Performance Management Systems
The overall goal of performance management is to ensure that the organization and all of its subsystems (processes, departments, teams, employees, etc.) are working together in an optimum fashion to achieve the results desired by the organization. Performance Improvement should be seen as an integrated process that strives to optimize results and alignment of all subsystems to achieve the overall results of the organization.
The performance management process requires several key activities, including identification and prioritization of desired results, establishing means to measure progress toward those results, setting standards for assessing how well results were achieved, tracking and measuring progress toward results, exchanging ongoing feedback among those participants working to achieve results, periodically reviewing progress, reinforcing activities that achieve results and intervening to improve progress where needed. The results measurements themselves are not the ultimate priority as much as ongoing feedback and adjustments to meet results.
The steps in performance management are also similar to those in a well-designed training process, when the process can be integrated with the overall goals of the organization.
Various authors propose various steps for performance management. The typical performance management process includes some or all of the following steps, whether in performance management of organizations, subsystems, processes, etc. The steps can vary widely, depending on the focus of the performance efforts and who is in charge of carrying it out. The steps are generally followed in sequence, but rarely followed in exact sequence. Results from one step can be used to immediately update or modify earlier steps. For example, the performance plan itself may be updated as a result of lessons learned during the ongoing observation, measurement and feedback step.
The following steps occur in a wide context of many activities geared towards performance improvement in an organization, for example, activities such as management development, planning, organizing and coordinating activities.
- Review organizational goals to associate preferred organizational results in terms of units of performance, that is, quantity, quality, cost or timeliness (note that the result itself is therefore a measure)
- Specify desired results for the domain -- as guidance, focus on results needed by other domains (e.g., products or services need by internal or external customers)
- Ensure the domain's desired results directly contribute to the organization's results
- Weight, or prioritize, the domain's desired results
- Identify first-level measures to evaluate if and how well the domain's desired results were achieved
- Identify more specific measures for each first-level measure if necessary
- Identify standards for evaluating how well the desired results were achieved (e.g., "below expectations", "meets expectations" and "exceeds expectations")
- Document a performance plan -- including desired results, measures and standards
- Conduct ongoing observations and measurements to track performance
- Exchange ongoing feedback about performance
- Conduct a performance appraisal (sometimes called performance review)
- If performance meets the desired performance standard, then reward for performance (the nature of the reward depends on the domain)
- If performance does not meet the desired performance standards, then develop or update a performance development plan to address the performance gap
- Repeat steps 9 to 13 until performance is acceptable, standards are changed, the domain is replaced, management decides to do nothing, etc.
- developing and implementing effective performance management sytems
- presenting performance management training programmes
- providing performance management tools that facilitates the facilitates the performance management process