Panel: Trust, honesty crucial to performance

Performance metrics were a hot topic at a panel July 10 during this year’s Excellence in Government conference.

The panel, which included representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Postal Service, spoke about issues involving the two agencies’ pay-for-performance systems.

“How on earth can you make a [pay-for-performance] system when you don’t have trust?” asked John Shamley, senior compensation consultant at the FAA.

Managers’ ability to communicate areas of improvement with their employees is central to fostering a good relationship, he added.

Managers should “give honest feedback about what’s needed,” he said. They “have to be comfortable giving constructive feedback that’s good for employees.”

The discussion follows recent calls for better performance measures. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) released a bill in late June that pushes for new annual performance reviews for workers in the hopes of establishing good employee evaluation processes before shifting to a pay-for-performance system.

This relationship between employees and managers is crucial to performance metrics and pay for performance. It will help employees accept a new management system.

“We’re not saying pay for performance changes the [workforce]; the culture has to change,” Shamley said.

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