#Working4 – Performance Management: Working with and evaluating Human Resources in the NGOs.

Zeno Filippi| HRM Amnesty International| 10th may 2016

The vast majority of people working in the NGOs and in the non-profit organisations in general, admits to be dissatisfied by the management procedures of the evaluation process and in the past months, an intense debate has been developed between the responsible parties.

Referring to “Performance Management”, Top Employer’s last research, we will now try to present the main points.

The research was carried out with about 600 organisations in 96 countries, with a sample of about 3000 employees. Together with other results, which can be more or less interesting, the study highlights at least three trends of development of the performance management that seem to be confirmed in everyday life:

  • Organisational culture on performance. Sophisticated digital processes of evaluation of people appear to be essential, but not enough. Working on the feedback is a good starting point for the development of a business culture of this kind: do we train staff on the feedback management?
  • Agility and transparency in the objectives. 91% of the research participants constantly aligns the objectives to the context during the year and in the 87% of the sample organisations, the objectives of the managers are also known by the staff. Are our evaluation processes transparent and flexible?
  • Coaching and accountability. The correlation between the introduction of a new performance evaluation tool and the effective rise of the working performance is not obvious at all. Training the professionals with coaching competences can be a good start for the implementation of a climate of trust, accountability and relationships that are functional to the aim. Do we decide to train professionals responsible for the coaching?

Those are the main considerations underway. The debate seems, however, to suggest a principle as old as the world: the quality of every tool is given by the quality of the person using it.  If the professionals that are responsible are adequate and can do their job properly, they would just need paper and pen. What really makes the difference is their ability to manage and to develop people in harmony with the objectives.The relationship, therefore, first of all. I suggest then, a sort of taxonomy ideated by Professor Massimo Bellotto, full professor of Organisational Psychology at the University of Verona, who describes, in a partially light-hearted way, three different styles of management of a feedback interview. In that way it can be avoided to succumb to the individuated behaviours and smile at the own mistakes.

  1. The dogmatic. This profile confuses data with reality, things “are” the way they are, this person is certain of that (and who does not accept the truth is in error or in bad faith), ignores that what data provides are only representations of reality, useful maps to describe, efficient ways to put and solve problems. It is recognised by the constant use of the verb “to be” instead of expressions such as “it appears, it results, it seems that”.
  2. The postman. That position, basically aseptic and bureaucratic, allows to who takes it on, to wash his/her hands of (like Ponzio Pilato) in respect to the evaluations emerged and in respect to the use that the involved can make of it. Data is then something extraneous to this person, and they should be referred to a subject itself considered extraneous, a recipient.
  3. The psicantropo. Italian word for a person who, having psychological knowledges, is transformed into the stereotype of the wild psychologist.  Data is used to confirm what it is already known, to confirm its prejudices and to make them an occasion of arbitrary interpretations.  He/she adopts languages from clinical psychology, from the sociology and from the common sense in order to say “I told you”.
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