Leading learning practices

Article image - Leading learning practices Hannah Davey, Human Resources Advisor at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council

For over a decade, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (PMHC) has been implementing a performance review process for staff based on the concept that no-one comes to work wanting to do a bad job, and that if they are, why?

Council has continued to improve its performance review system and today has an online, cloud–based, fully mobile process that is supported by a capability framework and blended learning delivery.

The Performance Management Process (PMP) involves both the employee and the manager to identify key responsibilities, evaluate work performance and develop the employee’s skills and abilities so that the organisation’s goals and objectives are more effectively achieved.

It was introduced after a number of employee surveys identified the need for a formal feedback mechanism.

The aim of the PMP is to provide participants with a clear understanding of their role and how it contributes to Council’s overall objectives, clearly identify accountabilities, expectations and performance baselines, provide employees with feedback on their work performance, assist employees in developing their skills and abilities and enhance the understanding of development as a shared responsibility.

This is implemented through the 70:20:10 Learning Framework.
Once an individual development plan is complete the Learning & Development section consolidates the information, researches and evaluates the organisational learning needs and discusses which approach will deliver the optimal outcome from an organisational perspective.

PMHC understands that 70 percent of individual learning happens on the job and actively seeks opportunities for staff to gain exposure to learning opportunities.

An additional 20 percent of individual learning occurs as part of individual networks and relationships, with the final 10 percent being delivered via a range of formal learning options.

To deliver this final 10 percent of formal courses, PMHC delivers a range of face-to-face courses that are supplemented with the provision of online learning.

This online learning is delivered via the learning management system eQuip, which was developed and implemented in conjunction with a number of other members of the Mid North Coast Regional Organisation of Councils.

eQuip takes the form of a range of compliance and general courses supplemented by specific topics relevant to local government, and additional topics that have been developed in-house.

eQuip is supplemented with a corporate membership to Lynda.com which has thousands of software, creative and business skills courses which allows staff to quickly find what they need to learn at their own level and pace.

The introduction and ongoing development of the PMP and 70:20:10 Learning Framework has resulted in higher levels of employee engagement, as measured bi-annually in an employee survey.

Council’s net engagement score has increased from 10 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2014.

Over time, Council has also seen improved participation in the PMP with increased numbers of staff understanding the value of the process and not just seeking a pay review.

Additionally Council has seen increased ownership and understanding of individual employees taking responsibility for their own development and recognising that they need to take control of their overall career direction.

Organisationally managers are participating in the workforce planning process with increased understanding and enthusiasm and Council can develop a realistic picture of staffing needs moving into the future.