What is Performance Management?

The Action Assist modules included in the Performance Assist Suite offering are:

  • Strategic Plan Assist (called IDP Assist for municipalities): for the building, management and reporting of the performance requirements included in the organisations Strategic Plan. This includes the defining of Strategic Objectives, Projects and Performance Indicators, with the relevant financial budgets and integration with the relevant accounting system, as well as allocating those Projects, Indicators and Budgets, where applicable;

  • Annual Plan Assist (called SDBIP Assist for municipalities): for the management and reporting of the organisational performance requirements included in the Top Layer and Departmental Annual Plan. This includes the generation of the municipality’s performance reports, the tracking of actual finances against budgets, as provided by the Strategic Plan. If required, integration with an Action iT approved financial system can be facilitated. The Annual Plan Assist module also includes a user-friendly assurance functionality;

  • Job Activities Library: a library that acts as a central repository of all the required job activities per sub-function for the organisation, particularly those which fall outside the scope of the Annual Plan. Population of the Job Activities library facilitates the ease of access to the required job activity data required for individual performance management of employees;

  • Individual Performance Assist: for the management of performance scorecards per individual employee per financial year as directly cascaded down from the Annual Plan and / or Job Activities Library (as required) and for the management of the individual performance evaluation and moderation processes and the calculation of the required bonuses payable (where applicable);

  • PDP Assist: for the management and tracking of employees’ PDPs (Personal Development Plans).

It is very important that the employee can easily update the progress of their performance indicators. The Action Assist system allows for an easy, user friendly, process for updating which is available to all employees through various means (e.g. desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone etc.). All that is required is that the employee should have access to a device that has access to the internet.

The monitoring and reporting function of any performance management system is a crucial component to the success of performance management. The leadership team of the municipality can use Action Assist to view the progress of organisational performance, as well as the progress of any actions assigned to any official at any time on any day, and generate all the reports required to meet their mandate. The Performance Assist Suite of modules of Action Assist will also assist the organisation with their monitoring and reporting requirements.

Performance managers need to remember the two guiding principles when implementing a Performance Management System:

  1. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS principle), and

  2. All KPAs, KPIs and Actions must comply with the SMART principle (The task assigned must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed (must have an agreed upon deadline)).

Please download the Performance Assist Fact Sheet by clicking on the link/s below:

The term “Performance Management” seems to be one of those terms used frequently in both the private and public sectors. But what is Performance Management and how can it assist in managing, monitoring and reporting on performance at organisations?

Performance Management includes all those activities which ensure that goals of an organisation are consistently being met in an effective and efficient manner. Performance management focuses on the performance of an organisation, a department, employee, or even processes within the organisation (e.g. the processes to build a product or service). For Performance management to be effective, the organisation must align their resources, systems and employees to their strategic objectives and priorities.

Experience has shown that the different schools of thought have applied different jargon and methodologies to the term “performance management” which has resulted in very complex operational processes and systems creating much confusion and practical resistance to performance management being effectively implemented. Performance Management is a process and not a once-off event. It therefore requires the appropriate level of strategic guidance and commitment from the leadership team of the organisation.

The performance management process starts the strategic planning process that needs to be carried out before implementing a performance management system. During this process it is important for the leadership team of the organisation to:

1. Agree on Strategic Objectives

As part of this strategic planning process there should be the appropriate level of consultation, public participation and consideration of all relevant legislation, regulations and other information that can possibly affect the organisation’s performance in meeting its strategic objectives. The strategic objectives should be summarised in the organisation’s Strategic Plan. Inadequate performance management including lack of monitoring thereof as well as no consequences to employees due to poor performance can be a cause for failure of organisations not meeting their Strategic Objectives. Processes and controls should be put into place to ensure that the performance objectives of the organisation filter through to the performance contracts of employees. This will assist in giving employees the required direction they need to follow in their daily operations. This can only be achieved by the leadership of the organisation that should set the tone by implementing sound performance management processes, evaluating and monitoring performance and consistently demonstrating that there are consequences for poor performance.

2. Translate strategy into Annual Performance indicators

The strategy as included in the Strategic Plan must be translated into annual performance indicators and targets that the organisation wants to achieve in meeting the strategic objectives. An annual performance plan, for each financial year, should then be prepared containing all the downward cascaded performance indicators and targets relating to the specific financial year. Performance indicators and targets are used to track, monitor and measure performance in relation to the strategic objectives.

 

3. Carry out the required Change Management activities

The organisation must take the required change management actions to ensure that the organisation is ready to accept the performance management processes, that the required performance data is gathered and captured into the Performance Management system, and that the employees are ready to accept the outcomes from the performance management process.

 

4. Agree on an Implementation Plan

An agreement must be reached on the implementation, capacity building, monitoring and reporting plan for the Performance Management process. It is our view that this can only be achieved if clearly defined action plans are developed, approved and implemented across the entire organisation. Once a plan has been implemented, it must be monitored and managed to ensure that the set deliverables are achieved. This is best done by allocating and tracking the required actions to identified employees within the organisation. These actions should then form part of the individual employees KPIs on which they must be measured.

A question we are frequently asked is: “But how do we, as an organisation, practically implement such a required performance management system?”

This starts by separating the two parts of the performance management process, i.e. the organisational performance management and the individual performance management.

  • Organisational performance management focuses on the management of the strategic objectives at an organisational level. This is done by measuring the output, financial and otherwise, on a monthly basis of performance against the pre-set strategic objectives and performance indicators (KPAs and KPIs) as documented in the organisation’s Annual Plan for the financial year.

  • Individual performance management focuses on the management of the individual employees’ performance. This is done by measuring the output against the individual’s pre-set performance indicators (KPAs, KPIs) and more specifically the actions (tasks) that the individual performed to meet the key performance areas agreed to as documented in their performance contract(s). The main reason for the separation of the two processes is to take into account that the individual performance management process can only start once organisational performance management process has been properly defined, aligned, and implemented.

Performance Management is a process and to ensure the proper alignment (downward cascading) of performance requirements to meet the required outcomes it is imperative that a top down approach is followed. The leadership team needs to ensure that all the strategic objectives for a specific financial year are included in the Annual Plan for that year. Once this has been done the responsibility and accountability of meeting the set objectives must be assigned to the relevant employees. These employees, together with their respective teams will have the responsibility of ensuring that the performance indicators are met. Only once the organisational performance indicators have been assigned to the responsible employees, will those employees be in a position to downward cascade (align) the required actions to be taken to individuals. The downward cascaded performance indicators and actions will form part of the individual’s performance contract that he / she will be measured on during his / her performance evaluation.

To assist organisations with the implementation of a performance management system which ensures the alignment of performance indicators from the strategic plan through the annual plan, down to the individual, the organisation should consider the implementation of an IT system such as Action Assist. The Performance Assist Suite of Action Assist facilitates the building of the organisations Strategic Plan (e.g. municipal IDP), the management of the annual plan (e.g. SDBIP) for organisational performance management purposes followed by the management of individual performance and individual development plans.

The figure below shows the Action Assist Modules that can assist organisation in achieving their Performance Management objectives:

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