Summary of the Evaluation of the Performance Management Program for Executives
The Performance Management Program for Executives (EXPMP) aims to support excellence in people management to enable a high-performing public service. The EXPMP encourages excellence by setting clear objectives, establishing behavioural expectations (competencies), evaluating achievement of results and demonstration of competencies, recognizing and rewarding performance, and providing a framework for consistency in performance management.
Evaluation approach, methodology and timing
The evaluation used multiple lines of evidence to assess the achievement of immediate and intermediate outcomes of the program, specifically, whether employees and managers participate in all steps of the performance management cycle; whether employees and managers are equipped to give and receive feedback; whether the HR function is equipped to deliver advice and guidance to managers and employees; whether employees at all levels demonstrate relevant competencies and achieve results; and whether there is a consistent approach to performance management across the federal public service.
What the Evaluation found
- Most (over 90%) employees and managers participate in all steps of the performance management process to some extent. Even so, there are impediments to the process which prevent it from being carried out as intended or required.
- Employees and managers are equipped to give and receive feedback to some extent. Constraints to the process were found, such as the convergence of a time-consuming process (exacerbated by a difficult system) with multiple year-end priorities, a lack of training, as well as reluctance to have difficult conversations.
- The HR function is equipped to deliver EXPMP advice and guidance to managers and employees.
- While most executives receive ratings of “succeeded” or “succeeded plus”, it is unclear: to what extent the EXPMP contributes to the development of competencies; whether low performing executives receive the coaching and training needed; and to what extent ratings reflect actual performance.
- There are areas of consistency and inconsistency in performance management across the federal public service and within departments. There is a need to clarify the meaning of “consistent approach”, which areas of the program require consistency and what that means.
It is recommended that program officials:
- Develop and implement ways to simplify and streamline the EXPMP. This should start by:
- Reviewing and re-establishing foundational design principles such as being user-centred and agile, and ensuring that the process is transparent
- reducing process dependency on the IT system
- reconsidering the role and usefulness of the review mechanism.
- Clarify the purpose of performance pay and study its utility and impact on executives and their performance. This should also include an assessment of a growth and development focus as an alternative to ratings and performance pay. The results of this examination should inform program improvements and redesign.
- Increase transparency around the determination of ratings (should this approach remain) and design the process to ensure that ratings address both work objectives and competencies.
- Onboard training, specifically on performance management, be mandatory for executives. This should include skills related to feedback on competencies, particularly with respect to under-performing executives. It should also include understanding and addressing individual needs and cultural backgrounds of executive members in EE groups.
- Increase the focus on coaching as part of managing executive performance.
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