Public sector HR professionals must learn from the private sector.I am aghast at the lack of practical and timely approaches when it comes to managing performance in the public sector. In fact, I find it laughable. Only recently I was in discussion with a public sector HR practitioner who discussed with me a number of performance issues he was managing, When I asked how long the employees had been performing so poorly, he went rather pink and said: “Around six months”. I nearly choked on my Yorkshire pudding… Is it no wonder our public services are in such a state when HR bureaucracy stands in the way of disciplining poor performers and dismissing them? I recall my own time working in the NHS and how much time was wasted talking about ridiculous HR initiatives such as the inclement weather policy. HR managers in the public sector need to get more proactive when managing performance, which is actually very simple.
I met with Linda Head, group HR projects manager at Archant, a few weeks ago and sounded her out on how she would manage performance. Quire rightly she commented that:
“Ignoring poor performance is never a good idea in the long run â€“ it will lead to discontentment within the team and affect the motivation of the higher performers, and possibly even result in a time-consuming grievance being raised. It will have an impact on the managerâ€™s credibility within the team and among peers. More importantly, over time it could lower the performance of the whole team as standards drop.”
I agree totally with Linda, and she explained how she managed performance matters fairly yet proactively. A lot can be learned from private sector practices. Perhaps if public sector HR chiefs take note, we will begin to see gradual efficiencies in the way we are treated by the doctor’s receptionist and local authority employees.