Understanding and measuring the drivers of high performance in the APS remains a significant challenge. Reflecting on the four-tier framework model in Figure 2 may assist organisations to recognise high performance as being the product of a dynamic system. The original three-tier model (Blackman, Buick, O’Donnell, O’Flynn and West, 2012) has been updated as a result of the empirical data which highlighted that the group level often mediated between the individual and the organisational levels. Consequently there needed to be recognition in the principles of the different requirements that this raises; for example, aligning an individual to both their group and their organisation. To facilitate high performance across the APS, the four principles will be reflected at all levels of the four-tier model.
Figure 2: Four-tier model for high performance
High performance governance system sets the system-wide architecture that enables high performance across organisations. It includes the elements that contribute to whole-of-APS performance: for example, the enabling environment, inter-organisational leadership and stewardship. These ideas are central to ensuring that system goals and broader outcomes are considered in the context of achieving governmental goals. A High Performance Governance System is also oriented towards building and enabling the capacity to enhance organisational, group and individual performance.
High performance organisation focuses on the organisational characteristics and set of practices of high performing organisations. The integration of practices at this level is central to building capability and enabling the management capacity necessary for enhancing organisational performance.
High performance group focuses on the characteristics of high performing groups. Employees all work within groups and they are often mediators between the individual and the organisation. Thus they need to be recognised as a clear entity that needs high performance goals and practices designed with them in mind.
High performance individual focuses on the characteristics of high performing individuals. Employees are crucial to any system as it is their behaviour that will determine the achievement of organisational goals. However, their effectiveness is only possible if they are in a functioning system that integrates the four levels of this model.
High performance work practices were initially identified at each level of the framework (Blackman et al., 2012). These have now been refined as a result of the research. It is anticipated that the Diagnostic currently under construction (see Annex 10) will provide a basis for agencies to analyse their own systems and practices in order to develop organisation-specific high performance work practices if necessary.