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Annex.10: Diagnostic

The next phase of the project aims to develop a world class Diagnostic to support agencies in assessing the effectiveness of their current approach to performance management. The first stage in developing the Diagnostic involves seeking feedback on the framework principles and foundation elements. To achieve this, the research team has discussed the framework with an agency not involved in the original study. The objective was to see whether it resonated with the agency and to discover if it led to useful, and potentially developmental, discussions. The overwhelming response was that the principles and elements reflected the core areas where they could see a need for development. It was thought that concentrating on the framework would support both high performance and improve the management of underperformance.

The objective of the Diagnostic is to develop a series of questions to stimulate thinking about each of the four principles. This reflection should consider current performance management processes within the agency and whether they are supporting the development of high performance. Following this reflection, any changes required to enable improvements in performance management can be established. A key output for each agency is likely to involve the identification of management skills required for effective performance management and, ultimately, the attainment of high performance. The agency will also be asked to address whether the foundation elements are present in a form which will support the implementation of the principles – see Table 3 for examples of indicative questions.

Table 3: Examples of diagnostic questions
Question Objective
What is high performance in this context? To encourage members of the APS at all levels to consider what high performance looks like at the agency, group and individual levels.
What do you want to be different because you have an effective performance management system? To encourage members of the SES to think about the strategic purpose of performance management in their organisations.
Where are you achieving high performance? How can this be built upon to achieve enhanced outcomes and productivity? To enable the identification of areas of strength so that it can be used for future development.
How does the current system encourage a focus upon performance and goal alignment? To encourage the development of goal alignment.
How are employees encouraged to develop ownership of the performance management system? To encourage the development of mutual processes.
Are managers assessed in how they manage their staff and if so how? To encourage the development of managerial skills and recognise this as core business.
How are changes in the environment or to agency goals reflected in the performance management system? To promote an awareness of flexibility and develop processes to enable it.
How do you use data and information to make performance management decisions? To encourage agencies and managers to reflect upon the data they have available and how they use it.
How are managers and employees supported in implementing the performance management system in ways that encourage high performance? To move away from performance management being perceived as solely about managing underperformance and to improve the willingness of managers and employees to engage in constructive conversations and to assume mutual ownership over the performance management process.