Like the Holy Grail or the Philosopher’s Stone, those responsible for getting optimum performance from people down the ages have sought ways to do this with maximum effect and minimum trouble, but never quite found the answer. Modern organizations are increasingly focusing on this question. In this chapter we will be examining some of the key issues in pursuit of this aim. The specific topics such as performance management and addressing poor performance are seldom addressed in a single analysis. In the article extract above from the Roffey Park report, both the necessity for, and the advantages of, such a coordinated approach are illustrated. In this chapter we will be addressing the underpinning issues raised in the article. In reviewing these issues, reference should also be made to the previous chapter on motivation and leadership:
● Motivation – the use of rewards and incentives, and understanding what needs employees have
● Leadership – the power on which effective leadership is based and the styles adopted to maximize people commitment and performance
● Recruitment and selection – to maximize the ‘fit’ between employee and organization, and the importance of comprehensive induction
● Performance management – providing the culture, systems and methods to generate and reward high performance, as well as effectively manage poor performance
4.1.1 Introduction One of the most significant influences on organizations in recent years has been the requirement to improve the quality of their products and services. Political policy and shifts in economic activity to the services have meant that organizations operating in this sector, both public and private, have found that standards of performance by employees are paramount to continued funding and commercial survival respectively. The term ‘adding value’ has been used to cover those work systems and methods that can improve the cost-sales ratio through means such as customer satisfaction. A system that has grown in application throughout the 1990s is performance management, which focuses people performance on specific business objectives and combines a number of supports such as training and development, appraisals and pay. A further dimension to improving the quality of workers’ contribution has been the growth of competencies as a way of identifying specific qualities held by successful workers and the requisite performance outcomes. One of the most
important competencies in contemporary workplaces is leadership of others to work towards new standards of excellence.