Factors that influence performance management at a large refinery in the North-West Province
Performance management applied correctly can significantly contribute to the satisfaction and motivation of employees, which can result in considerable positive outcomes for both the employer and the employee. The process employed at the company under investigation does not seem to contribute to the improvement of overall company performance. Certain factors associated with the process and the perceptions of those subjected to it, might explain it. The objective of this study was to identify factors generally regarded as important for effective performance management, through a comprehensive literature study and to measure the gap between what the employees of this company expect and what they experience in terms of each of these factors. Forty-nine factors have been identified from the literature. In general the authors agree about the influence of the identified factors on performance management. For ease of reference, these factors were grouped and classified in four categories namely those that relate to system, the rater, the ratee and to the performance goals. A questionnaire, compiled by the author in collaboration with Statistical Consultation Services of the NWU, Potchefstroom Campus, was used as measuring instrument for the empirical study. A survey was conducted to measure the gap between what the employees of the company expect and what they experience in terms of each of these factors. Forty-six of the fifty-eight members of the target population (employees at management level) took part in the survey. All questionnaires were completed in the presence of the author. The data in this study was an availability sample and interpretation of the results was thus by using effect sizes (d-values). Forty-one of the forty-nine items measured were found to have effect sizes, which are large enough to be significant in practice. Lack of trust in the system and unequal treatment of all participants to the process have the largest d-values. In view of the large number of factors with significant differences between what the managers expect and what they experience, it is recommended that the company starts off by selecting those factors which relate to trust, holistically deal with those first, and then measure the success rate before moving on to the next group of factors with large d-values. Repeating the survey on other business units in the group, which generally, repeatedly perform better in terms of operational targets is recommended for further related study.