An evaluation of the effectiveness of performance management system in the South African Navy
Performance management is a human-resources practice that institutions, both public and private, have equally undertaken. Organisations implement performance management systems as a mechanism for managing and developing employees' capacity, aligning employees' behaviour with organisational core values and to deliver superior individual, team and organisational performance. Therefore, the effective implementation of a performance management system is a desirable addition to every organisation that is dependent upon the successful application of various key components. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of performance management systems in the South African Navy. The study is guided by the four following research questions: 1) How effective is the performance management system in the Navy? 2) What are the shortcomings of the performance management system in the Navy? 3) What elements of effective performance management exist in the Navy? 4) What recommendations would address the identified challenges? The study adopted a quantitative survey method using a structured survey questionnaire with closed ended questions to collect data. To include all the various rank groupings within the South African Navy, stratified random sampling was used to identify participants. The questionnaires were distributed personally to 150 participants. The data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) into frequency distribution and percentages. The data was presented using tables and charts. The study found that there are various effective aspects in the implementation of performance management in general and, in particular, with regard to the planning of work and setting expectations in the South African Navy. Notwithstanding the pockets of effectiveness of the performance management system (PMS) in the Navy, there are serious shortcomings with the current practice of the PMS that need addressing. All the key components of performance management (PM) that comprise planning work and setting expectations, continually monitoring performance, developing the capacity to perform, periodically rating performance and rewarding good performance, with the exception of a work plan, require improving in order to ensure the effectiveness of the entire PMS. Key shortcomings identified included the lack of refresher training on PMS implementation, lack of regular and constructive feedback, lack of continuous review of performance progress, inability to address performance problems timeously, perception that the appraisal process is not fair, inability to apply performance standards consistently across the organisation and failure to link performance to promotion. The study recommended that appropriate training should be given to line managers/supervisors on the aim, importance and functioning of PMS in the South African Navy. It is further recommended that managers/supervisors and employees should be trained in effectives way of delivering and receiving feedback, coaching and general managerial skills, to be able to continuously monitor employees' performance, provide adequate training and development to enhance their job-related skills and competencies. Furthermore, it is recommended that the South African Navy should use multiple sources when rating employees' performance and training employees who conduct such ratings. Finally, managers and supervisors should use recognition systems such as 'employee-of-the-month' and yearly certificates/awards, long-service certificates, gifts and performance bonuses fairly and appropriately.
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