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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Performance Management in Public Offices

Objectives of any ministry or organization would be expected to be set by the top leadership/management, and these cascade all the way down to the people on the floor workshop. It needs to be structured such that the outcome of such objectives are clear, with realistic targets and measures in place, so that team members gets to enlist what of their periodical activities (say monthly) will contribute to the overall outcome objective. If everyone in the chain of command does this, then the principles of Performance Management will be in place.

Another measure required is to link the Performance outcome with rewards and recognition where deserved, and development opportunities or even disciplinary actions or dismissal as appropriate. The key is to ensure the process of setting these objectives is participatory, with clear steer from the leadership, and that all objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

Performance management need not to be used as a punitive tool for those not delivering. Otherwise you will only be creating a culture of resentment. It ought to be used as a tool for developing individuals and their teams, and get the best out of people. It does not mean the system cannot at times get applied inappropriately.

I once recall reading in the print press in Dar Es Salaam, the then Objectives of the office of the Prime Minister (when Edward Lowassa was a Premier), and was surprised to see how vague they were. We can't keep passing the blames to the Public officials without giving a clear strategic and tactical direction on how the Performance Management is to be done, provide the necessary training to the personnel and line managers, and actually stick to the plan. If not in place, the government and all Public institutions should all ensure to have robust Performance Management process in place, with process owner and clear lines of appropriate responsibilities and accountability.

Temu, A.B.S © 2009

Photo courtesy of http://www.receivablesperformance.com/img/i01.jpg

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Source of Debate : http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/guardian/2009/03/03/132694.html

Pinda calls for beefing up of HR departments

2009-03-03 10:35:51
By Guardian Reporter


Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has said human resource managers have failed the public and urged that the area be looked at more critically.

In his speech at a conference on good governance read on his behalf by Zanzibar Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, the Premier said: ``Experience indicates that human resources management in African public services has failed to perform its strategic role in development.``

Giving a reason for the sad state of affairs, Pinda said the sector was manned by people who were not qualified human resources professionals.

Pinda said this happened mainly because the human resource department and human resource practices were not given adequate recognition in the public service system.

``Human resources developments are also uncoordinated and fragmented. These problems have led to inadequate training, wastage and misplacement of personnel as well as poor monitoring mechanisms to determine the capacity and productivity of the trained personnel,`` said the premier.

In his introductory remarks, Lynelle Briggs, an Australian public service commissioner, said performance management was a critical component of managing the workforce effectively.

Citing an Australian example, Briggs said their state of the service survey had found that the majority of staff in the public service rated factors such as feedback, realistic performance expectations and clear work plans as important to improving or maintaining their productivity in the next 12 months.

She said the key lessons they had learned over the years allowed them to observe that performance management relied on a three-level approach to ensure that performance management systems achieved desired outcomes, were supported by employees, and were effective in managing various aspects of performance.

Briggs said the responsibility for making performance management a success lied with individual employees (who must take ownership of their own performance), their immediate managers and senior executives.

The commissioner said addressing underperformance issues effectively continued to be the area where there was room for improvement.

Phillemon Luhanjo, chief secretary and head of public service, urged his fellow officers to take all necessary steps designed to improve and bolster the human resource function in core areas, including those of planning, recruitment and selection, staff development and performance management.

George Yambesi , permanent secretary, Public Service Management, said in his welcoming statement that the training event was designed to enhance the capacities and competencies of delegates from Commonwealth African countries in the area of human resource management. He said the training was aimed at exploring the application of the merit principles in multiple jurisdictions and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each model.

The training has gathered delegates from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Mauritius representing Africa.

Other Commonwealth Countries represented in the gathering include Canada, the United Kingdom, Barbados, India, Malaysia, Malta and Jamaica.

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