A PES Network webinar has explored how Public Employment Services (PES) can ensure their performance management systems are ‘fair’ by comparing PES approaches and their outcomes. The event highlighted the crucial need for data on performance, supported by softer qualitative inputs from staff, customers and regular reviews in order to deliver constant improvement.
This webinar – which attracted more than 150 online participants – aimed to support the need for PES to optimise their internal performance management systems in ways that encourage and motivate staff. To achieve this, the systems need to be fair to staff members in terms of aspects including equality of opportunity, procedural fairness and distributive fairness.
The panelists were clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and no national model is ‘perfect’. At the same time, many models and practices already in place across different national PES provide useful examples, guidance and direction in improving systems. As one panelist put it: “All the models are wrong. But some of them are useful!”
In that context, participants had the opportunity to hear and exchange ideas about performance management systems from national PES, focusing on examples from:
- Swedish PES – presenting new approaches that promote a change of culture, innovation and staff ownership of performance improvement.
- Austrian PES – overviewing its approach based on fairness and transparency, designed to build trust, create a positive atmosphere and facilitate sustainable cooperation.
- German PES – outlining the key findings from its work to introduce quality management techniques into its data-driven system.
Participants also heard highlights from previous PES Network activities including:
- The 2016 Analytical paper 'Establishing and Operating Performance Management in PES’, which highlighted the need to create staff ownership and upward competition, without undermining team spirit.
- The 2017 Analytical paper 'Performance, Accountability and Links with Benchlearning’, which highlighted the importance of using monitoring results, and continuous learning opportunities for staff.
In conclusion, whilst participants recognised the importance of effective use of data and good target setting, the ‘social’ dimensions of performance management are perhaps still too often overlooked. It is just as important to ensure that data is appropriately taken into account within a culture of stakeholder feedback, regular performance reviews, constant involvement of staff and acceptance of mistakes.
The well-attended webinar (150+ participants) took place from 10:00 to 11:30 (CET) on Thursday 30 April 2020 and included expert input from Dr Timo Weishaupt of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany.
A full recording of the webinar is available online.
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