An audit report laid a substantial proportion of blame for poor service delivery on inadequate management of staff. WHE UK was invited to help change the way in which performance was viewed and managed within the council.
Performance received very little attention beyond the purpose and tasks listed in job descriptions. This narrow view of work and performance was eroding service quality and ignoring the impact that staff had on each other and the impact of staff on service users and suppliers.
Staff needed to understand that performance was not just about what they did but also the quality of what they produced and how they went about their work, i.e. their behaviour toward each other and toward service users and suppliers. Everyone at every level in an organisation has some influence on their own and the performance of their colleagues and we set out to raise staff awareness of their influence and how to make that influence positive.
First we had to change staff perceptions of performance to include the role of behaviour in performance. This was achieved through awareness raising events and processes supported through a small team of change champions.
Next we designed and delivered a two day experiential learning programme to over 400 managers - inspiring and enabling them to make and continue to make their influences on performance positive. Day one combined practical exercises and theory. Day two provided opportunities to practise learning from day one with professional actors playing the roles of staff.
99% of managers attending these events thought they would use their new knowledge and skills in their work. With our focus on evidence, we did not take this for granted and assessed the real impact of the programme. Managers on these events nominated two of their team members to provide anonymous feedback on their manager's approach to performance management both before and after their manager attended an event.
310 team members completed the pre event evaluation and 270 team members completed the post event evaluation of their managers. 157 (62%) of team members reported that their managers had improved their approach to managing performance.
Differences in pre and post event behaviour of managers:
- Better understanding of their role as manager
- More approachable
- Gives ownership
- Listens more
- More time to speak to me
- More meetings with me
- Asks for my opinion
- Better planning / process
- Recognised and dealt with outstanding issues
- More focused
The positive impact of this programme was felt throughout the organisation. Trafford MBC made a significant investment in changing how performance is viewed and managed within the Council. Following this programme Trafford MBC won an award for excellence in the quality and its approach to service delivery.