to the drawing up of plans between individuals and managers, with continuous monitoring and feedback supported by formal reviews.

PM helps in building better management systems for efficient and effective working of organization.

A managers’ checklist for improving performance management
 Have you established a ‘vision’ for your service? Is it clear what improvement will look like?
 Have staff and customers been part of the process of establishing that vision?
 Do staff believe in the vision? Are they committed to achieving it?
 Do staff understand where the service will be in five year’s time? Next year? Next month?
 Does your service’s vision embrace how the service will change residents’ lives for the better? Does the vision include a sense of fairness, equity and diversity? Does it set out how you will deliver the right service to the right people for the right price?
 Does your vision interlink with the council and community vision? If not, why not? And what needs to change?

 Do you talk about what the service priorities are and what they are not?
 Do you share performance information with your staff? Is discussing performance a regular feature of staff meetings? Are performance indicators, milestones and targets posted prominently in your office or another place staff can easily access them?
 Are you telling staff what they’re doing well? Do you use praise as a positive management tool?
 Are you posting key performance indicators where your service’s users can see them?
 Do staff understand how what they do contributes to council and community objectives?
 Are you listening to staff? Do you encourage them to share problems as well as successes?
 Are staff clear about what is expected of them? Do you let them know when they exceed or fail to meet expectations? Are you communicating your position to your directorate or the corporate centre? Do they know how well you are performing? Do you let them know what they could do to help?
 Do Members know what your service does, how well it does it and what your priorities are?

Systems and processes
 How effective is your relationship with the corporate centre? Can you negotiate the support you need? Are you providing the information and actions they require for good performance management?
 How good is your performance monitoring? Do you have the right measures in place to let you know how well your service is performing today?
 Are the right people in your service able to produce robust performance information? Do people understand how to read and take decisions based on that information?
 Is your service’s performance framework part of the ‘golden thread’? Do your plans, targets and measures link with overarching plans and extend into unit, team and individual plans and targets?
 Do you have systems in place to gather customer information and feedback? Can you ensure that information is taken into account?
 Do you have effective project and risk management to ensure that improvement activities happen?
 Do you and your staff take time out to talk about how systems and processes could be improved to support your work, rather than stand in your way?

Setting the right tone
 Do you show by what you do and what you say that you value performance and performance management?
 Are you recognizing and rewarding good practice and giving staff time out to share their learning? Are you demonstrating that you are using performance management in your day-to-day activities?
 Are you willing to acknowledge your mistakes and demonstrate that you’re doing something to put them right?
 Are your staff clear that when underperformance occurs, that you take steps to deal with it?
 Are you valuing teamwork? Do you actively encourage and reward staff helping each other to improve?
 Do you work constructively with other services or partners?
 When discussing problems, are you more focused on finding solutions than apportioning blame?

Qualcomm uses the performance management approach with its 400 employees outside the US. The vice president of international administration and a staff corporate HR person communicate Qualcomm’s overall performance goals to the units abroad. The local HR unit ensures that the employee’s personal performance standards reflect those of the particular region, which in turn reflect Qualcomm’s overall corporate goals. Each Qualcomm employee then has an annual performance review with his or her manager. In this way, little is left to chance: Activities like recruiting, training, and apprising aren’t performed in an informal way. Instead, local managers design and assess each activity based on the extent to which it contributes to the goals the company is trying to achieve.

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