Dr Ugboaja JO
I welcome you to this edition of our leadership and management corner. Today, we will discuss the concept of Performance management which is critical towards achieving organizational goals & objectives.
The employees are the biggest asset to the manager and the success of the manager depends a lot on the performance of the members of staff. After all, management is, simply put, achieving result through the effort of other people. Therefore, it is important to under how to manage the performance of the staff to achieve the desired result whether it is in a public institution like the hospital or bank or private companies like a motocycle spare parts selling company or a ‘pure water’ manufacturing company.
What is Performance Management (PM)?
Performance management is a practice which is aimed at maximizing the contribution of an employee towards achieving the unit/departmental/institutional or company’s objectives. It involves open communication between a manager or supervisor and an employee that focuses on job expectations, objectives, goals, feedback, and results. In other words, it is the processes of letting the employees know what is expected of them, watching to see if they perform as expected, rating their performance, and ultimately rewarding them if their performance is good.
In addition to checking how well employees are performing and evaluating them, Performance management also offers the opportunity for staff development in order to strengthen the employees’ capacity and skill sets.
Let’s imagine that you work in the Records department of a Teaching Hospital. Your job includes opening new folders for the patient and registering them using the new Electronic Medical Recording system (EMR) which is the most modern platform for health information management. As a Records officer, you are expected to be conversant with the EMR and be cheerful to the patients as a frontline staff so that the institution can achieve its vision of being a top rate hospital. Lately, you have noticed that your supervisor has been observing you and asking questions about if you are aware of the hospitals’ and departments’ charter on patients’ satisfaction and the current vision of the hospital. He also asks if you know the objectives of your job position. He even sat you down one day to go over your work and provide feedback about your performance.
What your supervisor is doing, is partaking in a process known as performance management, So, he is letting you know that you are expected to be cheerful with all the patients and work well on the EMR so that the patient does not have to wait for too long. He is letting you know that you are being watched to see if you meet that goal, and providing feedback about how well you are doing to meet that goal.
Steps in Performance management
There are five major steps involved in the performance management process: planning, monitoring, developing, rating, and rewarding.
Planning is the first step in PM and it involves outlining expectations from the staff. Here the manager/supervisor/head will establish goals and indicate how the staff’s performance impacts the institution as a whole. This means that the manager /supervisor would have established the departmental/unit objectives in line with the organizational goals from where he/she will derive the job expectations of the employee. It is a good practice and facilitates participation to involve the members of staff at this phase. So, if your boss comes to you and lets you know what he/she expects from you and what the goal is, then he/she is completing the planning step.
The next step is monitoring. This phase involves the supportive monitoring/supervision of the staff to ensure that he/she is working in tandem with the unit’s objectives and the organizational goal at large. Through this process, a supervisor/head/manager identifies challenges early and is able to make adjustments and changes where needed so that the employee can meet the expected goals as outlined in the planning stage. In the earlier example, your boss was monitoring your progress when he asked about how you are getting along with EMR, he wanted to see if you were aligning with the institutional goal of becoming a top class hospital and the challenges you are facing. That is monitoring. The question remains- how many of us find time to observe and supportively monitor or supervise what our subordinates are doing?
In the Developing stage, the employee is given the needed training to improve his/her performance. This may follow a gap noted by a supervisor/ unit head or manager in the course of monitoring/supervision, indicating that the employee needs more training or development in that particular area of his/her duty. For example, if the supervisor found out that our record staff was not proficient with the EMR platform or has unfriendly disposition in attending to clients, he might suggest that he/she attends a training course on EMR or an attitudinal change workshop to improve his/her skills and facilitate the attainment of the departmental/ institutional goals. The supervisor can only notice this if he/she is involved in supportive monitoring or supervision of the subordinates.
Rating and Rewarding are the final steps in PM. Rating are the step where the supervisor rates the performance of an employee. After monitoring an employee, a supervisor is able to rate how well the employee has been doing his or her job. So, when your boss sat you down to discuss how well you were performing your task in line with the objectives of the institution, she was rating your performance. This particular rating is supportive, largely informal and personal and not the same with the appraisal forms for promotion in the public service. When an employee performs very well, sometimes he or she gets an incentive, prize, or gift of some type, which is considered a reward. This may be in the form of best staff for the month or year award.
How can one design a Performance Management System?
All organizations need to develop its own structured Performance Management System to facilitate and enhance the contribution of members of staff towards the attainment of the organization’s goals and objectives. In this section, we will walk through some of the common factors a company should consider while constructing a Performance management system.
The first point is to carry all the Stakeholders along in designing the system. If a management system is going to work, everyone that has a stake in the company needs to be involved. This, not only includes the employees and the management, but also other stakeholders. In the public sector this will include the labour unions, the community and political leaders etc. It is important that everyone agrees with the established system for optimal performance.
Secondly, the goals & objectives must be well outlined. If employees do not know what is expected of them, then they will not be able to contribute effectively towards the organization’s/department’s/unit’s goals. This means that a good performance management system (PMS) needs to outline the Job description, responsibilities, and tasks; i.e. what the employee needs to do and Job goals which stipulate what tasks will be measured and how they will be measured. The employees need to know which tasks are the most important, which tasks they should focus on, and which tasks will help contribute to the goals of the organization.
The next factor to consider is the Means of Communication and getting feedback. It is not enough to just tell employees what they need to do. Companies also need to develop an effective means to continuously communicate and get feedback on the employee’s performance. This platform should let employees know how they’re doing, what they are doing well and where they need improvement. This feedback often comes from an immediate supervisor, but occasionally it can also come from the clients and the other employees. A good PMS should also keep notes and records of employees’ performance. This provides an opportunity to refer back to the notes for clarification and information.
A performance management is the process of getting all employees and management involved in actively pursuing the goals and objectives of the company. It ensures that the employee understands his/her job expectations, objectives, and goals of the institution as well as receives training, feedback, rating of their performance, and a possible reward. There are five main steps in the process which include planning, monitoring, developing, rating and rewarding. In order to create a Performance management system, a company should consider stakeholders, outline goals, and communicate openly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Ugboaja Joseph is an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist by training and currently Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi and Director, Clinical services, Research & Training as well as chairman, Taskforce on Covid-19 of the hospital. He holds Postgraduate fellowships in Obstetrics & Gynaecology of National Postgraduate Medical College, Nigeria (FMCOG), West Africa College of Surgeons (FWACS) and International College of Surgeons (FICS). He joined the Hospital management in 2014 as the deputy CMAC, a position he held for 4 years. He was subsequently appointed the CMAC in 2017 for the initial tenure of 2 years which ended in 2019. He was reappointed in 2019 for the final tenure of 2 years as the CMAC of the hospital. His tenure as the CMAC of the hospital brought a lot of innovative changes and improvement in services under the leadership of the CMD, Prof AO Igwegbe. These include the introduction and formation of the NAUTH Research Society, the pain and palliative care unit, Total Quality Management System, Clinicopathologic Conference series and the NAUTH Cancer Society. Other initiatives he introduced include the formation of the Quality Improvement Committee, Minimal Access Surgery Committee, Laboratory Quality Management System as the Annual NAUTH Scientific Conference and the best Researchers award.
Dr Ugboaja has attended several workshops, trainings and conferences on Strategic leadership and healthcare management including those organized by the administrative college of Nigeria (ASCON). He is an Associate of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria.(IMCON). He believes in transformational leadership and also believes, strongly that leaders should be altruistic, inspiring, motivational, transparent and accountable.