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COMPANIES ARE HELPING EMPLOYEES IMPROVE THEIR JOB PROSPECTS

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Companies are increasingly giving their employees the chance to develop their career prospects as well as their cur...
Companies are increasingly giving their employees the chance to develop their career prospects as well as their current job skills, accordingly to preliminary results from an on-going study into performance management in UK organisations.

The Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) peformance management survey looks at what companies are doing to get the best out of their people. It was presented to delegates at the Institute's national conference at Harrogate yesterday.

It found that the majority (69%) of companies responding have introduced personal development plans for their staff. These plans are intended to help employees identify and develop the skills needed for their future careers as well as their present jobs.

The survey also shows that more companies are emphasising staff development than performance-related pay. Seventy-four per cent of participants state that their performance management processes focus mainly on development and only 38% believe that performance-releated pay is an essential part of performance management.

Michael Armstrong, independent consultant and IPD course director, says that these trends recognise the need for individuals to develop their future employability and ensure that the workforce has the neccessary skills to keep the business competitive as well as helping companies retain valuable staff.

'Personal development plans are good news for employees and for their employers. Companies are recognising that they will not grow unless their people grow and so are incresingly integrating their aims with the aims of their employees,' he says.

But if managers are keen on the performance management process of objective setting, development plans and appraisals (70% rate it as very or mostly effective), their staff are not quite so enthusiastic. Only 45% of staff believe that it is very or mostly effective. 37% of respondents also say that performance management is time consuming and bureaucratic.

Armstrong says that companies trying to create a successful peformance management process need to be clear about what they mean by performance.

'Performance can mean different things to different people,' he says. 'Employees cannot have faith in a system unless the understand where the organisation sees itself going and how they can help it achieve those objectives.'

He also stresses the importance of showing individuals how the process will benefit them. 'Companies may not be able to offer their people jobs for life or dramatic promotional prospects as incentives to perform better. But by focusing on staff skills and development, both employer and employee can get something out of the process.'

Key findings:

-- Findings from the IPD survey of performance management policies and practices in the UK are based on 562 replies of which 69% have performance management and 29 visits to organisations with well-develped peformance management processes.

-- 7% of respondents think that their performance management processes are very or moderatley effective, but a high proportion (41%) think they are partly effective or ineffective.

-- 48% of believe performance management is very or moderately effective in raising peformance levels, but 38% think it has only some effect or no effect at all.

-- Interest is growing in 360 degree feedback and 11% have introduced formal schemes.

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