Performance development change in the public sector
Performance development in the public sector is particularly challenging because of the general size, scale and complexity of those organisations. They tend to be more multi-layered than the private sector, and making performance management successful requires a focus on effectiveness rather than profitability.
We recently hosted a webinar which focussed on the challenges public sector organisations face with performance, and we were lucky to have (among others) Leatham Green on the panel. Many of our customers and readers know Leatham: he runs the Public Services People Managers Association and has years of experience in senior people roles, including a long stint at East Sussex County Council.
As ever, Leatham got straight to the heart of the matter. Here are three key tips we took from his talk. For more details, check out the link to the full webinar at the end.
Good performance development is common sense
He contrasted his life in HR with his previous incarnation in the hospitality industry, particularly the sort of‘accidentally good’ performance management that makes great common sense:
Regular review of what’s worked and what hasn’t
Clear feedback and candour
It’s not about process and methodology so much as seeing the human need that good PM plays to and the software that performance management teams use. That’s particularly relevant right now, as public and private sector organisations are looking at rethinking their performance management.
Old habits can die hard
Be sensitive to the process of change. It’s never helpful to tell people they’re wrong in pursuing the old ways of appraisal, forms and process. Leatham argues that phrasing your desire for change in a positive way — explaining that the old way of doing things may have been right at the time, but that now we have new tools that will deliver better outcomes — is an important way of bringing people along with you.
As always, engagement is the key. When real-time engagement affects everything from employee satisfaction and productivity to the retention of staff, it’s clear that performance development in the public sector is more critical than ever.
Clarity is key
Being realistic about the scope of what you do is vital for high performance and more thorough performance development in the public sector. The highest-performing individuals and teams have a really clear focus on the key priorities that they need to deliver on to move things forward.
When it comes to OKRs, practicality is crucial. For a broader perspective, we go over the essential changes and current status quo of performance development in the public and private sectors in our 2021 practical guide for HR teams. In 2021, performance management is as much about using the right software as it is about the people in the team being focused on the same clear goals.
The Webinar: Performance development change in the public sector
Supported by the great HR Grapevine team, we’ve brought some great minds together. In this unique webinar, we focus on the challenges of performance management in the public sector. We discuss how a cultural transformation project was managed in a London borough and how momentum can be managed from the first steps to continuous performance development in the public sector.
There’s plenty more detail in the talk, plus some incredibly lucid thinking from Izzie Hurrell of Basis, who led the implementation of Clear Review performance management software at Waltham Forest Council. And, of course, it’s all facilitated by our own Dan Anticich.
Public sector management teams are proving that remarkable results can be achieved with smaller, more focused projects. Despite having more limited budgets than the private sector, public sector operational and programmatic changes are more achievable than ever with the proper focus on performance development. Of course, that also means knowing how to measure performance management in the public sector.
While long-term performance sustainability remains the challenge, the key is the strength of the performance management processes being used. While the private sector is steered by profits, market share and sales figures, the public sector will always be limited by budget and political priorities.
Long-term performance development in the public sector is not able to operate in a vacuum. Internal and external policymakers have to focus on system maturity, management capacity and stakeholder involvement. Goal clarity is more critical than ever, and employee involvement is often overlooked.
Whether you are an HR Director, manager, or employee, the last few years have definitely thrown more than a few curveballs. It’s forced many organisations to accelerate in terms of digital tools, flexible and hybrid work and their entire business models. The plus side of the disruption is that there was also a seismic shift in the thinking around people and performance management. When it comes to performance development in the public sector, that could be the key to the next big transformation.
Check out the webinar right here for more high-value insights into the unique challenges facing performance development and management in the public sector.