Introducing Performance Appraisals in the Public Sector

Setting the Stage for Performance Appraisals

Performance appraisals can bring forth success in the public sector. Imagine for a moment that an organization began to correlate salary increases to performance measures set forth by leadership.  Separately, departments such as police, where any merit-based increase compares to quotas, are considered illegal.

It would be virtually impossible to consider raises based on performance, especially in bargaining units, as contractual terms usually supersede administrative policies when it comes to salaries. Implementing performance appraisals can help to bring about the balance needed for success.

Let us now remove police and other bargaining units from the equation, and what remains is the administrative staff.  How can the chief administrative officer implement such a policy where salaries correlate to performance?

The performance appraisal process begins with incremental changes that the staff can acclimate to as opposed to a massive overhaul of the system.  Until recently, staff received annual increases regardless of well they performed.

The hope is that the organization realizes that holding staff accountable for performance appraisals has benefits.  Properly documenting what each department is responsible for implementing with effective leadership will allow the administration to analyze deficiencies or uncover strengths not otherwise known.

The eight steps used to measure performance will create a strategy for administrators to utilize in helping the organization succeed.

8 Steps to Performance Appraisals

One – Evaluation

The first step in the process is evaluating the organization.  To properly conduct the evaluation, a comparison to the previous year is crucial. This must be used in order to effectively determine the success or failures of the measures set in place.  It provides an opportunity to re-evaluate the overall intent of adjusting to improve the success of the organization.

Two – Control

Control is the second step in the process.  The managers have the tools to implement the changes and can hold staff accountable if any of the measures did not produce the intended results.

Three – Budget

The third step is the budget.  This step is critical since it focuses on financial allocations and what projects or initiatives require funding.  It is also important to note that within local government, there is a limited amount of resources available, where careful consideration of each proposed change is essential.  There is also the differing opinion of legislators and administrators who may differ on what is considered a priority.

Four – Motivation

The fourth step is motivation.  A recurring issue in the public sector is the apparent lack of motivation by staff.  There could be a separate discussion on this step, which is the length of a book.  For the sake of this article, let us affirm that motivation is a crucial problem without resolution due to the constraints of the organization and a fundamental lack of creativity.

An administrator would be hard-pressed to offer a financial incentive or extra vacation time to incentivize staff who otherwise show lackluster effort in completing their assigned tasks.  Although financial motivation is a single factor, administrators should employ creativity in allowing their leadership team flexibility in adhering to performance appraisals.

Five – Promotion

The fifth step in performance appraisal is promotion.  Administrators face making decisions that are difficult in order to progress with the oversight of elected officials.  Citizens play a part in this step as they are most likely the recipients of any change or improvement in the process.

When performance measures such as reducing crime by 4% from the previous year, the administration senses accomplishment. This is followed by a sense of promotion that allows the public to see progress and regain trust.

Six – Celebrating

The sixth step is celebrating.  There is a sense of pride in meeting or exceeding a performance measure. The public should be made aware of this and not in the sense of throwing a block party with ice cream trucks and parades.  The administration should take the accomplishment of fulfilling what was planned to improve for the next year.  The staff who assisted in overall improving the measure should deserve recognition for their effort.

Coincidentally, this is a significant deficiency in the public sector. One where elected officials are the representatives of the municipality and take the reward for how an organization is fulfilling promises and improving efficiencies.  The staff deserves the benefit of receiving similar acknowledgment, known to boost morale and overall productivity.

Having a mid-year presentation of findings with an ice cream truck parked outside the municipal building during the summer months probably does more to improve the sense of appreciation than a lifeless box of chocolates from the local convenience store.

Seven – Learning

The seventh step is learning.  Learning is a human behavior that allows for reflection on what works and what fails.  What is most important in these situations requires how we adjust and learn from mistakes or elaborate on what succeeded in order to capitalize on improvements.  With that sentiment,  an acknowledgment that the road to success was not smooth and required adjustments along the way.

Eight – Improvement from the Performance Appraisals

The eight-step is improving.  Appraisals should be a constant mechanism. One that does not inhibit an organization to change processes, with improvement seen as a benefit and not as a deterrent.

Performance Appraisals Take Data to the Next Level

Performance appraisals are a significant indicator of how to effectively make an organization successful.  Taking a periodic look at how an organization is functioning is prudent and worthy of discussion to ensure the measures continue to implement correctly.

Through a free data assessment, you can take a look at how your municipality is doing. You can come up with great strategies for moving forward with plans for performance appraisals to further success.

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