Performance-based systems not only measure productivity; they also identify work targets for employees and highlight their good work.

This was the sentiment shared during the workshop on Performance-Based Systems, held this morning at the Island Inn Hotel, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.

With representatives from organisations, including the Barbados Private Sector Association, the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations, the Productivity Council and the Barbados Light and Power in attendance, the workshop aimed to facilitate the establishment of performance-based systems in key public service organisations.

In her feature address, Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, noted that ???over the past three decades, a number of companies in Barbados, recognising the importance of performance management, have established stronger human resource departments.

???Indeed, over time, we have seen more emphasis being placed on programmes to promote training and development and recognition and rewards within companies, and I have no doubt that these initiatives have borne fruit,??? she said.

Addressing the public sector???s endeavours in this regard, the Labour Minister explained that ???we have improved our performance appraisal mechanisms through the creation of the more strategic Performance Review Development System (PRDS), and our Training Administration Division has been working with Government ministries to ensure that all training is aligned to strategic objectives. The next step is to ensure that PRDS is used consistently. Clear targets would have to be set against which to measure, then evaluation done and progress monitored. This would allow for greater accountability among public officers???.

???Many complain about performance in the public service but part of the problem is that officers may not have clearly defined tasks and timelines. And this is not a public sector challenge only,??? Dr. Suckoo said, adding, ???Maybe in our small, intimate society managers in the workplace may be reluctant to assess workers whom they may know in other circles. But that culture has to shift.???

Acknowledging that recognition of good work was imperative for productivity to thrive, Minister Suckoo highlighted the G.I.V.E. (Good Attitudes, Value, Initiative, Excellence) programme as Government???s contribution to this effort.

???This programme, which has been in existence for several years, has thus far highlighted the outstanding work of 262 public officers in Ministries, departments and statutory corporations, as well as workers in our External Employment Programme in Canada and the United States of America,??? the Labour Minister stated, adding that a similar initiative had been introduced into secondary and primary schools.

The importance of recognition for employees and allowing their suggestions to contribute to the growth of the organisation was also highlighted by the Productivity Council???s Chief Economist, Anthony Sobers.

???Sometimes we come up with grand ideas but the level of implementation is low???employees [can] give you the blueprint [for success]???People are happy to make a contribution and to see the organisation get to a level where it is second to none,??? he observed.

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