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Effectively Managing Performance in the Public Sector


Most government places of work do not increase a salary based how much work an employee does. In other words, It is a different world than private companies and how they operate. For example, an organization cannot tie a salary increase to a goal in a union without a contract in place.


Let us now take a look at workers who are not in a police department. A good start is regular, office workers. How can a manager put a policy in place where salaries tie to performance? The process begins with incremental changes as opposed to a massive change in the system. Until recently, staff received annual increases regardless of well they perform.


The hope is that the workplace understands that holding staff accountable has benefits. Proper documentation for each department helps the process. It will provide an analysis of needs or uncover strengths not otherwise known. The eight steps used to describe and measure performance will create a strategy. Managers can these the steps to help improve their department.



The first step in the process is evaluating the organization. To manage the evaluation, a comparison to a previous year is necessary. It sets a baseline to determine the success or failures of the measures set in place. It provides an opportunity to think about how make changes from a previous year. The changes will help improve the success of the workplace.


Control is the second step in the process.  The managers have their tools to put in place the changes.  It provides a way to hold staff accountable if any of the measures did not produce the intended results.



The third step is the budget. This step is important as it focuses on what the organization can afford. It also touches on and what projects or initiatives need money. There is also a limited amount of resources in local government. Every dollar has a purpose and may not leave room for error. Careful consideration of each proposed change is essential. There is also the opinion of elected officials and managers who may differ on priority.


The fourth step is motivation.  A recurring issue in the public sector is the clear lack of motivation by staff.  There could be a separate discussion on this step that is the length of a book.  Motivation is a known problem without an answer. It strains the organization sometimes due to a fundamental lack of creativity.  A manager may offer a financial incentive or extra vacation time to help motivate staff.  Although a monetary reward is one idea, managers should allow for some form of creativity.  Creativity brings flexibility and allow people to think of new ways to operate. Managers without strict control from leaders may increase productivity. By allowing staff to think for themselves, it creates a sense of trust.


The fifth step in measuring performance is promotion. Managers daily face making decisions that are difficult to deal with in some cases. With oversight of elected officials, politics plays a role. Citizens play a part in this step as they are most likely the recipients of process improvements. When a 4% reduction in crime from the previous year shows a measure worked, it shows success. It allows for the public to see any progress and regain trust.



The sixth step is celebrating. There is a sense of pride in meeting or exceeding a performance measure. The public enjoys regular updates on accomplishments. The administration should take the success and change it to improve for the next year. The staff who were part of the team to improve the measure should feel appreciated for their effort. Employee recognition is a significant deficiency in the public sector. Most elected officials take the reward for how an organization improves efficiencies. Staff deserve the benefit of receiving similar praise, known to boost morale. Employee appreciation produces confidence, and affirming the hard work made a difference. Having an ice cream truck parked outside during the summer months goes a long way.



The seventh step is learning. Learning is a human behavior that allows for reflection on what works and what fails. What is most important is how we adjust and learn from mistakes. It is vital to elaborate on what succeeded to capitalize on improvements. Thus, confirming that the road to success was not smooth proves that hard work pays off.


The eight-step is improving. Performance measures should be fluid. They should not prevent an organization from changing how it works. With improvement seen as a benefit and not as a deterrent, staff will engage and work harder.


Performance measures are essential in helping to make an organization successful. It is crucial to take a look at how one functions. In conclusion, it is worthy of discussing to ensure the measures continue to work as planned.

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