DIT Lecturer?s new book on Performance Management proves popular with practitioners in these troubled times


With an international recession forcing employers to get more from less, the issue of employee performance is back with a bang. Launching his fourth book on the subject, Dr. Gerard McMahon of the Dublin Institute of Technology?s (DIT) Faculty of Business informed a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development seminar last evening that:

  1. Performance Management is now seen as the top H.R. priority by the heads of all organisation types around the world.
  2. More than 8 out of 10 Irish organisations now use a formal system of performance management.
  3. More than 7 out of 10 organisations rate their system as effective.

Pictured from left to right:       
Dr. Gerard McMahon, DIT, 
Mr Paul O'Sullivan, Dean and Director of the Faculty of Business, DIT
and Mr. Michael McDonnell, Director, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Irl.).

Just last year the O.E.C.D. chided Irish managers for not taking performance management / appraisal systems seriously, and accused them of using them as ?little more than a paper exercise?.  In his latest book however McMahon calls into question the O.E.C.D.?s assertion and argues that these systems are now an accepted and reputable practice both nationally and internationally. 

Indeed, surveying international practices and performance management in over 250 Irish organisations, McMahon?s findings are dramatic:  Performance management is an important and valued business system; it makes a difference in organisational performance; approaches to performance management are changing; and its success in an organisation is dependent upon the importance senior managers attribute to it.

McMahon?s book reveals that the methods of managing performance have changed dramatically in recent years, as reflected in the significant growth of: performance-related pay, 360 degree feedback systems, and coaching and mentoring schemes.  In addition, the rise of performance management is also evident in its extension to practically all employee categories.

Furthermore the key-determining factor of a system?s success is the priority and consequent resources accorded it by top management.  Where management are genuinely committed to such systems and are prepared to commit the requisite resources the prospects for success are significantly enhanced.

According to McMahon performance management systems, both nationally and internationally, are effective.  However they are not trouble-free.  For example, ?lack of follow-up? (i.e. after the review meetings) is a common complaint, whilst a preoccupation with the system?s paperwork (as opposed to the people), a failure to review or monitor the system, a lack of people skills amongst managers and management subjectivity\bias, together with the bonus\pay rise linkage inhibit their effectiveness. Having reviewed these pitfalls McMahon?s book offers practical routes to their resolution.

Dr. Gerard McMahon has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology for over 25 years.  McMahon?s book Successful Performance Management: Effective Strategy, Best Practice and Key Skills is published by Liffey Press priced €18.95

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