In today’s fast paced, complex and dynamic business environment, organizations have turned their focus on how to deliver with much flexibility and quickly new high quality products and services in response to the ever changing and greater demands from clients. As such, the need to create new high-performance work systems to deliver on these premises has heightened fundamental transformations in the working structures.
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With this, a renewed emphasis that views people as a source of competitive advantage rather than a cost to be minimized has emerged. Indeed, the old era where employees were viewed as replaceable elements in an organization has already proved to be very ineffective in the current dynamic and complex context.
Human resource management systems must continuously seek to create a high performance workplace system that rightly embraces a team-based structure and focuses more on increasing employees influence and contribution on business direction as well as organizational functioning.
This is especially so in the work environment, the processes involved and work tools to be used to manage the workforce. An effective performance management system is one of the tools that can turn a dull and an unproductive workforce to a highly innovative and productive workforce for any company.
It is upon this background that the performance evaluation system by Maple Leaf Shoes is to say without prejudice, a casually taken affair and which if it were to be taken more keenly could yield significant benefits to the company. To start with, the system is baseless with no guiding principles and connection to the overall firm strategy and goals.
In addition, no guiding performance targets have been developed to guide assessment of actual performance against desired outcome. As it stands, the firm’s performance management system is a blind tool incapable of yielding any change and value for the organization. The current system used by the organization consists only of a template of questions with no ownership. Neither the management nor the employees can claim involvement and therefore attachment to the developed system.
All these issues just indicate the presence of an important step being overlooked in developing the system—which is failure to carry out performance planning. Failure to plan as is universally known is a plan to fail. Without clearly defined goals to point out the exactly desired results to be accomplished as well as the linkages all these would have to the organizational success factors makes it a blunt tool.
The second crucial weakness of the current system is that it lacks effective feedback mechanism. Owing to the fact that appraisal is done annually at a predetermined interval but overlooks performance goal setting, makes it a baseless system incapable of yielding any meaningful feedback. It does not define what every employee contribution should be and what is the level or acceptable achievements. Employees cannot be motivated to work without targets and as such this forms a key weakness of the system.
Recommendations for improvement
Maple Leaf Shoes requires a performance management system that can work for it. To start with, the organization needs to clearly define its overall strategy and goals upon which the basis for a performance management system can be established. Upon having a basis, the organization needs to determine for each employee or group of employees what needs to be done or achieved in order to satisfy the organizational strategy and goals.
This is off course after carrying out an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the organizations human resources and the needs and resource requirements. Thirdly, the organization needs to set up a feedback mechanism upon which actual performance can be gauged against set performance at pre-determined intervals before the main evaluation and review is done at the end of the performance appraisal period.