Office for the Public Sector


Managers – FAQs

What does the Direction of the Premier: Performance Management and Development and associated Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Guideline: Performance Management and Development mean for me?

The Premier’s Direction and Commissioner’s Guideline outline new standards to ensure that public sector agencies have effective performance management and development systems in place, and that all public sector employees participate in performance management and development reviews at least biannually.

As a line manager, it is your responsibility to promote, align and support the ongoing performance of employees within your business area by ensuring you:

  • Participate in regular meaningful performance conversations with all employees who report to you throughout the year;
  • Establish a performance agreement/plan with your direct reports that is reviewed at least twice a year;
  • Report the outcomes of your agency performance management and development process through the agency’s reporting mechanism;
  • Conduct performance management and development processes in an ethical manner with appropriate confidentiality;
  • Provide employees with appropriate guidance, support and encouragement to achieve performance outcomes; and
  • Personally participate in the performance management and development process and training requirements for your agency.

What is performance management and development?

Performance management and development is an integrated and planned systemic approach for continuously developing the performance of all people in an agency, and ultimately delivering a high performing public sector.

It includes a series of formal and informal processes designed to make sure that individuals, teams and agencies achieve their goals in an efficient and effective way.

It provides a way to clearly define work goals and standards, set expectations and review performance against them, provide constructive two-way feedback, and maximise learning and development to empower you to achieve your full potential.

Each public sector agency has their own approach to performance management and development, but at its core, all performance and development management processes involve regular meaningful performance-related conversations between managers and employees, supported by a documented performance agreement/plan that is reviewed at least twice a year.

How can performance management and development benefit me?

Through regular conversations between you and your direct report/s, performance management and development will assist you in the following ways:

  • Creates a stronger focus on the purpose and outcomes of the agency;
  • Provides clarification of work roles, objectives and outcomes for individuals and teams;
  • Is a fair and appropriate recognition of the contribution of individuals and teams to the success of their agency;
  • Provides a systemic provision of aligned development and career planning opportunities to build an engaged and skills workforce, and
  • Enables a positive approach to the management of people and their potential, leading to higher levels of employee engagement and discretionary effort.

Why biannual performance management and development reviews?

To show support and place emphasis on the importance of having regular performance conversations the Premier has issued a Direction that public sector agencies are to implement systems that make provision for all employees (including executives) to participate in performance management and development reviews at least biannually.

A biannual review refers to a formal review of performance agreement/plan to ensure the plan is current and expectations set relevant in terms of progress, changing business requirements or development needs.

Ideally, meaningful performance conversations should take place regularly. Regular meaningful performance conversations are beneficial for optimising performance and you are encouraged to make time with your direct reports to have regular conversations regarding their performance and development.

How can I build my own skills and confidence in having performance conversations with my employees?

As a line manager you will need to have a good understanding of your agency’s PMD system and process(s) as well as having skills in having meaningful performance conversation with your direct reports.

Attending all relevant information and training sessions as provided by your agency will help you build the necessary skills and confidence you will need to have meaningful performance conversations with your direct reports. Also, you can make a time with your agencies HR practitioners for coaching.

You will also find relevant information on the  Performance Management and Development web page to help build your confidence in having meaningful performance and development conversations.

I’m struggling with unsatisfactory performance in my team. What should I do?

The appropriate management of unsatisfactory performance is integral to the success of a performance management and development system. Unsatisfactory performance processes should be viewed as a distinct subset of performance management and development that apply when performance issues are identified that cannot be addressed through processes geared towards performance optimisation.

You should contact your agency’s HR unit in first instance for support and guidance when dealing with unsatisfactory performance and/or suspected misconduct.

How can I recognise good performance?

Recognition can be a powerful motivator in optimising performance, and an effective way to reinforce positive actions and behaviour. When employees know that their efforts are appreciated, it increases their morale and level of engagement, sense of fulfilment, self-confidence and job satisfaction, ultimately leading to better performance.

To help guide you on how to recognise and reward performance of your direct reports, please refer to the Reward and Recognition – Good Practice Guide for South Australian Public Sector Managers on the OPS web site.

How can I find out more about what I need to do?

Speak to your HR practitioner or search your local intranet for your agency’s tools and resources including your agency’s policy and procedure(S) with regards to performance management and development.

You will also find relevant information on the  Performance Management and Development web page to help build your confidence in having meaningful performance and development conversations.

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