Performance Management Evaluation

Every organization needs to address continuous improvement and performance management. Governments and non-profits, like for-profit businesses, are concerned with costs and efficiency. But they place a larger emphasis on non-monetary benefits to their constituents. In addition to integrating all the components of modern performance management (goals and objectives, outcome measures, human resources, finances, etc.), public sector organizations must also address the needs of an often broad range of stakeholders. This perspective is important for three main reasons. First, the relevant goals and objectives may be more challenging to define, measure, and achieve. Second, there is a greater need to balance competing interests, consider non-monetary factors in allocating resources, and engage and educate stakeholders. Finally, governments and non-profits work toward goals that require involvement of many others outside of the organization to achieve optimum results.

The Essential Components

According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), organizational performance requires that agencies “create and sustain a healthy and effective results-oriented culture.” Governments are gaining a better understanding of the requirement to integrate the three main components of organizational performance – broadly accepted goals and objectives; valid measures of performance; and the policies, practices and tools to support managers and employees in individual and team performance.

We view a high-performing organization as one that consistently achieves its goals and accomplishes its tasks, in a quality, efficient and effective manner using reliable data to make decisions. But it isn’t just about the things we count (like the number of customers served, the reduction in violent crimes, attendance at community events, fund-raising dollars, and so on). It’s about the people—both in and out of the organization—who work day in and out toward these tasks and goals. In other words, organizational performance is the sum total of each individual’s performance.

Results of Our Efforts

This view and our approach has helped us serve a broad range of agencies, from a small children’s mental health center developing a systematic approach to treatment goals and measures of improvement, to working with the Federal government and the States to incorporate broad measures of safety, permanence and well-being into the nation’s public child protection, foster care and adoption services. For example, in the children’s mental health center, I worked with educators, psychologists, and social workers to review the different assessment tools used to develop treatment goals and to measure progress, and we reached consensus on a unified set of tools and a systematic structure for defining goals for the children and their families. Next, I helped the administration and information technology teams incorporate the tools into their records and reporting systems to make it easier not only for the clinical staff to do their work but also for the administration to meet its requirements. Finally, the entire organization was trained to incorporate the new tools and systems into a continuous performance improvement process.

Additionally, the work I did with the state child welfare agencies and the Federal government began with new legislation and policies to improve outcomes for children and families. As the first manager (director) of a national resource center, I worked with the Children’s Bureau and the states to assure data quality and promote more effective utilization of the resulting information to improve organizational performance on seven defined outcomes and seven systemic factors. We worked with other resource centers to provide extensive consultation and training to every state. This work continues today through the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology.

Whether you need tools to identify performance goals and measures, improvements to data-based management processes, or an organizational performance assessment of current strategic plans and initiatives, we can help.


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