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Performance management is the name given to the various processes that the management of an organization may enlist with the involvement of the employees in order to improve the efficiency and productivity of the company as a whole. Performance management uses various stages or steps in order to evaluate and see how best the organization can improve the business processes of the company. The first stage is setting of goals and planning. This makes it clear to everyone in the organization what exactly is required of them and what is the basic performance requirement. The employees are involved in the establishing of these goals in order to ensure that they feel that they are part of the process and also to create a sense of commitment to the goals since they played a part in the creation of these goals (Ash ridge, 2008). The employees know what is required of them at various levels be it as individuals, as a group or as a department. After these goals have been defined and clearly set, the process of review begins immediately. Rather than waiting for the determined period to expire then reviewing the progress, evaluation should be conducted at many stages starting as early as it is practically possible. This is so that the management can discover problems and modify the strategies as soon as possible before they turn into serious problems. This real time evaluation and assessment continues throughout the whole period of the performance contract or agreement until the goals that had been set are achieved: it enables the training development and reward of the employees as needed.
It is also the role of the human resource manager to establish a managerial hierarchy in the performance management process. This means that every person in the organization has a specific role to play in the whole process and there is always someone to report to and answer to in terms of accountability.
The whole process also needs to express the targets that have been put in place in terms of tangible output whether in terms of time or revenue or any other measurable factor, this makes it easier and more accurate to evaluate the progress that is being made and also for accountability purposes in finding out whether the resources that have been dedicated to certain tasks are being used efficiently. There should also be the use of formal appraisal procedures as ways of communicating performance requirements that are changing or evolving according to the different times and situations (Bernadin et al, 2006). Also it has become common for the performance reviews to be linked to pay increases and other monetary benefits such as allowances and bonuses; this makes it a more direct and efficient motivation tool as the employees can relate their performance to the benefits they accrue.
The major issues that might arise in the performance management process are that the work environment has been constantly evolving and changing over time. The processes that worked for the HR departments in the earlier days have proved to be less efficient or even counterproductive (Brenda et al, 2006). This has seen a constant shift from some of these traditional methods. Some of the major changes that have arisen are for example the shift of focus from the use of specific tools to review the performance of employees to a systematic process that integrates the evaluation of performance with oter business management and planning systems so as to make the whole performance evaluation process gel as well as possible with the general running of the organization.
If the process of performance management is carried out well and efficiently the overall performance of the employees, this in turn will improve the quality of production of the overall company as all the employees will be able to work together and strive to do their best to achieve their set goals.
In the field of human resource knowledge employees or workers are those people that are tasked with mental of cognitive tasks as opposed to physical jobs. These employees were traditionally regarded as the elite of the workforce and they were usually only limited to the management and supervisory roles. They were tasked in decision making processes at their management level and also ensuring that the strategies that had been out in place by higher authority (Eric, 1999). They were basically the “brains” behind the company while those people that did the actual physical work and implemented the strategies and processes that were necessary to carry on the running of the business were considered the brawn or “muscle” of the organization.
However, over time this view and method of running organizations has changed drastically. Knowledge workers are now not limited to the higher echelons of management: they are found in all levels of the business. Due to the diversification of roles and the improvement in terms of technology and computerization of many business processes, workers are now not limited by physical distance as was before. Now workers can be led by a manager that is miles away and the advice and input of the management can be transmitted in real time through various channels of communication: feedback from the employees can also be sent immediately. With this ever changing business environment, the definition of change management has also evolved in order to fit into this scenario (Leana, 2000). Knowledge management can now be defined as the acquisition and use of resources in order to create an environment in which information and data can be accessed by employees and other individuals can be accessed and used to develop and put this knowledge and skills into the benefit of the organization.
Knowledge management is a multi-pronged approach that focuses on a variety of sectors in the organization such as recruitment, employee retention, pay and enumeration and training and development (Nakiye et al, 1995). Proper management of these areas is important in ensuring that the employees at all levels of the organization put in all their cognitive abilities and skills into improving the production process.
There are some main themes that affect these different areas, the main ones are the relationship between organizations’ management and the employees regarding power and protocol, communication and the passing of information between different players in the organization, the role of the management in the decision making and implementation processes, the organizations values and ethics and change management.
The power relationship between the organization and the employees is important in that with increased technology and responsibility, one person or a smalll group of employees can greatly affect the productivity of the overall organization. This means that these people at are a better position to bargain and champion for their rights and therefore they can determine how they want to be managed. This is different from the previous times that saw the management able to rule over the lower level employees as it was relatively easy to find their replacements (Parks, 2001). Now the management and the employees must find common ground and a compromise between power and control: the management has to find a way to lead the workers without imposing on them and making them feel like they are being dictated. Finding this balance is the work of the HR department as they are the ones tasked with providing a link between the management and the staff. Even in such early stages as recruitment, the HR department has to make sure that the needs of the applicant are met in terms of making them feel free and able to work at their maximum potential. The human resource departments nowadays have also found it more productive to recruit people based on talent and potential: allowing their jobs to grow into their skill-set. This means that in time the employees’ skills will develop in a manner that as they grow in terms of experience the output that they produce also increases. This is opposed to finding a person that is suited to the present role, if this was the case, the job development and growth of the person and by extension their productivity stagnate (Burchnall, 2007). With this change in the centre of power from the management to a more spread out approach is one of the main areas in which the HR department must set up strategies to make sure that all the involved parties are content. Communication is another area that is also very important. The human resource department should ensure that there are many efficient channels of communication that the management can use to send both confidential information and also public information. These channels must be able to accommodate the passing on of information to both individuals and also to greater numbers such as groups and departments. The use of technology is one of the best ways to make this passing on of information fast, efficient and cost effective. The HR officer must also liaise with the management to make sure that they fulfill their roles in terms of encouraging and developing the skills of the employees (Korman et al, 1999). The management is responsible for the overall decision making processes in the organization and since we have seen that the Human resource process is one that has evolved to involve every part of the organization they need to involve the management to initiate and implement these changes and processes that encourage growth. Lastly the organization must look into its ethics and policies. The company must form a culture that is well defined and using this builds their corporate image. This is the role of the human resource department to build this image and also to ensure that the ethics and values that have been defined are implemented in all sectors of the organization.
In all these processes, the HR department must be continually involved in the process of change management. This is because the world of business is continuously changing and the processes and strategies that had worked in the past might not be as productive as they were during their uptake. Change management is therefore a key area in the HR department.
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