Principles and practice of management question and answer

You are a personnel manager in an organisation where performance of employees has been below the expected standards.
The chief executive has assigned you the duty of identifying the causes of the poor performance and suggesting solutions to the problem.

a) Explain the steps you would follow when carrying out the task.
b) Suggest measures that management should take to alleviate the problem.

a) Steps in the identification of the causes of poor performance and the suggestions of solutions thereof

i. Consider the original reason for introducing the performance appraisal system, its suitability and feasibility.

ii. Performance review component-consider whether employees salaries across the organization link with performance.

iii. Check whether an appropriate programme to aid the individual’s career development and succession is in place. The lack of such a programme may mean inadequate skills on the part of employees to handle tasks in customer-driven styles.
It will also provide a measure of the likely employee performances in the future

iv. Consider whether the appraisal system has been constructed in a manner that is fair to both the individual and the organization and whether the scheme’s expectations were clearly communicated in advance.

v. Consider whether the measures of gauging employee performance are appropriate in light of the nature and circumstances of the organization.

vi. Consider the extent to which organizational employees are motivated and work as teams and whether departmental objectives are synchronized with those of the whole organization.

vii. Consider whether management is participative and quick in responding to employee concerns. Employee indirect enquiries may be useful here.

viii. Consider whether the results of appraisals are regularly discussed employees and agreements struck on new expectations, action plans and improvement of the appraisee.

b) Measures to alleviate poor performance

i) Employees should be asked to provide feedback on managers’ roles and stewardship through an upward feedback loop. Identity of the employees should be anonymous to eliminate fear of victimization.

ii) Informal “open space”/work-out sessions and retreats should be held on a regular basis with staff to discuss issues affecting them and obtain feedback. A toolkit to help solicit information may be useful. Issues should be documented, and actions taken or to be taken openly communicated to staff.

iii) Management should place a lot of emphasis on team building-Synergistic effects are likely to be realized if this is the case.

iv) An open culture where staff are encouraged to speak up should be encouraged.

v) Senior management should be highly committed to being responsive to staff concerns.

vi) Explore possibility of closer linkage of employee satisfaction information with overall departmental performance reporting.

vii) There should exist clarity of senior management responsibilities and organization.

viii) Performance of all executives should be reviewed a management committee, not individuals, to avoid bias and ensure consistency.

ix) Employees should have standard performance reviews (some conducted verbally), and agree on training plans with managers.

x) Managers should be encouraged to take risks and be innovative in carrying out company duties.

xi) System of delegation and authority-responsibility relationships within the company should be re-examined.
Strong rewards and recognition programs should be put in place to recognize staff contributions. Awards from senior management (e.g., End-of Year Merit Awards, Long-Serving Employee Awards) are usually highly valued. High level of recognition from senior management may be of significant motivational effect.

xii) The company should be very open in its management style. The corporate culture fosters employee frankness and participation.

xiii) Career enhancement plans should be developed for employees. The employees may, for instance, need retraining to keep up with changes in the operating environment.

xiv) Joint committees should be set up to promote cooperative efforts amongst staff and with external partners/stakeholders.

xv) Communication systems within the organization should be strong allowing for wide distribution of information.

xvi) External partners should be encouraged to provide input and advice through participation in various organizational committees and forums.

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