Island News

Managing performance

Written By : SUN FIJI ADVERTISING. Sometimes one wonders whether we’ve learned anything new about employee relations in the last decade. Consider for example, a current panacea: share option schemes.
25 May 2009 12:00

Written By : SUN FIJI ADVERTISING. Sometimes one wonders whether we’ve learned anything new about employee relations in the last decade. Consider for example, a current panacea: share option schemes.
It cannot make sense to expect employees to have no (or very little) say in the affairs of their companies and, at the same time, to invest their savings as well as their working lives in the very enterprise that could make them redundant. (“Very sorry, everyone, but owing to interest rates you’re all out of a job. We can’t sell our products in the marketplace. You can sell your shares, of course, but they’re not worth anything at the moment, so really you should hang on’).
Whether people decide to invest their money in this way, is a matter for them.
But it is naïve to think that buying a few shares in an enterprise whose policy you cannot influence is going to make people more involved, committed or participative. And certainly it isn’t what motivation is about. There’s far more than that.
Yet what employers and employees want and expect from each other is much more deliverable than many observers would think.
Most people would rather win than lose.
They would rather contribute towards the attainment of realistic objectives than simply stand or sit around like pawns, while the kings, queens, and knights make all the moves.
They already are involved. Simply turning up for work guarantees that. What they want -and what their employers need them to do -is to play a constructive part. That means joining in – or, if you prefer, participating.
In order for people to join in, there must be a structure which enables them to do so. For prosperous organizations -employee involvement has meant employee commitment.
For most employees, having a seat on the board is irrelevant. Yet, the chance to learn more about the business, to put ideas forward and see them implemented has created a greater sense of belonging than any share option scheme could ever achieve.
I profoundly believe that the potential is vast for line managers to influence the way people are managed at work, yet that potential is not exploited at all in many organizations.
The fact of the matter is that, hundreds of managers are crying out for help with their ‘people’ responsibilities. Personal management, if it is to survive and flourish, needs to become extremely more initiatory in this regard. When we talk about managing performance, it cannot make sense not to make some reference to reward.
First of all, let’s not confuse reward with recognition. What many people seek from work is fair payment. Surveys into attitudes and understandings have showed that workpeople expect a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
So it would be wrong to assume that achievement necessarily warrants extra monetary reward. However, what they seek from work is recognition and that means that they want to feel that someone appreciates what they do. Saying ‘thank you’ is a good start.
Recognition can take many forms: a letter, for example. One manager I know writes to all his employees once a year and says, simply: Thanks for making the effort.’ Another way of thanking is to award, quietly and tactfully, a privilege or two.
Extra time off, a meal for two, a bunch of flowers, a birthday present for a child, are all ways of recognizing someone’s effort and or achievement.
Reward, however, is a totally different matter. Reward will probably form part of the total remuneration package. So it may make sense to recognize this and be prepared to negotiate anything you want to pay for, over and above the norm.
Nevertheless, rewarding performance is fraught with difficulties. By definition, performance-related pay will reward something over and above the normal call of duty. You already pay for job performance and should reward only when performance exceeds the standard.
It is essential to ensure that a basic performance management system exists in the first place. The following points should provide a guidance:

1. Induction
It must not be forgotten that induction is a key first stage in managing performance.
What are the procedures for welcoming new employees? Do they work? Do they help newcomers settle quickly into your way of doing things? Do you make clear what you expect of them? How do you equip them to meet new expectations?
Induction is designed to help people settle into their jobs.
Introduce them to the working environment and their colleagues, as well as making them aware of company policies and procedures. It acts as a solid foundation on which they can build. Items in the induction program should include:
To whom am I responsible?; What exactly is my job?; What standard is expected of me?; What training and support will I receive?; How will I be appraised, and by whom?.

2. Job Description (To be continued next week)

By Sunila karan
Counsellor/Personal Development Trainer
sunilakaran@connect.com.fj. For stress management/counseling & communication training. Contact Ph: 9996807


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