performance managementIn a recently released report from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence on State and Local Government Workforce Trends, staff development and employee morale were listed as the most important workforce issues facing government agencies today.

To me, staff development and morale are directly tied to the performance management practices of an organization. Clear expectations, regular feedback, and praise and recognition are all no-cost tools that must be used if an organization expects to thrive and prosper in this time of fewer resources. In fact, Bersin and Associates recently released a study that reveals that performance management is now at the top of the priority list for many organizations. Forty-two percent of organizations have consistent, enterprise-wide practices for performance management. Another 29 percent have a process that is used by most groups throughout the organization. However, that leaves up to 30 percent of organizations with inconsistent or informal performance management practices.

This is troubling because the research also shows that for-profit organizations with defined performance management practices have experienced less downsizing, lower turnover among high performers, and twice the revenue per employee as organizations with informal or inconsistent practices.

The moral of the story is that if you are looking to do more with less (more productivity with fewer employees, more customers with fewer resources) it makes sense to first look to your organization’s performance management practices. Are the day-to-day expectations for employee performance clear? Is meaningful feedback and coaching offered on a regular basis? Do employees clearly understand how their contributions add value to the enterprise? Are managers and supervisors confidently guiding the performance of each individual contributor?

What is your performance management system doing for you? A few tweaks, a renewed focus, or a little training might be all that your organization needs to reap the benefits of a strong performance culture.

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