Q: How Do We Launch a Systematic and Rigorous Plan to Build a Performance Management Strategy for Our Workforce?
Dear No Systems Go:
Staff inefficiencies are obviously a big issue for many employers, especially in industries (such as yours) where customer service levels are often a huge differentiator in the marketplace.
Your have not indicated whether--or how--you determined staff to be inefficient. Perhaps you already have a factual basis for coming to this conclusion. If not, that should be your starting point. First and foremost, you will want to better understand what efficiency standards are the norm (or the ones to beat) in your industry. In other words, before you decide which actions to take, you really must understand how your company stacks up against the competition's standards of efficiency.
Following that, and before adopting a new or realigned system or methodology, conduct an in-depth review of your current processes. While the answer to your dilemma may indeed be that your people simply need more training, other process-related issues may prevent them from being as efficient as possible. No amount of training will improve efficiency if, for instance, people are inputting data more than once, or waiting too long for approvals. Detailed process evaluations frequently identify inefficiencies and "process traps" that are easy to isolate and relatively inexpensive to repair, and which typically lead to a rapid boost in efficiencies.
After all this, you may still find that people issues are a contributing factor to inefficiency. If that's the case, the best way to launch a performance management strategy is to start by making sure that you clearly and specifically articulate the business issues to your employees. Clearly identifying business issues allows you to assess how well you currently hire, train, develop and manage the performance of your people against those issues.
Clearly articulating the business needs helps you establish the competencies your people need to move forward. A formal performance assessment will determine whether you have people with those competencies, which skills gaps exist and whether you are better off investing time and money to develop your current team, or recruiting people who already posses those skills.
This approach is the best way to proceed, as it allows you to link your systems and assessment methods directly to your business strategy. It also allows you to prioritize your next steps and determine the most effective use of your training investment, both in terms of effort and dollars.
SOURCE: Beth Przywara, principal, Capital H Group, Detroit, April 20, 2006.
LEARN MORE: Please read How Do We Move From Paternalism to Measuring Performance? for another viewpoint on how to cultivate performance management.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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