Almost every other day, we hear employees from different organizations complain about how they are being badly treated, while employers lament the insensitivity and lack of commitment of their workers.
The majority of the complaints are usually around:
- Employees not taking full responsibilities of their jobs, hence failing in their periodic deliverables.
- Unrealistic goals given to workers without their consent/agreement.
- Giving employees responsibilities that they are not trained for and expecting them to deliver high level results immediately.
- Employees not putting their best into their jobs but still expecting full salaries, promotions and other benefits.
- Delayed promotions and withheld remunerations.
- Employers changing ‘goal posts’ to deny employees their due rewards after work has been done.
- Absence of clear-cut work roles, competences required for roles, freedom to own jobs and take initiatives, lack of adequate support from the management, lack of or inadequate work tools, etc.
- Lack of or ineffective performance measurement system
- Insincerity of management in declaring actual results or returns to enable employees make full demands as agreed
- Bureaucracy and unconducive work environment which affects the productivity of employees etc.
From the foregoing, it’s evident that the complaints are from the two parties in most cases.
What Is The Solution?
A Performance Management System (PMS) usually consists of the processes involved in the identification, measurement, improvement, evaluation and reward of employee performance towards the achievement of an organization’s set goals within a given timeframe, using available resources.
The Performance Management System, like every other functional system, gives life to an organization’s corporate objectives. It breaks down the corporate goal, then distributes it in chunks and pieces to the departments, units and every individual in the company.
With the use of a PMS, a clear picture of the people and technical requirements for every job position in the company is presented, leaving no room for ambiguities.
Dialogue And Negotiations Are Vital to Human Interactions
A lot of our interactions as humans are centered around dialogues and negotiations. The workplace relationship is not different.
We, however refer to it as collective bargaining, as it gives us the opportunity to negotiate. And because the company has a mission to fulfil while the individual worker has personal goals to hit, the need for a serious round-table discussion and agreement concerning work expectations and rewards cannot be overemphasized.
This is what having a Performance Management System is about. It is the solution to the challenges highlighted above!
Developing and implementing an effective performance management system in your organization provides a robust answer to the following 5 pertinent questions and concerns:
- What Am I Supposed To Deliver, What Quality Is Required And When?
This is one of the biggest questions in performance management around the world.
Research has shown that one of the major challenges affecting productivity is the problem of employees or subordinates not having adequate information on the following:
- What exactly is my work? What are my own deliverables out of that of the unit, department or organization?
- What is the quality of the result I’m expected to produce and how would it be measured? For example, if my job is to manage correspondence for my department, how do you measure the quality of my output?
- What is the timeline within which I must deliver the expected result?
The answers to these questions are primarily contained in the employees’ Terms of Reference (TOR) and Key Results Area (KRA), which are important documents for performance management.
Consequently, without a good PMS in place, the answers to these questions may remain uncertain.
- What Competence Is Required To Deliver On My Goals?
An effective PMS is clear on competency requirements for each job position. This helps in ensuring that the right person is fixed to the right job in the organization.
With the use of the Job Specification tool, the abilities, skills and knowledge required to perform a job is clarified, thereby making it easy to match competence with personality. With job specification, you will be required to break down the competence level into:
Following this simple process, you won’t give the job or expect the result of an advanced level staff, from one at a basic level. What this means is that, you will give the job of a basic level staff to someone at that level and expect the same level result and vice versa.
Importantly, this makes identifying training and development needs easy.
- Clarity Of Roles
The idea of clarity of roles is multifaceted.
Firstly, there has to be clarity between the responsibility of the employees against that of the management.
For example, creating an ample work environment; which is central to performance, is the responsibility of the management. It will be unfair to give a staff that never had work tools, poor scores during the appraisal. That would mean expecting him/her to do the job of management.
Imagine an internet connectivity issue that lingered for a week in an organization, caused by a disagreement between the management and the vendor. This left all the employees that depend on internet for their work, incapacitated and frustrated. Of course, this will have a ripple effect on their output at the end of the period (depending on the nature of the company’s products/services).
It will be proper (for the office responsible) to initiate a make-up plan with the affected staff members, while properly documenting the incident, that way, stopping the incidence from affecting their appraisal scores.
Secondly, there has to be clarity of roles amongst the departments and the different staff members, to avoid duplication of functions. Everyone must have their specific roles that they are directly responsible for, without ambiguity.
Imagine where you have a marketing and sales unit/department separately existing. It’s necessary to know where each unit’s job starts and stops, to avoid overlapping.
An effective PMS assigns roles and holds everyone accountable for their deliverables, to ensure that performance is not hampered and rewards given with accuracy.
Without it, there will be wrangling over who should do what, who did what and who should be rewarded with what. . . not a place to be!
- Promotion And Reward Ambiguities
One of the core benefits of a good PMS is that it helps institute clear rewards and promotions culture through an appraisal system based on merit.
Of a necessity, when a PMS outlines the expected result to be produced by an employee within a given timeframe using XYZ resources, it also includes the rewards (salary, pay increases, promotion, allowances, etc.) to be enjoyed once the goal is achieved.
A typical Performance Management system has details similar to what’s in the table below:
ABC LTD; PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL AND REWARDS FOR SENIOR STAFF; 2019 ACCOUNTING YEAR
CUMULATIVE KRA PERFORMANCE (%)
Demotion by 2 steps
Demotion by 1 step
Maintenance of the status quo
20% increase in compensation package
30% increase in compensation package
50% increase in compensation package
● 70% increase in compensation package
● Promotion by 2 steps
● Nomination for staff merit awards
● 100% increase in compensation package
● Promotion by 4 steps
● Nomination for staff merit awards.
● 150% increase in compensation package
● Promotion by 6 steps
● Nomination for staff merit awards.
A sample performance/rewards section of a Performance Appraisal document designed by Richard Uwamari
Additionally, the table above will produce better results on a basic foundation where the following are already in place:
- An annual performance appraisal timetable, known to all.
- A work environment where the four items listed above is clear; that is
- Specific terms of reference and key result areas for each department/unit/individual.
- Job specification (competency requirements for each job)
- Clarity of roles, required work tools and ample work environment to forestall unnecessary challenges that can disrupt productivity.
- Clear information on rewards/compensations for performance
- A system with a good communication process; free of victimization, intimidation, and where everyone is accountable for their actions and inactions.
With this process in place, productivity will be inspired and moving low performers up the ladder would be easier. This is one of the core benefits of an effective performance management system.
- Employee Engagement And Motivation
PMS is naturally an engaging process; a lot of deliberations, arguments/agreements are involved before sign-off is reached.
Because of the involvement of the various job holders in the execution of the process, the opportunity to contribute their quota is held in high value and serves as a motivational pill to them.
Importantly, this settles the issue of “we” and “them” seen in many organizations.
Questions like ‘do I really belong here?’ ‘Why would they continue to force things on us without giving us an opportunity to air our views?’ etc. gets answered.
Consequently, there’s an improved sense of belonging, ownership of responsibilities are taken a notch higher and thus; productivity is increased and team work improved upon.
Performance Management System Enhances Collaboration
- It helps the management see the employees as business partners and vice versa
- It encourages a sense of ownership and responsibility in the employees
- It helps reduce wastage of resources
- A performance management system is good for career development and management.
- Succession planning is simplified as the records are there for all to see (for decision making purposes)
- It helps build a healthy organization based on teamwork and productivity.
- It enhances a culture of ethics, equity and equality
The overall purpose of a Performance Management System is to ensure that the organization is properly positioned to achieve its corporate goals, which results in business growth, job satisfaction and every other desire there may be. It induces increased productivity powered by a well-motivated workforce.
These points (although in-exhaustive) are some of the primary concerns of every organization (irrespective of the nature of its business and size). It is therefore important that the right PMS is put in place to deliver such and where one does not currently exist, I believe the highlighted benefits should be convincing enough to have for one.
See you on top!
Richard Uwamari – Richardizm is a certified management consultant and leads the team at hrm2day.com. He is also the consulting partner at Richystar Consulting limited, a management consulting firm based in Lagos Nigeria.
Having been in the HR industry for over a decade now, he’s contributed his expertise in meeting ‘people needs’ of several local and international organizations. Asides his management consulting interests, Richard has a deep commitment to youth empowerment where he’s been involved in several developmental activities. He likes music and good food!