Hello PPMA Members and friends,
With all the hype about cuts on the one hand and the need to transform our organisations to step up to the challenge of public sector policy reform on the other, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the essential “basics”. Change is a constant these days and with that there is an ever present juggling act for HR. Change and transformation activities jostle for our attention against the more “routine” aspects of people management like performance management.
So, what do you say to a manager who is trying to go the extra mile to manage a significant piece of organisational change and tells you they just do not have enough time and energy to give to the annual appraisal process?
I would start with the gentle suggestion that a team that wants to be successful in coping with change will need to have, and maintain, clarity about their objectives and priorities. For leaders and managers of new teams (or the same teams facing new challenges), it is essential they address how they will align their vision for their team with the aims and aspirations of each team member.
We all know that effective performance management is about continuing conversations and feedback. We all know that if the annual appraisal conversation is treated as a one off event and not the twelfth conversation of the year then we are missing the point.
It is always absolutely critical that each manager has their finger firmly on the pulse of the performance of their team-individually and collectively. This becomes more, not less, important as our organisations travel through change. Sound performance management needs to be in our organisational DNA. That means being clear about individual accountabilities and giving timely, good feedback. This is an important anchor in the immense scale of change that many of our teams are going through.
If that clarity about individual accountabilities and feedback on their performance has been weakened, then this year’s appraisal discussions present an opportunity to reconnect with people as individuals. It is an opportunity for managers to re-build trust and ensure their people are ready and supported for the challenges of the year ahead. Sustained attention to performance management is not a “nice to have”. It is a key ingredient of a successful change process.
I am trying to bear all this in mind as I balance the attention of my eldest son on the prospect of change presented by his sixth form and A level choices with the need to study for his GCSE’s!
Until next week,