More often than not, managers may want to make their organization perform better as per the set targets. This makes the organization to meet its competitive advantages. When performance improvement programmes are linked to the organizational goals, they both give the understanding of the whole managerial component of the organization. This link can be seen through various questions like:
• Will the individual perform better after the intervention?
• Will the process perform better after the intervention?
• Will the work team perform better after the intervention?
• Will the organization perform better after the intervention?
The output will be realized through many ways of improving performance. They include: benchmarking, training, seminars (through which motivational speakers give in new ideas) and hiring of consultants. On the other hand, in every organization, there are decision makers who work hard to set mission, strategy and goals for the organization. Their main aim is to maximize productivity and economic return by producing and delivering quality goods and services required by the customers. The analysis of improving performance process has four steps. They are:
Specifying an input performance goal
A performance goal is a specific end result that contributes to success of the unit or organization and then an employee is expected to accomplish or produce. Performance objective provides focus to an employee’s work to ensure that his or her actions and directed towards achieving important mission related outcomes. Performance objectives are not work activities, task descriptions or responsibilities listed in a performance description.
Determining the underlying performance variables
Organizational performance is one of the most important constructs in management research. We review the organizational performance as a dependent variable with specific emphasis on how it is operationalised and measured.
Documenting work processes
Most companies use respectable process to get work done. That is a good thing. But if those processes are not written down, there are a number of things that could happen to cause breakdowns in the workflow and have an impact on your customers or cash flow.
Documenting the workplace expertise required of the performance goal
This is to state the required skills and competencies to deliver on the performance goals.
Performance Diagnosis Process
The general process of performance diagnosis contain five phases : articulate initial purpose, assess performance variables, specify performance measures, determine performance needs and construct improvement proposal
Articulate initial purpose
It is important to start the workplace performance diagnosis process by articulating the purpose of the improvement effort. Articulating the initial purpose guides the analyst through the often vague and contradictory information.
The steps of articulating the initial purpose include:
Determining the initial indicators of performance issues-these indicators most likely come from someone who has organizational authority and who initiates the process. On the other hand, determining the type of performance issues involves classifying the performance issues into one or three types. It helps in separating multidimensional issues and assists in articulating the purpose of organizational diagnosis. The three types include: present performance problems, improvement to the present performance and future performance requirement.
Determining the target level of performance
There are four levels identified and they include:
a) Organizational level- this emphasizes organizational relationships with its market.
b) Process level- here, one must ensure that processes are installed to meet customer needs. He or she processes work effectively and efficiently and the process, goals and measures are driven by customers and organizational requirement.
c) Team level- this is the recognition of workers functioning interdependently and sharing a common purpose.
d) The individual level- it is recognized that processes are performed and managed by individuals doing various jobs.
Articulating the purpose of performance diagnosis
Here, a clear purpose for diagnosis can be established. For example, to reduce employee overtime, to solve present performance problems among others.
Assess performance variables
Performance variable is a phenomenon that fundamentally contributes to systematic performance. To assess performance variables, an investigation of five performance variables across four performance levels should take place. The three steps involved in assessing performance variables include:
a) Scan existing data in context of performance variables- this requires the analyst to carry forward any existing knowledge of performance levels, performance need and performance measures and to scan this data for possible connection to the five performance variables.
b) Collect additional data on performance variables.- the analyst here needs to collect any relevant data on performance variables may be through observation and questionnaire techniques.
c) Profile missing or flawed variables required for desired performance- the performance variables are usually matrixed with the four levels of performance.
The five performance variables in organization are :
i. Mission or goal – both the individual and the company clearly are concerned about surviving and prospering. These goals need to be harmonized.
ii. System design- this shows the number of supervisors in a department
iii. Capacity – this shows the level in which employees are utilized.
iv. Motivation- Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
v. Expertise- only the hospitalized supervisor has the expertise to complete order tickets.
To specify performance measures, the relevant output units of performance at organizational, process, team or individual levels need to be identified. The performance measures can be also be through the following features :
a. Time- this is the interval between two events or periods during which some activities occur.
b. Quantity- the measure of exact amount or number of products, services or other outcomes that result from the worker.
c. Quality- the characteristics of products or services that might be agreed on specification.
d. Cost- these are those expenditures attributed to the effort and determined according to the accounting procedures within a particular organization.
Determining performance needs
These can be classified into:
i. Classifying needs according to performance levels and taxonomy of performance.
ii. Confirm classification of performance levels and taxonomy. This can be classified according to the key question matrix.
iii. Specify needs in terms of performance levels and taxonomy. These levels can be classified according to performance gap.
Construct improvement needs
The performance proposal begins to take form from the diagnosis. It is done by all members in a team and not just the consultants. The major portion of the proposal will be training that is enveloped in a management support. The training will necessarily be packaged in stand-alone modules that can be combined as required by job rules and by individual employees. General modules will be prepared with an eye towards media-based set instructions. Specialized modules will be constructed for group classroom, training, follow-up and on the job training. The specific media and presentation option will be chosen based on financial forecast. The system rollout will include local managers as partners in its management and training delivery.
Dr. Kellen Kiambati holds a PhD in business administration with a focus on strategic management from JKUAT and an MBA from KEMU. She is a certified business associate (CBPA) and a member of the Institute of Human Resource Management of Kenya. She is also the author of business Research Methods and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org